Will Democrats Help Scuttle Obama’s Iran Deal?

Democrats like New York Senator Chuck Schumer could end up being the ones that scuttle the Iranian nuclear deal.

barack-obama-vox-pointing

The political problems that President Obama may have selling the Iranian nuclear deal were emphasized quite well yesterday when New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who is set to succeed Harry Reid as leader of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate, endorsed legislation that would essentially require the President to submit whatever deal is finally reached by the June 30th deadline in the framework for approval by Congress:

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of Capitol Hill’s most influential voices in the Iran nuclear debate, is strongly endorsing passage of a law opposed by President Barack Obama that would give Congress an avenue to reject the White House-brokered framework unveiled last week.

The comments Monday by the Democratic leader-in-waiting illustrate the enormity of the task ahead for Obama and his team: While there’s no guarantee that Congress would ultimately reject an agreement with Iran, there’s an increasingly bipartisan consensus that Congress should at least have the ability to do so.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of Capitol Hill’s most influential voices in the Iran nuclear debate, is strongly endorsing passage of a law opposed by President Barack Obama that would give Congress an avenue to reject the White House-brokered framework unveiled last week.

The comments Monday by the Democratic leader-in-waiting illustrate the enormity of the task ahead for Obama and his team: While there’s no guarantee that Congress would ultimately reject an agreement with Iran, there’s an increasingly bipartisan consensus that Congress should at least have the ability to do so.

His comments came as the White House press secretary was panning the legislation, which was written by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and would allow Congress to vote to suspend the lifting of sanctions. A committee vote on the measure is planned for next week.

Schumer is a potentially decisive figure in whether the Iran measure will eclipse veto-proof support in Congress, given his expected ascension to the Democratic leader’s job in 2017 and the diminished influence of indicted Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who recently relinquished his position as the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel.

Within the Senate Democratic Caucus, a dozen senators have either co-sponsored Corker’s legislation or indicated they could support it. That would put the measure one vote shy of a veto-proof majority. On Monday, three more Democratic senators — Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — left open the possibility of voting for it, according to aides. Their support, however, could hinge on whether Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the new ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is able to negotiate concessions that alleviate concerns the bill could derail any agreement.

Capitol Hill aides in both parties on Monday said it is not clear what changes Democrats will seek. The bill would give Congress 60 days to review the Iran framework by freezing sanction relief and allowing lawmakers the ability to formally disapprove or approve of the legislation. One possibility is to clarify that the legislation governs only congressional sanctions rather than ones that originated from global agreements or the White House.

With no co-sponsors publicly backing away from Corker’s bill in recent days, Democratic supporters said they have detected a shift in rhetoric from the White House. They pointed to Obama’s comment to The New York Times over the weekend in which he suggested finding a legislative compromise “that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives.”

“I read what the president said last night, looking for a way to work with Congress on that. They are now in a realistic position: That Congress is going to weigh in,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who co-wrote the bill while making technical consultations with the White House. He called Obama’s tone in that interview “just a recognition of the reality of the situation” on Capitol Hill.

But White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to entertain that possibility, telling reporters on Monday that the White House sees no way to reconcile Corker’s bill with the president’s mission of finishing Iran negotiations before Congress votes on anything.

“It could potentially interfere with the ongoing negotiations,” Earnest said, insisting that Congress wait until after the June 30 deadline for a final agreement before voting on the legislation.

Such a delay appears increasingly unlikely, however. Corker said he plans to hold a committee vote on April 14, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed Monday that the full Senate will consider the bill shortly after that.

Over in the House, the bill also apparently has a high level of support among Democrats, including possibly enough to constitute a veto proof majority. If the bill survives in its current form, then, and President Obama does veto it, then that would set in motion an entirely different set of political calculations for many of these Democrats, including the possibility of whether or not they would be willing to hand their President such a significant legislative defeat on an important matter of international relations. Of course, the President could decide the sign the bill into law and allow the negotiations in Switzerland to continue with this legislation hanging over their head. Assuming a deal is reached at some point, then the bill would set in motion a complicated set of requirements that would have to be met for Congress to formally disapprove what has been agreed to, a vote that would also require Democrats who are presently voicing support for the bill to be willing to hand a defeat to the leader of their party on the international stage.

