Thursday, September 03, 2015

Punishing Iran Deal Proponents

The Democrats Now Own Iran. They’ll Soon Wish They Didn’t 
-Jonathan Tobin

This morning, President Obama 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.

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.

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.

Let’s remember that, up until this past winter, it could be argued that Congressional Democrats were as ardent about stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the Republicans. But once the president got close to achieving his goal of an entente with Iran, he set about the business of peeling away Democrats from that consensus position. To date only two in the Senate — Menendez and New York’s Chuck Schumer — resisted the pressure...

The statements of support from each Democrat betrayed their lack of enthusiasm for a deal that all admitted wasn’t the triumph that Obama was crowing about.

Obama and the Democrats now say they will get behind Israel and strengthen its defenses even though the deal makes Iran a threshold nuclear power almost immediately. That renders talk of preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge over potential foes meaningless.

If Iran cheats its way to a bomb before the deal expires or uses the wealth that Obama is lavishing on it to get them to agree to this deal to undermine regional stability it won’t be possible in the future for Democrats to say that this was simply Obama’s folly. No, by docilely following his lead for a deal that few of them were eager to embrace, the entire Democratic Party must now pray that the president is right and that Iran will seek to “get right with the world” rather than pursuing a religious and ideological agenda of conflict with the West and Israel.

Obama got his deal despite the opposition of the majority of Congress and the American people. But the Democratic Party now gets to pay the bill for it. By making Iran a partisan issue in this manner, Obama saddled his party with the blame for everything that will happen in the coming years. Munich analogies are often inappropriate but when Rep. Patrick Murphy (the likely Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Marco Rubio is vacating next year) said the deal gives us “peace in our time,” his channeling of Neville Chamberlain was no ordinary gaffe. In the years to come when Obama is retired and Iran uses the deal to make new mischief and atrocities, Democrats may regret giving in to the president’s pressure. But, like the appeasers of the 1930s, the legacy of the pro-Iran deal Democrats is now set in stone.

The Iran Nuclear Deal Weakened AIPAC - Jonathan Broder

With the 2016 congressional campaigns getting underway, some analysts say it’s critical for AIPAC to punish supporters of the Iran deal.

Political observers will be watching the Wisconsin Senate race between Republican Ron Johnson, an outspoken opponent of the agreement, and former Senator Russ Feingold, a Jewish Democrat who supports the accord. Another telling contest will be the Illinois Senate race between Republican Mark Kirk, a former AIPAC employee, and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Army helicopter pilot who lost both her legs during the Iraq War and is undecided on the deal. Even Jerrold Nadler, an 11-term Democrat from New York, who is Jewish, could face a primary challenge since he has publicly backed the nuclear agreement.

And those who think the Iran issue will fade away once the deal gets through Congress had better think again. An Obama victory there is likely to galvanize Republicans—particularly as the 2016 election looms. Both Kirk and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a long-shot presidential contender, are crafting a new set of non-nuclear sanctions that would deprive Iran of nearly all the economic benefits it’s getting from the deal. Some of Obama’s supporters predict Republicans will make the Iran deal the Obamacare of foreign policy and never stop trying to kill it.

“The fight is not over just because the Iran deal gets past Congress,” says Dylan Williams, J Street’s vice president of government affairs. “It’s something we’re all going to have to keep our eye on for years.” That’s something on which all sides seem to agree.
[Newsweek via Jewish World Review]

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