Senate Democrats Succeed In Filibuster Of Vote Against Iran Nuclear Deal

Senate Democrats successfully blocked a final vote on the Iran Nuclear Deal, meaning that Congressional debate on the matter is effectively over.

Iran Nuclear Deal Congress

As expected, Senate Democrats were able to successful block a final Senate vote on a motion disapproving of the Iran Nuclear Deal, effectively meaning that the deal will pass the September 17th deadline for Congressional action and move forward to implementation:

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats delivered a major victory to President Obama on Thursday when they blocked a Republican resolution to reject a six-nation nuclear accord with Iran, ensuring that the landmark deal will take effect without a veto showdown between Congress and the White House.

A procedural vote fell short of the number needed to break a Democraticfilibuster. It culminated hours of debate on the Senate floor and capped months of discord since the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China announced the agreement with Iran in July.

Debate over the accord divided Democrats between their loyalties to the president and their constituents, especially Jewish ones, animated the antiwar movement on the left and exposed the waning power of the Israeli lobbying force that spent millions to prevent the accord.

“Regardless of how one feels about the agreement,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, one of four Democrats to vote against the president, “fair-minded Americans should acknowledge the president’s strong achievements in combating and containing Iran.”

Acknowledging the tortured decision he and other skeptical Democrats traveled, Mr. Schumer said, “I also have a great deal of respect for the careful thought and deliberation my colleagues went through,” adding, “I recognize for them, that this is a vote of conscience just as it is for me.”

Yet President Obama’s triumph in securing the international agreement — without the support of a single member of the party now in control of Congress — is refashioning the definition of victory for a waning presidency in an era of divided government.

While bipartisan victories tend to be those most celebrated outside Washington, in the current political climate, success by the president is now often measured more by the scope of the policy achieved than by any claim of sweeping consensus. And losing has its own evolving meaning. Republicans will use Mr. Obama’s triumphs — as they did with the health care law — as a means to attack Democrats in anticipation of next year’s election.

Mr. Obama may go down in history as a president whose single biggest foreign policy and domestic achievements were won with no Republican votes, a stark departure from his 2008 campaign that was fueled by the promise of uniting. As with the Iran accord, the health care law — passed exclusively with Democratic votes — was a policy achievement that has come to define his presidency, in part through the vehemence of its opponents in Congress.

“President Obama can claim that he found a way to move an extremely important, yet controversial, diplomatic agreement through the political process,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University. “For conservatives the deal fulfills every negative view that they have about how President Obama and the way Democrats handle foreign threats,” he added. “The narrative is built for the campaign trail — a Democratic president agrees to drop sanctions on a horrible regime that even most Democrats agree shows little signs of reform.”

With the announcement last week that Democrats have achieved sufficient support to block an override of President Obama’s veto of a disapproval resolution, followed by the news that it had sufficient additional support to block cloture, this result was largely inevitable. Even Delaware Senator Chris Coons, who had previously expressed the opinion that the Senate should have a full vote on the measure even though he supported the deal, ended up voting with his fellow Democrats to block cloture. Coons was joined by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell who had been the last Democratic Senator to have announced their position on the deal. There were, of course, the usual complaints from Republicans about the Senate being blocked from an up or down vote on the resolution, but the fact that these were the same complaints that they brushed aside when they were using the filibuster quite effectively when Democrats controlled Senate tended to make those complaints seem somewhat hypocritical. As I’ve said before, it seems to me that it would be preferable for their to be an up or down vote on a matter as significant as this, but in some sense that’s exactly what we had today since it’s fairly obvious that the final vote on the bill would have been the same as it was today. The only thing that today’s vote really accomplished is avoiding a veto override fight that would have gone the President’s way anyway.

Over in the House, things aren’t quite going as smoothly as they did in the Senate. There was supposed to have been a vote on a disapproval resolution as early as yesterday, but that was delayed thanks to objections by conservative members of the GOP Caucus who advanced an argument that the President had not complied with the requirements of the Iran Nuclear Review Act. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected this argument, and made clear after today’s vote that the Senate would not consider anything sent over by the House unless it actually had a chance of passing Congress. As things stand, it now appears that the House may vote on something tomorrow, allegedly as part of a Republican scheme to get Democrats on the record on this issue on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, but even that seems to be up in the air at this point.