Party loyalty isn’t the only thing that is likely to guide these Democrats on Capitol Hill, of course. Although there hasn’t been any significant polling since the framework agreement was announced, polling has consistently showed that the American people are strongly opposed to Iran possessing nuclear weapons, and strongly in favor of maintaining sanctions and other non-military means in order to ensure this. Additionally, of course, one cannot discount the influence of Israel in this situation and the fact that Americans who support Israel are likely to be lobbying their representatives quite actively when this issue comes up for a vote. At its most basic level, many of these legislators will have to make a choice between loyalty to a Democratic President and the will of the voters. What they choose could have significant implications.

The open question, of course, is what impact legislation like this would have have on the negotiations themselves. Corker and other supporters of the bill say that it would enhance the bargaining power of the negotiators because they would be able to blame the inability to get Congressional approval on their rejection of certain Iranian demands or insistence on enhancing other terms of the already announced framework. Given the difficulty in reaching even the framework agreement that was announced last week, though, one has to wonder whether a position such as that would cause the Iranians to agree to further concessions or become more recalcitrant about agreeing to anything, especially since it’s already well-known that the hardliners in the Iranian government are just as skeptical about the idea of any agreement at all as many Americans are. It’s also unclear how trying to re-negotiate the terms of the framework agreement would impact the other parties to the negotiations, especially Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China. If the United States ends up being alone on a ledge insisting on a harder line toward the Iranians, with possibly only the French backing us up, then the entire negotiating process could collapse and we’d be back at square one.

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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    If the United States ends up being alone on a ledge insisting on a harder line toward the Iranians, with possibly only the French backing us up, then the entire negotiating process could collapse and we’d be back at square one

    Welcome to Republican America, where “Just Say No” applies to more than sex and drugs, it’s our policy toward everything.

  2. You mean Republicans like Chuck Schumer? Come on man, you have to admit that the skepticism about this deal on Capitol Hill is not limited to one party.

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    No, not even close. Schumer is crazy about Israel but he knows how to win. He just has to show he’s crazy without doing anything. Mostly, though, the GOP will alienate everybody who believes Farsi rather than Arabic is the official language of Tehran. By this fall, Scott Walker and Rick Perry will be advocating war with Iran and centrists will be blaming this on Obama’s partisanship.

  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Chuck likes being the center of attention, and never misses a chance for self-promotion. I know the guy personally, and like him as an individual, but he’s always been a bona-fide attention whore.

  5. Jack says:

    Party loyalty isn’t the only thing that is likely to guide these Democrats on Capitol Hill, of course.

    Where are all the OTB commentators suggesting “Country before party”?

    Crickets.

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    You think we’re any less likely to excoriate Schumer for taking this insane position because he’s a Democrat? I’m inclined to consider voting for someone else in the primaries now, specifically because of these antics.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Shumer (and Lieberman before we in CT tossed his lying ass) always put Israel before the US. This is nothing new. Completely expected.
    I hope this deal gets scuttled and we end up going to war with Iran at Israels behest.
    Perhaps the best thing that could happen to politics in the US.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    If Senator Schumer manages to kill this deal he will never be leader of Senate Democrats, whether minority or majority.

    I think he’s a lousy choice to begin with,and as much as Dick Durbin bores me and reminds me of Mr. Roper, (Norman Fell) I think he’d be the better choice.

  9. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Exactly. Because you care more about your party and the legacy of its titular head Obama than you do about the country.

    At least you admit it.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Do you even understand what it is you are typing????

  11. Modulo Myself says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I don’t think Schumer will scuttle the deal. He’s much smarter than Lieberman.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I’ve already written to both of my Senators (Feinstein and Boxer) as well as to Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, suggesting that a Senator who shows more loyalty to Likud than to his own party has no business being in our party’s leadership.

