Beware the Ides of March, indeed
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This is the time to worry about the world of Capitol Hill and its various political feeder networks. We had a snowstorm, a Friday the 13th, a historic "Pi" day, St. Patrick's Day and of course the Ides of March.


Beware indeed. Lots of planetary and humanistic epicenter tilts to trigger uncertain behavior under and away from the Dome. This House of Nards makes Caesar's Senate seem safe.

The Lonesome Rhodes of the moment is freshman Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonGOP chairman: Defense bill to include renaming Confederate bases, but not Section 230 repeal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread Potential 2024 Republicans flock to Georgia amid Senate runoffs MORE of Arkansas (R). He is the professed leader of the effort to school Iran's leaders in a specialized interpretation of the U.S. constitution. The fact that this newly elected senator has become an instructor in Political Science, level 501, is intriguing in itself. From whence did he obtain this high-level interpretation that the false altar of "states' rights" conveys into "international rights?"

Almost as intriguing as the action is the reality of the letter — a very public admission by the GOP that they cannot stop an agreement. Whoops. Perhaps they did not think of that interpretation of the action. Expect a Facebook page coming soon, rallying support for those who do not "cotton" to the agreement.

Sometimes a person's actions are an aberration of behavior, brought on by a heady moment or, as Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainChoking — not cheating — was Trump's undoing Gabby Giffords congratulates Mark Kelly with throwback photo of her own swearing-in McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return MORE (R-Ariz.) said, an impending snowstorm. That could explain the hasty judgment of Cotton and the Republicans. Note that GOP Sen. Susan Collin of Maine, one accustomed to snowstorms, did not sign the letter.

Sometimes, if we peer close enough, we see a possible pattern.

Long before Cotton had his seat in the Senate, he was part of Arkansas's House delegation. On Nov. 23, 2013, he held a town hall meeting in his district in Hot Springs (training ground for President Clinton), primarily to discuss the Affordable Care Act, most specifically the snafus with the websites governing the health insurance exchanges.

According to news reports, at one point a constituent announced that her insurance plan had been cancelled but that she refused to utilize the exchanges the Health Care Act established. Her reason: President Obama, whom she called a liar, established the programs.

Cotton's advice: He himself wouldn't use the exchange website, either, because "Russian mobsters" may steal his identity.

And for the Cotton trifecta, at one point during his Senate campaign, Cotton warned voters that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Mexican drug cartels were joining forces to attack Arkansas and that this was an "urgent problem."

No doubt they will land at the Mena, Ark., airport.

This is the leader of the GOP foreign policy instruction. Yet lest one think these odd procrastinations are a one-off, we have another lesson from Political Science 501 via presidential maybe-hopeful Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Republican frustration builds over Cabinet picks MORE (R-S.C.). He has announced that if elected president in 2016, his first act will be to deploy the military in Washington to force Congress to reverse cuts to the defense and intelligence budgets.

"I wouldn't let Congress leave town until we fix this," Graham told the "politics and pies" forum in Concord, N.H., according to news reports. "I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We're not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We are not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts."

Let's hope President Graham does not talk to colleagues from Utah, whose state GOP cousins just brought back the firing squad for use in capital punishment, to get some other ideas.

Speaking of Utah, since states are the professed laboratories of democracy, the Beehive State is doing its part to also reinterpret the Constitution.

Utah decided that about 31 million acres of public lands do not belong to the federal government, but to the state — including the millions worth of coal mining and oil drilling available. The federal government, confused by the Constitution, said "no," so Utah has started other efforts to take the land.

That effort is being led by State Rep. Ken Ivory (R), who by coincidence has turned this effort in a business. This nonprofit has garnered him $95,000, along with another $20,000 for his wife as the group's communications director, according to news reports.

Wonder how many Blackberries his wife uses as communications director?

Oh yes, there is that. In this Ides of March the roads do not lead to Rome, but to Arkansas, where there is Political Science 601, a course mostly aced by the Clintons.

If anyone else who was secretary of State and was running for president made such a declaration, he or she would rightly be questioned: How will you juggle world and domestic issues?

That is a course lecture for another day. Perhaps post-graduate.

At least it will be spring soon and all these perturbations will be gone. As Tennyson observed, "In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of ... "

Wait. Oh no ...

Squitieri is an award-winning reporter and communications veteran and an adjunct professor at Washington and Jefferson College.