Remember when we had three branches of government?

Ah, those were the days! But the Obama administration's maneuvering on the Iranian nuke deal has effectively cut out Congress and in the process sacrificed a big chunk of America's sovereignty.

We'll be hearing a lot in the next two months about  whether the GOP can muster the votes to reject the Iranian nuclear deal and then to override the inevitable presidential veto. But here's what we should really be alarmed about: it really doesn't matter that much what Congress does.

The administration is taking the deal to the United Nations before Congress has time for a good read through.

Under the Bob Corker-sponsored bill that President Obama signed, the Congress should get sixty days to approve or reject the deal. But Congress has been outfoxed. 

In a post headlined "Obama Sacrifices American Sovereignty for Iran Deal," Noah Rothman explains how the Obama administration is circumventing the sixty days for review:

It seems that the White House believes this existential threat to Barack Obama’s central second term foreign policy achievement cannot be tolerated. In their haste to ensure that this deal’s terms become a new, irrevocable status quo, the president has instead turned to the United Nations to secure its imprimatur and render the legislature’s political authority to legitimize international treaty moot. 

On Thursday, Foreign Policy reporters revealed that United Nations Ambassador [Samantha] Power began circulating on Monday a legally binding UN Security Council resolution that would cement the nuclear accord’s sanctions relief to which they agreed in exchange for supposedly giving up a nuclear weapon development program. The resolution would also force signatory states to take no actions that would “undermine” the accord. The terms of the nuclear deal were, however, only supposedly reached on Tuesday.

If the deal is approved at the U.N., economic sanctions on Iran will be lifted. If the Congress rejects the deal, the U.S. would be alone in maintaining sanctions, which would harm only the U.S.  Other countries would be flocking to do business with Iran. 

The Iranian agreement is a horrendous deal for the U.S. and Israel and other traditional allies in the Middle East. That is bad and historic. But just as bad and historic is the damage that has been done to our system of government over the last few years, culminating in this sleight of hand.

GOP candidates are talking about how bad things are, but I haven't heard anyone address the issue of root and branch changes to our system of government brought about by the Obama administration.

Rothman argues that even though Congress has been sidelined, there is another check: the people.

I am not sanguine on this: we the people aren't listened to and our main job seems to be paying taxes. Still, Rothman cites as hopeful the example of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd traveling to Moscow in 1979 to explain to Leonid Brezhnev that the unpopular SALT treaty required congressional approval. That deal was never ratified in the upper chamber of the Congress.

Rothman concludes:

The Iran nuclear deal may not be derailed, but its implementation will be cautious and the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nominee warier of embracing it in full if a bipartisan cast of legislators revolt over their sidelining. The White House’s overt efforts to shield this deal from scrutiny even after its terms have been publicly revealed exposes the degree to which this deal merits extensive consideration.

Let’s hope that the members of this Congress exercises some of the authority that the founders vested in them and do not simply bow to the will of the imperial executive.

But can you imagine a Democrat doing what Byrd, a Democrat, did in 1979 under Democratic  President Jimmy Carter? And can you imagine the media savagery if a Republican tried that?

And, as savage as the Soviet Union was, it was tame compared to Iran.  Good luck on anybody who would pull a Byrd getting a F2F with the mullahs, who make Leonid Brezhnev look like a cuddly teddy bear!