Whatever happens in the House, though, today’s developments in the Senate are essentially the end of the road for Congressional review of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Once we pass September 17th, the President will be free to implementing American obligations under the agreement, and the United Nations and other members of the ‘P5+1’ will do the same. From that point forward, the debate will move from whether or not the deal should be approved to whether or not Iran is complying with it. Republicans, no doubt, will continue to argue against the deal, with many of the Republican candidates for President promising to dismantle the deal on their first day in office. In reality, of course, that would prove to be exceedingly difficult if there is no real evidence that Iran is not complying with the agreement, not the least because it would difficult in those circumstances to convince our allies in Europe to go along with us. Indeed, today, David Cameron, Francois Hollande, and Angela Merkel, wrote a joint Op-Ed in The Washington Post in supporting that makes it clear that our allies don’t look too kindly on the some of the rhetoric coming from the GOP regarding this agreement. How that might affect international relations if a Republican manages to win the 2016 election I’ll leave for the future to determine.

The deal negotiated in Zurich is far from perfect, but diplomatic agreements seldom are. Additionally, there is much about the internal and external policies of the Iranian regime that are still troublesome and problematic. However, the agreement does provide a real framework for a peaceful resolution of the contentious issue of Iran’s nuclear program, and it offers the international community far greater access to that program than it had previously. Additionally, the critics of the agreement have never really offered a realistic alternative to what’s on table other than to say that a “better deal” could have been negotiated. That’s a completely hypothetical scenario, though, and there’s not really very much evidence to support it. With this agreement, the international community gets real reductions in those aspects of the nuclear program that could lead to weapons development, an agreed framework of inspections by the IAEA, and a means to reimpose sanctions if Iran fails to comply with the agreement. It may not be perfect, and it’s likely that we’ll face disputes under the agreement going forward, but it’s better than the status quo, which could lead to Iran having a bomb within less than a year, and it’s better than the vision offered by the opposition.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, National Security, Politicians, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    While the outcome here was a good one, the process was abhorrent. By any reasonable standard, this was a treaty. Rather than needing a mere minority to not kill it, it’s supposed to require a 2/3 supermajority to ratify it. How we’ve managed to reverse the Constitutional process is beyond me.

  2. I don’t quite understanding how we got to this process, but one argument I’ve seen raised against the treaty argument is that the President already had the statutory authority to lift most if not all of the sanctions against Iran without Congressional authorization anyway, so theoretically he never had to submit the agreement to Congress at all.

    I’m nowhere near being in the know on the legalities behind that argument to be sure about that., though.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:
    Well it’s not a treaty…it’s an agreement between world powers to lift sanctions that weren’t imposed by a treaty.
    Certainly a treaty would be terrific…but that would be impossible with the Party of Stupid in control of Congress. So the adults do what they can do. If you feel strongly about these things…have you considered supporting a less ignorant and reprehensible political party?
    Seriously….you only have yourself to blame.

  4. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    the process was abhorrent.

    James! Wake up!

    Your party has no interest in governing. In fact, they actively sabotage the process of governing. This has a lot of negative effects. Do you really not understand this?

  5. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:
    Denial is not a river in Egypt. Or something like that.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    …the process was abhorrent.

    Indeed…when we have an oppositional party that only seems to be worried about hurting the president and his party rather than doing anything positive and constructive, we have quite the abhorrent process…

  7. PJ says:

    This deal justifies the Peace Prize Obama got back in 2009.

    So, it’s no wonder that Republicans (or rather Republicant’s) did everything they could to deny him this.

    Problem for them, we are not living in an alternative timeline where they ended up being able to block Obamacare or block this deal. History won’t be kind to them.

  8. JohnMcC says:

    Regarding the ‘abhorrent’ process:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/392082/governing-trap-editors

    The conservative side has certainly avoided the trap of appearing as though they’re interested in governance.

    After 47 Repub Senators sent a personal letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran did any sentient person expect anything except ‘abhorrent’?

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The executive agreement process is longstanding and controversial. It’s typically used in bilateral deals on relatively minor matters. Many of the sanctions involved were imposed by Congress.

