State lawmakers find ways to break ranks

(Bloomington) Herald-Times

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., has made no secret of his opposition to many of the policies of President Barack Obama. Thankfully, he chose a much more diplomatic path in opposing Obama than 47 of his Republican colleagues who signed a letter to the leadership of Iran.

These senators were trying to undercut foreign policy efforts being made by the president and his administration. The band of 47 warned the Iranians that they shouldn’t make a deal with the president because he wouldn’t be in office after 2016, but many of them would be.

Members of the U.S. Senate and the president play for the same team: the United States. This action was similar to members of a basketball team throwing a game because they don’t like the game-plan drawn up by the coach and the players who support him.

It’s one more example of the negative impact of runaway partisan politics that pass for governing in Washington.

Coats was one of seven Republicans who didn’t sign the letter. He did not release a statement of explanation, but when contacted, his office sent out this comment:

“Over the past six years, Senator Coats actively has pressed for a settlement with Iran that stops the Iranian regime’s quest for nuclear weapons capability. He does not think the current negotiations track is likely to lead to that result because the Obama administration has given away too much, too quickly. Senator Coats also believes that Congress must approve any deal negotiated with Iran and is supporting legislative steps to make that happen. He does not believe that these two interrelated goals are best served by an open letter to the Iranian regime.”

He clearly doesn’t agree with the approach the president is taking, but he does not think bypassing the legislative process with an open letter to Iranian leaders is an appropriate action.

First, U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R.-Ind., broke from a majority of his party to ensure that Homeland Security would be funded through the end of the year. Now, Coats breaks with a vast majority of Senate Republicans who want to go rogue on foreign policy.

Both these actions serve Hoosiers well. They show a pragmatic view of a responsibility to the nation over the political pack.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to