Scott Brown's Maiden Bill: Provoke Iran

Scott Brown has chosen his first bill to sign on as co-sponsor -- well, technically his second, as he previously joined every other US Senator in co-sponsoring a resolution marking the death of Rep. John Murtha. But his first real one. And the winner is... provoking Iran!

It's a pretty clear signal to the right -- one of two he made on Thursday -- perhaps as atonement for his vote for the jobs bill earlier in the week.

The bill is S.3008, the "Iran Democratic Transition Act of 2010," introduced by Texas Republican John Cornyn and Kansas Republican Sam Brownback a few weeks ago. Cornyn and Brownback are apparently frustrated that President Obama hasn't done enough to support the "Green Movement" to topple the Iranian government. Among other measures, their bill would provide unspecified funding to Iranian opposition groups for their communications efforts to whip up resistance and foment revolution. It also includes a laundry list of charges against the Iranian regime.

This bill is the equivalent of the understandable, but unwise, impulse to egg the house of the mean jerk on your block. Actually, it's worse than that, because it's pretty clear that the last thing the Iranian rebellion needs is to be directly, overtly linked to the US. The worst part is that Cornyn and Brownback aren't even in a position to know whether their bill might be undermining or imperiling ongoing negotiations or overtures with Iran, or with other nations about Iran. Neither is on, say, the Foreign Relations Committee. Cornyn sits on the Finance and Agriculture committees; Brownback is on Appropriations; Energy; and Commerce. So, this is a just a chest-puffing shot in the dark.

Well, you don't have to take my word that it's a bad bill -- the fact that Bill "Wrong-Way" Kristol approves should be all you need to know.

Anyway, on Thursday, Cornyn and Brownback got 19 of their most conservative Republican colleagues to sign on as co-sponsors -- and Brown was one of them. Say this at least: it's certainly consistent with his aggressively hawkish campaign rhetoric.

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