    @C. Clavin: @anjin-san: Going back to the Bork hearings, the out party has engaged in shenanigans to stop the party with the White House from getting anything done. It’s escalated with each passing administration. I’d like to see someone stop the cycle but it’s always “You first!”

    The GOP has the additional problem now that it has very serious internal fissures, so the leaders are afraid of the rank and file and everyone is afraid of the nominating electorate. And, of course, social media amplifies everything.

    Still, I’m a process guy. It generally concerns me when the process gets flouted. And, yes, I said the same thing when GW Bush flouted it in both foreign policy and implementing the first of the post-Great Recession bailouts.

  10. JohnMcC says:

    “A 2009 study published by the University of Michigan found that 52.9% of international agreements were executive agreements from 1839 to 1889, but from 1939 until 1989 the ratio had risen to 94.3%”. From the WSJ ‘washwire’ of 3/10/15 quoting this study:

    http://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472116874-ch1.pdf

  11. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    Sorry James, “both sides do it” is a joke. Democrats did not like GW Bush, and they had actual, not imagined reasons to question his legitimacy, but they did not engage in a batshit crazy, we-oppose- every-single-thing-you-do rejection of him. If Obama said “sunshine is nice” the Republicans in Congress would find fault with that and say it proves he secretly hates America.

    You are in denial about what the GOP is in the year 2015, and I mean deep denial. They do not engage in “shenanigans”. They are destroying the political stability of our country – perhaps it greatest latent strength.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    I agree with James in principle. I think it is worrisome when the checks and balances get subverted. But with this Republican congress in place, we are literally faced with that or get nothing done. The modern Republican party has absolutely no interest in governing. In fact, they run from it. They don’t even talk about it. All you have to do is ask yourself “What is the modern Republican congress willing to work hard for? Spend late nights for?” Is it making sure the country prospers? The roads get maintained? The railroads run on time? That we lead the world in information infrastructure, clean energy or international business? That small US businesses are able to expand and prosper? (I used to be a small business owner and I can tell you that the regulations that the Republicans care about have exactly zero to do with a small business, in complete inverse to the number of times they say the words “small business”). To a person, their eyes glaze over when these things come up. But the 52nd vote to overturn Obamacare? Overturning abortion rights? A three year panel investigating Benghazi! (TM)? Yeah, they are all over that.

    James, I challenge you to name a single multi-term Republican congress critter that actually cares about governance. Every single Republican I respected has either retired or been hounded from office. Ok. I’ll give you McCain. He does actually care. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he does give a d*mn. Anyone else?

  13. James Joyner says:

    @JohnMcC: I hadn’t seen an updated study but an aware of the trend. The authors of the piece you link essentially make my point: presidents got tired of not being able to conclude treaties under the strictures of the Constitution so just stopped calling them treaties. If the process is that unmanageable, let’s amend the process rather than ignoring it. It just makes a mockery of rule of law.

  14. Grewgills says:

    @James Joyner:
    Given that the procedure followed has been the norm for well over 50 years now, why is it abhorrent this time? You acknowledge that the outcome was good and I’m sure you can see that many of those opposed to the deal are only opposed because they oppose giving Obama a ‘win’ on anything. How can you defend procedure rarely used in the past 50 years over substance that would make the world a far more dangerous place? How can you support the party that elevates procedural tactics to damage the opposition so far above substance that the two can’t see each other on a clear day?

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:

    Dude, you really are just out of touch with reality. “Let’s amend the process?” What? In what alternate universe? I mean, is that meant to be funny?

    You know, you’re really just like the rest of your party: you people trash this country’s politics and think it’s all just ever-so-cute so long as you get your way. Then, when the first fascist demagogue to come along hijacks your party, or when the entire country gives up on the useless institution of Congress, you seem baffled.

    In short: it’s your fault, James, yours and the party of nihilist bigots you belong to. You people did this, so don’t come along scratching your head and wondering aloud how it happened. It happened because of your party. It happened because of people like you making excuses and looking away and placing loyalty to your party ahead of the good of this nation. You’re a bunch of vandals wondering with perfect cluelessness why everything is such a mess.

