This writer argues that the Democrats now own the Iran issue like the Republicans owned Iraq. They are at the mercy of the Ayatollah and if things go south, the Congressional Democrats will bear the consequences since Obama will be long gone. People remember who causes harm and sometimes actions and votes have consequences.
The security of the U.S., Israel, allies and indeed the whole world is at stake. Senators who promised Obama their vote still have time to reconsider the consequences of their vote and avoid the trap Iran has laid for them.
This morning, President Obama got what he’s been working toward all year. With Senator Barbara Mikulski’s announcement that she will vote to support the Iran nuclear deal, the administration got its 34th vote in the Senate, thus assuring that the president will have enough support to sustain a veto of a resolution of disapproval of the pact. Mikulski was just the latest of a number of Senate Democrats to throw in with the president on Iran. The only suspense now is whether Obama will get to 41 and thus have enough for a filibuster and prevent a vote on the deal from even taking place.
Leaving aside the terrible damage the deal does to U.S. security and the stability of the Middle East, the most far-reaching effect of the deal is that from now on Democrats own Iran. From this moment forward, every act of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, every instance of Iranian aggression and adventurism as well as the Islamist regime’s inevitable march to a nuclear weapon can be laid at the feet of a Democratic Party. With a few exceptions, the Democrats fell meekly behind a president determined to prioritize détente with Iran over the alliance with Israel and the need to defend U.S. interests. By smashing the bipartisan consensus that had existed on Iran up until this year, the Democrats have, in effect, become the hostages of the ayatollahs. This is a decision that will haunt them in the years to come.In analyzing the struggle that was ultimately won by Obama, it must first be acknowledged that the outcome was determined primarily by a mismatch in terms of the relative power of the two sides.
Though the Iran deal is a threat to U.S. security as well as to the interests of moderate Arab regimes who are as afraid of Tehran as Israel, the pro-Israel community, and AIPAC led the fight against the agreement. Though AIPAC can generally count on bipartisan support on any issue it cares about, it never had a prayer of beating an administration that was prepared to do and say anything to get its way. Once the president made clear that he considered the nuclear deal to be the centerpiece of his foreign policy legacy, the chances that even the pull of the pro-Israel community could persuade enough Democrats to sustain a veto override were slim and none. In order to achieve that victory, Obama had to sink to the level of gutter politics by smearing his critics as warmongers and slam AIPAC with the same sort of language that earned President George H.W. Bush opprobrium. But the president’s ability to twist the arms of most of the members of his own party to back him was never really in doubt. It was a defeat for AIPAC but not one that should impact its ability to continue to be effective on Capitol Hill.
It must also be noted that this outcome was only made possible by the utter stupidity and cowardice of key Republican leaders — especially Senator Bob Corker — that led to their agreement to a bill that reversed the treaty ratification process. The Corker-Cardin bill that gave Congress the right to vote on the deal was represented at the time as a bipartisan triumph but the Democrats were laughing up their sleeves the whole time. Instead of demanding that the president present the deal to Congress as a treaty, which would have required a two-thirds vote of approval, Obama was able to ram this awful deal down the throats of a reluctant country and Congress by only being able to have enough votes to sustain a veto. It would have been better for the country had the GOP stood on its ground on the treaty issue since that would have left Obama to pursue his original plan, which was to treat the deal as a simple agreement that required no Congressional action at all. At least then the deal would have been seen as another end run around the Constitution by a lawless president. Instead, he gets to pretend that Congress has ratified the deal when, in fact, large majorities oppose it in both the House and the Senate.
But the most important point to be gleaned from Obama’s seeming triumph is that he and his party now bear complete responsibility for Iran’s good conduct as well as its nuclear program.
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