  13. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Don’t you have some horses to “tame”?

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    The former heads of Mossad and Israeli Military Intelligence like the deal. The politician, Bibi Netanyahu, does not. Senator Schumer appears to be siding with Bibi against Israel’s most experienced intelligence professionals.

    Bibi and the GOP want a war. Plain and simple. They want war. Are you fighting it? Are your kids fighting it? Will you wife be in the mall when Hezbollah starts attacking soft targets in retaliation? Are you paying the bills for all this?

  15. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Being against the current, unwritten, and largely lied about “Framework Agreement” does not mean people are for Lukid. Because people believe this deal allows Iran to continue to pursue a nuke doesn’t mean people are pro Lukid.

    Again, this was a president that said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.”
    So, he’s not exactly know for his truthfulness.

  16. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The former heads of Mossad and Israeli Military Intelligence like the deal. The politician

    How can these former heads be for something that even the US and IRAN disagree about what it actually does?

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    How you manged to infer that from “I am considering voting against one of my own party’s incumbents because of his position on this issue” is truly a masterpiece of pretzel logic. I commend you on your flexible mind.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    even the US and IRAN disagree about what it actually does

    Copying and pasting that over and over again, from the wingnut websites you visit, doesn’t make it true.

  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Because people believe this deal allows Iran to continue to pursue a nuke doesn’t mean people are pro Lukid.

    So, are we to infer that you believe the absence of a deal would somehow prevent Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons?

    How does that work?

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    They don’t want war…they just can’t explain any logical alternatives.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Let him go check RedState.com…and he’ll get back to you.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Mr. Obama’s truthfulness is irrelevant.

    Britain, France, Russia, Germany and China are our partners in this negotiation. They’ve all signed off. Which means if the deal dies, the sanctions die as well.

    I know you have a hard time seeing beyond the echo chamber, but try to read this entire sentence: If the deal dies, the sanctions die and Iran has an unrestricted shot at developing the bomb.

    In other words, you want to help them develop a bomb. A problem for which you will have only one solution: war. War with a country with twice Iraq’s population and four times its area. A war for which Russia would gleefully supply weapons. A war that would activate Hezbollah against foreign (European and American) targets. A war that would place our people in Afghanistan in an infinitely more dangerous position. A war that according to most estimates would only delay the nuclear threshold by 3 to 5 years, while the diplomacy has already delayed it for ten.

    I realize all you know of politics is “hate Obama” but sometimes things come up which are actually more important than your hate. Try paying attention to the issue. Try understanding on your own rather than just mindlessly regurgitating whatever tropes comes oozing out of Breitbart and Limbaugh.

    Americans will die because you hate Mr. Obama more than you love this country.

    Use your brain. It’s probably still there, somewhere.

  23. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Don’t you have some sheep to “sheer”?

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    How can these former heads be for something that even the US and IRAN disagree about what it actually does?

    Because they aren’t morons and they know what’s going on. The Iranians have hawks, too, which must be placated with soft soap. Mr. Obama and Iranians of less extreme positions, are working together with our allies, to avoid war and a nuclear arms race.

    That’s why the former Mossad and Military Intelligence chiefs and Ehud Barak, noted Israeli hawk and former IDF Chief of Staff, as well as our allies, support the deal.

  25. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’m saying this is a bad, one sided deal. Iran gets everything it wants, and Obama gets to claim a deal is in place. I’m surprised he didn’t offer up part of Iraq to seal the deal.

  26. David in KC says:

    Shorter Jack, I don’t care what the final agreement says, it is from the Obama administration so it’s bad. War and the deaths of our soldiers and innocent civilians is better than giving a win to the facist, Marxist, Muslim, pretender.

    Why don’t we all just wait and see what the details are. If Congress wants to have a say, then they can pass a law, but if the whole thing falls apart, then they need to own it. And in 5 years and Iran has a nuke, it will be their fault. Maybe they can volunteer their kids and grand kids to be enlisted soldiers that would be on the ground.