  16. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “Going back to the Bork hearings, the out party has engaged in shenanigans to stop the party with the White House from getting anything done. It’s escalated with each passing administration.”

    The last time this came up, I recall the consensus even among the front pagers was that Bork really was so far out of the mainstream that it was a good thing he never got onto the Supreme Court. As a result, while I often see the Bork hearing cited by Republicans to justify their behavior, I take it with a grain of salt.

    Further, do you really want to compare the level of obstructive behavior experienced by either President Bush with that shown towards Clinton (much less Obama)? Both Bushes got their primary domestic priorities passed, and even got a number of Democrats to vote along with them (and those that did vote with them did not get thrown out of their party). No one ever threatened to shut down the government under either of them, much less succeeded.

    So, much as Republican mythology holds that it has grown worse over time, it seems to grow much worse under Democrats, and recede a bit under Republicans (albeit to a higher level than the prior Republican administration).

  17. Stan says:

    @James Joyner: I think the Republican leaders in the House and Senate recognized that enacting the Iran treaty was in the national interest but that their caucuses couldn’t go along because the Republican rank and file detests Obama. So they came up with the nutty procedure we’ve just witnessed.
    Maybe I’m giving Boehner and McConnell too much credit, but I think at heart they’re not unethical.

  18. JohnMcC says:

    @James Joyner: As indicated by several commenters above, it is entirely reasonable to imagine sitting down with Democratic legislators and/or administration officials and planning a reasonable alternative to executive agreements, specifically a return to a primary reliance on actual treaties. With Republicans/conservatives, not so much.

  19. JohnMcC says:

    Cruised on over to the NYT site and what is on the ‘front page’ (as the internet portrays it):

    Netanyahu Makes Quick Pivot From Loss on Iran Deal

    Prime minister Netanyahu talked of other priorities, like restarting talks with the Palestinians

    Good actions sometimes lead to good consequences.

  20. Tillman says:

    @James Joyner:

    While the outcome here was a good one, the process was abhorrent.

    Our system wasn’t designed with an utterly recalcitrant voting bloc in mind, so as long as one exists the process will remain abhorrent.

  21. @Doug Mataconis:

    but one argument I’ve seen raised against the treaty argument is that the President already had the statutory authority to lift most if not all of the sanctions against Iran without Congressional authorization anyway, so theoretically he never had to submit the agreement to Congress at all.

    The Corker bill, which Obama signed, says otherwise. It also says he must submit all documents, including things like side deals and communications, to Congress in order for the 60 day review period to start. He hasn’t.

  22. Zachriel says:

    William Teach: The Corker bill, which Obama signed, says otherwise.

    Sure.

    Normally executive agreements are sufficient because they only concern presidential powers; in this case, statute allows the president latitude on many aspects of the sanctions. Furthermore, succeeding presidents will almost universally uphold previous executive agreements, otherwise they undercut the credibility of the United States, and their own credibility, when entering into negotiations. As you point out, Obama signed legislation giving Congress some say over the Iran Agreement.

    William Teach: It also says he must submit all documents, including things like side deals and communications, to Congress in order for the 60 day review period to start. He hasn’t.

    That is incorrect. It’s no different than a contract allowing for third-party arbitration, with the arbitrator having a process for resolving disputes between the parties.

  23. C. Clavin says:

    @William Teach:
    Hey….the silly guy who thinks he is a pirate is here to spout Fox News talking points.

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:

    Going back to the Bork hearings, the out party has engaged in shenanigans to stop the party with the White House from getting anything done.

    Oh…you mean like when 82 Democrats went along with Bush 43 on the biggest foreign policy blunder in our history?
    Or when a few Democrats actually supported the colossal corporate welfare boondoggle that is Medicare Part D?
    The Republican Party has gone beyond partisan politics and has become downright treasonous. And yet you will continue to support them. Without so much as a critical thought.

  25. Ron Beasley says:

    @James Joyner: James. I have a great deal of respect for you but it would appear you are living in some kind of fantasy world. The rule of law is a good thing but is now impossible with the majority of your party being insane with hate a greed. There are times I regret we don’t have a monarchy. We not only have virtual anarchy in government but there is also anarchy in the Republican Party itself. The Republican Party may eventually get itself together but if not will go the way of the Whigs. Will the Phoenix arise from the ashes of the Republican Party? I hope so. I fear a one party country as much as former commentator Superdestroyer even though we are on opposite ends when it comes to ideology.

