Obama: Why Yes–My Republicans Are Like Iranian Hardliners Claim Is ‘Absolutely True’

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 11, 2015 11:40 AM
Obama: Why Yes–My Republicans Are Like Iranian Hardliners Claim Is ‘Absolutely True’

So, remember when Obama said at American University that the Republican Caucus and the hardline elements in Iran share a “common cause” in rejecting this nuclear deal? Yeah, he hasn’t backed down. In fact, he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that his statements are “absolutely true factually” (via RCP):

FAREED ZAKARIA: In your speech at American University, you made a comparison. You said that Iran's hard-liners were making common cause with Republicans. It's come under a lot of criticism. Mitch McConnell says even Democrats who oppose the deal should be insulted.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What I said is absolutely true factually.

The truth of the matter is inside of Iran, the people most opposed to the deal are the revolutionary guard, the Quds force. Hard liners are opposed to any cooperation with the international community. The reason that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the folks in his caucus who oppose this jumped out and opposed it before they even read it, before it was even posted is reflective of an ideological commitment not to get a deal done. In that sense they have a lot in common with hard liners who are much more satisfied with the status quo.

The problem is that it’s not just the Republicans anymore. A significant number of Congressional Democrats have also said they weren’t going to back this agreement either. Last week, Rep. Steve Israel, the highest-ranking House Democrat, said he was voting against the deal. During the first GOP debate on August 6, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Harry Reid’s presumptive successor as leader of the Senate Democrats, also said he was a “no” vote, citing problems with the accountability mechanisms and the skepticism of any political change in Iran after ten years of this plan’s implementation. The New York Democrat has caught heat from the progressive left, like Moveon.org and CREDO Action, and even members of the Obama administration. Some, like former senior adviser to the president Dan Pfeiffer, said it could place Schumer’s candidacy to succeed Reid on the line, though other staffers who have worked in the Senate, including with Reid, noted that Team Obama will have little say over who will lead Senate Democrats in 2017. Moreover, Schumer tried to downplay that notion that he is a serious crack in the firewall. Nevertheless, the political intrigue remains (via CNN):

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday he "wouldn't be surprised" if Senate Democrats take Schumer's decision into account when deciding whether to name him their next leader.

Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Obama and a CNN contributor, said Schumer is on shaky ground.

"If the deal goes down, Schumer will be see as directly responsible," Pfeiffer said. "I think most of the Obama sand Clinton wings of the party will never forgive him."

Despite the backlash, several current and former Senate aides said Schumer has nothing to fear.

"This has no effect. Last time I checked, former Obama aides and/or outside groups don't really have a vote within the Democratic caucus," said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist who spent six years working for Reid.

And a current Senate Democratic aide did not foresee problems for Schumer when it comes to the leadership post.

[…]

Schumer said Friday that he doesn't expect to sway significant numbers of his colleagues.

"There are some who believe that I can force my colleagues to vote my way," he said. "While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade them that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion."

The Democratic aide, though, said that Schumer was already in dangerous territory.

"The statement itself is a clear attempt at persuasion," he said, referring to Schumer's explanation Thursday of his decision to vote "no" on the deal. "He talks to members constantly. The idea that Iran will never come up and he won't try to persuade folks on some level defies common sense and his own nature."

The aide said Schumer's ascension to leadership post is not set in stone

So, back to the president’s ridiculous remarks; is Sen. Schumer like the hardline elements in Iran, Mr. President? Is the entire block of Democrats who are prepared to vote against this agreement like the Quds Force? It may not have been the optics he was gunning for, but since Obama’s not really good at being president (I know I’m stating the obvious), those remarks made sure Schumer is now squarely in the “mullah” camp, as National Journal’s Ron Fournier noted on CNN. Fournier also noted that the president is incapable of finding common ground with his critics, along with the notion that he doesn’t really know his own party in Congress.

That’s not the best foundation regarding building a consensus around a critical piece of foreign policy legislation. Maybe that wasn’t the plan to begin with. Obama can still implement this deal, given that it’s an executive agreement and not a treaty. At the same time, it comes at the cost of ignoring the American public, who do not support this deal (via WSJ):

Major foreign policy initiatives are often controversial, but they typically garner at least majority support. The resolutions for the Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq all earned majority support, as did the Nixon and Reagan arms-control treaties with the Soviet Union.

Mr. Obama may escape humiliation only because by submitting the deal as an executive agreement rather than a treaty, Mr. Obama maneuvered to need only one-third of either house of Congress to uphold his veto of a resolution of disapproval. In other words, he can still proceed to implement the accord, but only by ignoring the consensus view of the American public.

[…]

As Mr. Obama’s bitterness grows, so does the backlash against his dangerous nuclear deal.

Allahpundit noted that this deal was never intended to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, it was meant to prevent Obama from making the very difficult decision of possibly using a military option–which we have– to cripple the program:

I’m a broken record on this subject but I’ll say it again: The point of negotiating with Iran wasn’t to prevent an Iranian bomb, it was to prevent potential war between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program. Now that there’s a written agreement in place with lots of bells and whistles about inspections and international dispute resolution mechanisms, the pressure is off Obama to do something militarily before he leaves office to stop Iran’s nuclear advances. He’s stopped them by diplomacy — for 10 years, at which point it’ll be full speed ahead again at a breakneck pace, but at least he won’t be the one in office forced to clean up that mess. What you’re seeing in this answer is Obama at his insufferable worst as Captain Reasonable, the man with a strong “ideological commitment” of his own to “dialogue” and getting a deal done at any cost even if it means gifting an expansionist Islamist regime with an atomic bomb who nonetheless feels entitled to sniff at his opponents’ petty ideological obstructionism.

The president recently said that gerrymandering is the reason there’s so much partisan politics in Washington. Studies show it isn't that clear cut, though being a terrible president, with bad policies, including a foreign policy that has endangered America and her allies, could initiate a gridlock-like effect in Congress.