    God forbid we give peace a chance.

    (And if the deal goes through and Iran still gets a nuke in 5 years, then yes, it’s Obama’s fault)

  27. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If the deal dies, the sanctions die and Iran has an unrestricted shot at developing the bomb.

    Even if the deal doesn’t die, you still have the Middle East equivalent of North Korea.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Iran already has part of Iraq thanks to Mr. Obama’s imbecile predecessor.

    Honest to God, dude, learn something before you start pontificating.

  29. Jack says:

    @David in KC:

    (And if the deal goes through and Iran still gets a nuke in 5 years, then yes, it’s Obama’s fault)

    Based upon the terms of the deal that I have read, that is a guaranteed outcome.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    The Middle East equivalent of North Korea? And has North Korea dropped any nukes on South Korea?

    No.

    Are the South Koreans worried?

    Don’t seem to be.

    So, if we buy your theory, we’re good, right?

  31. David M says:

    Given that Jack and Bill Kristol oppose the deal, I would say it sounds pretty good without even knowing any details.

  32. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jack:

    Seriously? North Korea? Iran is many bad things but it’s not even close to North Korea.

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Oh cut the crap, you haven’t read the deal. If you had you wouldn’t be talking nonsense. You’re just cutting and pasting right-wing talking points. You’re expressing hate not analyzing foreign policy.

  34. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: No, they don’t drop nukes. They just threaten every six months to get more foreign aid, food, and lobster for Kim, while also lobbing missiles off Japan.

    Yeah, that’s healthy.

    No one. And I mean no one believes NK is a functional government that can be trusted.

    Apparently that is exactly what you want in Iran.

  35. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Based upon the terms of the deal that I have read, [a nuclear Iran] is a guaranteed outcome

    Care to link to anything credible supporting that “theory”? Also, why would our other partners in this deal agree to it if this is the guaranteed outcome?

  36. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: I haven’t cut or pasted a word.

    You know what I am saying is true in your soul, you just won’t admit it because it gives a black eye to your guy. Like I said in my OP, country over party is non existent in the Liberal democrat world.

  37. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Care to link to anything credible supporting that “theory”? Also, why would our other partners in this deal agree to it if this is the guaranteed outcome?

    Obama admitted it.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/bloggers/3276642/posts

    The Obama approach is to remove all threats of military action, remove all economic sanctions, trust Iran to keep its word . . . and then sign a deal that even he doesn’t claim keeps them from getting the bomb.

    Obama on NPR: Sure, this Iran deal only delays the inevitable

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    No one, but no one, think NK is remotely similar to Iran. At least no one outside of crazy town.

    So your great fear is that Iran will threaten to use nukes to get lobster. Right. Because Iran has no way to make money. No way to afford lobster. Gosh, if only they had a valuable natural resource like, I don’t know, let’s say oil.

    A juche obsessed, fanatically-isolated, desperately poor communist monarchy is in your head just like wealthy Muslim Iran with its educated and pro-American population. Ooooookay.

    Hey, just a quick question: Given that sanctions will collapse the instant you get your way, how are you sopping Iran from getting the bomb?

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    and he cites Freepers. If the Birchers have suddenly become the voice of authority with respect to foreign policy in jack’s world, I think we’re done here.

  40. David M says:

    @Jack:

    So because the deal doesn’t extend forever, and may allow a nuclear Iran after more than a decade, the preferred alternative is a nuclear Iran now? I’m failing to see the logic there.

  41. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    and he cites Freepers. I think we’re done here.

    An extract from CanadaFreepress and an NPR interview with Obama you horses ass!

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/70996

  42. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m suggesting work a better deal. Not a deal that gives everything Iran wanted anyway. Apparently the only thing Obama knows how to do is capitulate to dictators.

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Here’s the full transcript of the NPR interview with Mr. Obama. Show me where he said what your brainwashers at Free Republic said he said.

  44. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Not a deal that gives everything Iran wanted anyway.