  26. Joe says:

    @James Joyner: I came to this site years ago to hear what Republicans like James had to say about everything because I wanted a window out of the echo chamber that is talking to your own buddies about your own political views. I grant you that Republicans like James are not the ones in control of that party and it’s a question whether anyone but the rabble is in control of that party. leading to the many observations about its refusal to govern and abdication of responsibility.

    I am sorry nonetheless to see James shouted down at his own blog, even by people I tend to agree with in substance. The comments are becoming a little triumphalist about the current administration and, worse, another version of the angry and self-congratulatory echo chamber I sought out of.

    Like Ron Beasley (and Superdestroyer, I guess), I fear the domination of one party and I gather no schadenfreude from the demise of the sort of Republicans who I take James to represent. But bashing James because he does his thinking inside that party does nothing for me.

  27. Tillman says:

    @Joe:

    The comments are becoming a little triumphalist about the current administration and, worse, another version of the angry and self-congratulatory echo chamber I sought out of.

    Spinning isn’t something politicians do exclusively, it’s something everybody does to maintain their ego. A national election’s coming up. This makes us retrospective about the political past, call out victories for what they were and diminish defeats as inconsequential.

    It’s annoying, but it’s a survival instinct.

  28. al-Ameda says:

    @Joe:

    Like Ron Beasley (and Superdestroyer, I guess), I fear the domination of one party and I gather no schadenfreude from the demise of the sort of Republicans who I take James to represent. But bashing James because he does his thinking inside that party does nothing for me.

    Domination of one party? There is a pretty fair chance that Republicans will win the White House in 2016, and will then have control of Congress and the White House.

    James is unfailingly decent, and he takes the very limited criticism he gets here on OTB in stride. Generally, I do not find the criticism of James, Doug or Stephen to be out of line, inappropriate, or hostile. Most certainly not when compared to the partisan interactions on various conservative blogs.

  29. C. Clavin says:

    @Joe:
    Triumphalist? OK.
    What would you call the opposing claims by Republican leaders?
    Turns out the devil has been a pretty damn good President.
    Stating that fact above the din of nonsense…I don’t see it as triumphalist.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    @Joe:

    It is hardly “shouting down” to point out the facts to James–it is a little too cute to say that our current political troubles started with Bork and both parties are equally guilty of causing the current gridlock…from Mitch McConnell talking about wanting to make Obama a one-term president to Republicans actually shutting down the government because they didn’t get their way, it has become quite clear that the GOP is little more than a nihilist party bent on throwing constant temper tantrums rather than actually governing…when people who seem reasonable, like James, give their party cover, the process of trying to reform that party becomes even harder…

  31. Mikey says:

    @An Interested Party: I don’t see it as providing cover. Unless people like James conclude the GOP is beyond saving, they probably feel there’s little choice but to hang with it and try to reform it from within. No doubt many reasonable Republicans wouldn’t be at all upset were the current base to simply split off into a third party, but even the thickest-skulled of that base understand they need a national party structure, so it’s highly doubtful that would happen. And of course the party leadership doesn’t want to jump off the tiger’s back.

    It’s a civil war in the GOP right now, and while I believe the Jameses of the party are on the right side of it. I don’t envy them one bit.

  32. Moosebreath says:

    @Mikey:

    “Unless people like James conclude the GOP is beyond saving, they probably feel there’s little choice but to hang with it and try to reform it from within.

    (snip)

    It’s a civil war in the GOP right now, and while I believe the Jameses of the party are on the right side of it.”

    I’d be more inclined to believe that if I actually saw some actual fighting breaking out. Some push back against the base. Some dissenting votes to the party’s extreme tactics. James started off by saying that the outcome of keeping this agreement was a good one. And I am sure he is not alone in his party’s defense wing.

    And yet not a single Republican officeholder has supported it. The Republican voices condemning the more over-the-top statements (such as Huckabee saying that the treaty opens the oven doors for the Israelis) were nearly non-existent. So there seems to be a lot more action to keep the party unified by knuckling under to the crazies than trying to reform it.

  33. JohnMcC says:

    @Joe: Thoroughly agree that the Gracious Hosts of our little salon are generally the best the R-party has to offer in both acuity of argument and generosity of heart. I was inexplicably painted as a spammer after a recent IT upgrade and Dr Joyner went to some considerable trouble (and kept me updated by personal emails) to get me back to annoying folks here. I was impressed and remain grateful.

    They are not thin-skinned folks however and are not incapable of defending their points of view.

    It seems to me that the ‘triumphalist’ tone you hear is as much because none of our peers on the comments threads are articulate conservatives. We get some who appear to have wandered in from breitbart or redstate who think clever wordplay will hurt our feelings and leave us speechless. There are a few others (the lamented superD) with a one-note-samba to play. But no one can explain standard conservative ideas in a convincing way (little Miss Pinki comes close on occasion).

    I leave it to the reader to decide if the arguments themselves are ridiculous or if the messengers are weak & few.

  34. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “Going back to the Bork hearings, the out party has engaged in shenanigans to stop the party with the White House from getting anything done. It’s escalated with each passing administration. I’d like to see someone stop the cycle but it’s always “You first!””

    This is a lie, pure and simple.

    Let’s start with Bork – the perpetrator of the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’, violating an agreement between Congress and the President. For that alone (violation), he should have been voted down 100% in committee. For the actions taken, he should have been voted down 100% in committee. As it was, he received a full hearing and vote before the Senate, which he lost because his opponents fairly and accurately informed people of his views.

    Iran-Contra – arming a nation declared to be an enemy, in violation of the law, to further violate Congress’ ‘power of the purse’ ban on funding the Contras. That investigation carefully limited itself to the crimes involved, and the obstruction of justice charges for covering up those same crimes.

    Then the GOP realized that an investigation could be never-ending, and have an ever-expanding list of actions of interest.

    Then the GOP got the presidency, and the Democratic Party *accepted* that.

    The the Democratic Party got the Presidency (and Congress) and the GOP refused to accept the legitimate government of the USA as legitimate, and quite disloyally carried out a pattern of 100% obstruction, regardless of the good of the nation.

    In this case, Congress voted to accept the deal unless and until they carried out a vote against it. Obama is doing nothing that Congress didn’t vote for.

    James, do you think that we are stupid?

  35. Barry says:

    Sorry to be harsh, James, but crap – the GOP has spent all of your adult life escalating and perverting things. ‘Both sides’ do it’ is just trying to equate two very different things.

  36. Barry says:

    @JohnMcC: ““A 2009 study published by the University of Michigan found that 52.9% of international agreements were executive agreements from 1839 to 1889, but from 1939 until 1989 the ratio had risen to 94.3%”. From the WSJ ‘washwire’ of 3/10/15 quoting this study:”

    James, you have a Ph,D. in poli sci, I believe? Please talk to your colleagues.

  37. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “While the outcome here was a good one, the process was abhorrent. By any reasonable standard, this was a treaty. Rather than needing a mere minority to not kill it, it’s supposed to require a 2/3 supermajority to ratify it. How we’ve managed to reverse the Constitutional process is beyond me.”

    First, you’ve already been proven to be wrong – things like this are done all fo the time.

    Second, the reason that there’s now a 2/3 supermarity requirement to kill it is that Congress voted for that system.

    You’re not fooling anybody here.

  38. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “If the process is that unmanageable, let’s amend the process rather than ignoring it. It just makes a mockery of rule of law.”

    ‘amend’ BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

    (wipes eyes)

    Were you serious?

  39. Barry says:

    @Grewgills: “Given that the procedure followed has been the norm for well over 50 years now, why is it abhorrent this time? You acknowledge that the outcome was good and I’m sure you can see that many of those opposed to the deal are only opposed because they oppose giving Obama a ‘win’ on anything. How can you defend procedure rarely used in the past 50 years over substance that would make the world a far more dangerous place? How can you support the party that elevates procedural tactics to damage the opposition so far above substance that the two can’t see each other on a clear day?”

    James is using a standard right-wing argument, which wears many masks, but whose true face is ‘anything liberal is not legitimate; only right-wing things can be legitimate’.