    We know for a fact they didn’t get everything they wanted, as there are limits on the centrifuge types and numbers. You may not like those limits, or other parts of the deal, but it’s obvious the Iranians would not have wanted those limits.

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:

    I’m failing to see the logic there.

    Because there is no logic…beyond;

    “I copied and pasted it from HotAir so it must be true”

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:
    Nor would they want the most intrusive arms control inspection regime in history. Much more intrusive than the IAEA regime which told us — accurately — that Saddam had no nuke program.

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Aside from the fact that you’ve degenerated into insults more quickly than usual, which tells me 1) that you’d be happier over in Freeperland and 2) you’re losing, CanadianFreepress is their equivalent of Freeperland. You aren’t helping your cause.

    Let’s assume that the NPR interview (which you didn’t cite) actually says what you claim that it does. So what? Given the choice between 10 years until a bomb, or 5 years (or less …) until a bomb, you think that 5 years (or less) is the preferable option.

    And yet you’re calling us crazy … 😀

  48. grumpy realist says:

    Totally OT, but Brontosaurus is back!!!

    (My godsons will be delighted)

  49. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Hey! Norman Fell was classic in The Graduate!

  50. John says:

    Hit Schumer with the Logan Act!

    Pretty soon there won’t be anyone left in congress and Obama can do whatever he wants!

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Is Pluto next???

  52. Davebo says:

    @Jack:

    Obama couldn’t offer up Iraq to seal the deal because Dubya already gave it to them.

  53. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Well Doug, Senator Schumer sees no political advantage in blocking an effort to bring this to Congress. Additionally, Schumer is running a CYA operation here because a significant portion of his constituents are interested in this negotiation.

    That said, only one party – the Republican Party – decided to set out to bring the talks to a halt, and to bring the whole negotiation down. This deal is virtually DOA if it is sent to Congress, Republicans will kill it because it is an Obama initiative, not because of content. A few Democrats will get a free pass to vote “no.”

  54. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I’m suggesting work a better deal.

    Oh my god, why didn’t Obama think of that?!? A better deal! Of course! He was a fool not to see that!

  55. al-Ameda says:

    @David in KC:

    Shorter Jack, I don’t care what the final agreement says, it is from the Obama administration so it’s bad. War and the deaths of our soldiers and innocent civilians is better than giving a win to the facist, Marxist, Muslim, pretender.

    That is the Republican policy on all things Obama – content does not matter, only opposition to the content.

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: So your way of fixing the problem is to have the US punt on the deal, which most likely means that Europe will wander away from the negotiations table and the sanctions idea, the French will start shipping stuff to the Iranians–as will the Russian and the Chinese…..and we’ve just given a big fat bloody eye to the moderates within Iran, which means that the hardliners can now say “see? We told you you couldn’t negotiate with the Great Satan!”

    Sanctions against a country only work if everyone decides to impose them, I might point out. We can’t just yowl for sanctions and expect everyone else to go along.

    If we torpedo this deal because it’s “not enough”, the end result is a) egg on our faces, b) the hardliners gain power back in Iran, and c) no one wants to play with us anymore on any further sanctions actions. And the Iranians can do as they please…which includes building whatever they please!

    Great job, Republicans! you’ve made us look less rational than the Iranians!

  57. Tillman says:

    This is a bad deal. Iran gets everything it wants.

    Where did this idea come from? Anyone who reads the content of the framework agreement would note the clearest numerical evidence that Iran was, to use the parlance of my times, utterly shafted in terms of their stockpile of enriched uranium. Or is anyone saying this piece of mishegoss believing Iran only wanted 300 kg out of the 10,000 kg it had? 300 kg is enough to make a bomb, but imagine how many bombs you could make with 10,000…

    The only reasonable explanation I can think of is everyone who says the above quoted statement doesn’t know what’s in the deal and is prima facie opposed to diplomacy with Iran.

  58. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jack:

    Jack, I read the interview. Here’s what Obama is saying. The deal limits Iran to enriched uranium suitable only for civilian purposes. Right now, for Iran to take that uranium and enrich it to levels that would work for a bomb, it would take a year. In fifteen years, however, with better centrifuges, the time it would take to convert the uranium would be negligible.

    There’s no mystery in any of this. Iran is a sovereign country. They aren’t going to bargain away the rights to develop peaceful nuclear technology, and they aren’t going to pretend they might not face nuclear threats from other countries. I’m sure some citizen of freerepublic sitting in an unfurnished sublet has a majestic plan to make Iran negotiate away its entire government and sovereignty, but that’s not the real world.

  59. Jeremy R says:

    @Doug:

    Although there hasn’t been any significant polling since the framework agreement was announced, polling has consistently showed that the American people are strongly opposed to Iran possessing nuclear weapons, and strongly in favor of maintaining sanctions and other non-military means in order to ensure this. Additionally, of course, one cannot discount the influence of Israel in this situation and the fact that Americans who support Israel are likely to be lobbying their representatives quite actively when this issue comes up for a vote. At its most basic level, many of these legislators will have to make a choice between loyalty to a Democratic President and the will of the voters.

    This is exactly backwards, isn’t it? My recollection of recent polling is that 2 to 1, Americans support going forward with an Iran deal but aren’t terribly confident it will achieve its goals.

    After some quick Googling, here it is:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/poll-2-to-1-support-for-nuclear-deal-with-iran/2015/03/30/9a5a5ac8-d720-11e4-ba28-f2a685dc7f89_story.html

    By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

  60. Tillman says:

    Taking bets. How long before Schumer’s announcement of his endorsement did he receive a call from some good friends over at AIPAC?

    (I realize this gets uncomfortably close to imagining a “Jewish conspiracy.” But then again, AIPAC exists. And it’s not Jewish, it’s nationalist.)

  61. C. Clavin says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I’m sure some citizen of freerepublic sitting in an unfurnished sublet has a majestic plan to make Iran negotiate away its entire government and sovereignty, but that’s not the real world.

    Right – unfortunately that is also what “Bibi and the Republicans” (a boy-band made of of rich old white guys) also think. But none of them can ever make an intellectually honest, coherently logical, argument as to how it works. Somehow if we walk away from negotiations then all of our European allies will immediately sign on to even stricter sanctions. Huh? How does that work? European businesses are clamoring to get back into Iran. They see sanctions as lost money. Even if it could work, sanctions make the influence of extremists inside Iran stronger. Harsher sanctions will just make them even stronger.
    Moderates around the world got moderates from Iran to the table and came up with a reasonable deal…the goal of every negotiation. Now extremists in our country and in Israel want to scuttle it…based entirely on emotion and mis-information…as you see parroted by Jack.
    Let’s go ahead and label the radicals and extremists for what they are.

  62. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman:

    Yeah, well the conflation of Israel with Likud and the equation of rational criticism with anti-semtism is a phenomenon much more common among the credulous goyim than among Jews.

  63. JohnMcC says:

    Somewhat off topic I suppose because Iran is not North Korea as discussed above. But it’s worth noting that the Bush43 administration’s tough talk and inappropriate sanctions are what led the Kims to produce their nuclear arsenal. The preceding Dem administration had an ‘Agreed Framework’ and the IAEA was inspecting NKorea’s nuclear program their entire eight years.

    http://www.thebulletin.org/real-threat-north-korea-nuclear-arsenal-built-over-last-decade7883

    But I’m sure Sen Schumer knows that the Repubs will make it all work out just fine this time. Just listen to them. They’ll explain it all.

  64. David in KC says:

    @C. Clavin: Bibi and the Republicans? There is not enough brain bleach to get the image that conjured in my mind. Thanks a lot.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    PLEASE IGNORE James P. He’s been banned by Joyner, and since this guy is too rude to take the hint, Joyner has been deleting his comments. So responding to him in any way is likely to leave you looking like you’re talking to air.

  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds: Seconded. You’ll be responding to a comment that shortly won’t exist. The guy just can’t take the hint.

  67. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Really, Michael? Dick Durbin? Dick Durbin??

  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Guarneri:

    Dick Durbin instead of The Chuck Schumer Show? Yea, any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  69. David in KC says:

    @HarvardLaw92: besides, comedians will love using the first name in inventive ways.

  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @David in KC:

    Every time I hear his name, that scene at the end of “Dick”, the one on the rooftop as Nixon is flying away in disgrace, pops into my head. 😀

    Funniest piece of political satire that I have ever seen …

  71. wr says:

    @Jack: ” Obama gets to claim a deal is in place. I’m surprised he didn’t offer up part of Iraq to seal the deal.”

    He can’t, since the mililtary genius George W. Bush already handed them the whole country.

    [Note to self: If the thread is this long, read through it before responding, since at least two others have already made this point…]

  72. Paul Hooson says:

    A number of American Jews, Schumer and me included, have real concerns about a White House foreign policy that is running behind the current events in the Mideast, where about 10 Sunni Muslim states are in battle in Yemen with proxy Shiite rebels backed by Iran. Further, Israel and these 10 Arab nations have far more intelligence and political cooperation than is previously realized by most persons, where Saudi Arabia actually gave their covert support to Israel’s war against Hamas terrorism a year ago. The White House made numerous political concessions to Iran which has little political backing in the region, other than some political support within Iraq, when there appeared to be no good reason to give Iran so many political concessions or to seek to improve relations with Iran at this time. Iran is viewed as the most troublesome state in the region right now, by 10 other Muslim neighbors as well as Israel. Everyone seems to understand this except for the Obama White House.

  73. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    Well, of course the Sunni powers think Iran is the problem. You might as well as a Belfast Protestant whether he thinks Catholics are the real problem.

    How many terrorist acts has Iran carried out against the US in the last 20 years? None. Contrast that with Saudi Arabia’s ongoing moral and often financial support for Al Qaeda and ISIS. Hezbollah hasn’t bothered us, Saudi extremists have. It’s not Shiite ideology motivating attacks in the streets of Paris, that stuff is straight out of Saudi. Ditto Boko Haram. Ditto Al Shabab.

    From dead cartoonists to kidnapped children to mass rape to shooting up a shopping mall, all of that, 100% is the product of extremist Islamic ideologies flowing from the KSA.

    Iran supported us against the Taliban. Iran is currently helping us kill ISIS. So as a practical matter, we and the Iranians have at least two goals in common. Even in Yemen, the Houthis are no friends to Sunni Al Qaeda, so while the situation there pisses off the Saudis I see no reason we should be terribly upset.

    So, I don’t think your analysis is correct. I think our natural ally in the region is Iran. Their population is westernized, their urban population is quite open to the US, they are an awful regime but less heinous than some of our so-called allies. We have some goals in common with Iran. We can do business with Iran.

  74. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    And the Iranian Cabinet is better educated, at US schools, than the famous 47 Senators.

  75. C. Clavin says:

    Great piece explaining why Bibi and the Republucans are just another boy-band:
    http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/alternatives-obama-iran-nuclear-deal-israel/389751/

  76. Matt says:

    @Paul Hooson: The one state that hasn’t invaded anyone is the “troublesome” one?

    Why because the people of Iran had the nerve to overthrow the brutal dictator we installed?

    Meanwhile in Iraq Iran is busy helping to fight ISIS.. You know ISIS right? The nuts funded by those Shia you so love (Saudi Arabia etc). You know the same group (Shia) that funded Osama bin Laden and crew…

  77. Matt says:

    Oops messed up on shia and sunni.

  78. Realist says:

    Get real. Schumer is just protecting his political flank in NYC. Republicans would need 13 Democratic votes to overturn Obama. Are they likely to get 13 Democratic votes against their own president in order to hand the Republican war party a victory? Nah.

  79. Stan says:

    @Jack: The equipment needed to produce fissionable material is large and complex. It can’t be hidden under a desk, and the major Iranian research facilities will have to admit foreign scientists under the agreement. I’m sure all of them will be reporting what they see to their governments.

    Before making extreme statements about how Obama was snookered, I suggest you study the treaty more closely. I also suggest you explain why so many former Mossad people support the treaty if it’s so bad for Israeli security.

  80. dmhlt says:

    Absolutely AMAZING how much time I can save by scrolling on by all Comments that begin

    “Jack says …”
    “James P says …”
    “Jenos Idanian says …”

  81. C. Clavin says:

    @Stan:
    Let him check with Free Republic, about how to respond, and he’ll get back to you.

  82. C. Clavin says:
  83. C. Clavin says:

    @Realist:
    Don’t underestimate Schumer’s love of Israel over his own Country…and the sway that holds over logic.
    He was in favor of the Iraq War, supported the Bush/Cheney torture program, and gets a boat-load of money from AIPAC.
    I would be shocked if he begins to agree with the rest of the world that this is a good deal.
    At this point only Bibi and the Republicans are against this…and they are perennially wrong about everything.

  84. Realist says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I don’t but one swallow doesn’t make a spring. Even if he votes with Republicans (which is isn’t going make his campaign for Democratic senate leader any easier) he’s not going to be followed by another 12 Democrats even if one or two do for tactical reasons. The right wing media are going nuts about this but in reality it’s not going to alter the basic arithmetic.

  85. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “Don’t underestimate Schumer’s love of Israel over his own Country…”

    Imagine if Israel went to war against Wall Street — the poor man would be torn in half.

  86. Jeremy R says:

    A new Reuter’s / Ipsos poll on the potential nuclear pact:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/08/us-iran-nuclear-usa-poll-idUSKBN0MZ0AG20150408

    Republican’s are split 31% in favor, 30% opposed and 40% unsure / no opinion. Independents: 33% support, 21% opposed, 45% not sure. Dems: 50% support, 10% oppose, 39% not sure.

    So opposition to the deal is the minority opinion, even among self identified Republicans.

  87. Realist says:

    @Jeremy R:

    The one thing Americans are generally united upon is that they don’t want to be involved in another war in the Middle East. Since that’s the only alternative to a negotiated agreement there’s little doubt in my mind that if Obama does a reasonable job of selling it the Republican party is going to be left isolated on this. In the plebiscitary system of government we have this is far more important than Republican antics in congress.

  88. C. Clavin says:

    @wr:
    That’s like saying chocolate might go to war with peanut butter. It’s all one Reese’s Cup.

  89. C. Clavin says:

    In the meantime Cheney is proving himself to be a senile old man desperate to re-invent his legacy and sell books.

    “I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing…”

    This old f’er is really becoming pathetic. Is there one thing in that quote that is supportable by facts? I almost feel bad for him. But I would still pay to see him waterboarded.

  90. Realist says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Cheney is one of those gifts that keeps on giving. He’s totally discredited so once he embarks on this baloney it immediately renders at nought the entire Republican argument (outside the true believers). Anything that keeps the Bush fiasco in voter’s minds is ipso facto a desirable phenomenon. This would be the beauty of a Jeb Bush candidacy. The entire Bush 2 administration would get re-litigated. It wouldn’t be quite so compelling and immediate as 2008 but close.

  91. C. Clavin says:

    @Realist:
    Or force him to address the utter failure of his brother on every single level.

  92. Realist says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Which he’s not going to do so this means defending the indefensible for months on end and since attacking the Obama presidency has to be a central part of any Republican campaign then comparisons are inevitable. Clinton must be hugging herself with glee at the prospect.

  93. gVOR08 says:

    None of this greatly worries me. If there’s one thing No Drama Obama has been good at, it’s vote counting.

  94. C. Clavin says:

    Tom Cotton (another Sarah Palin only with an actual elected position) wants to just bomb Iran for a couple days…
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/politics/tom-cotton-bombing-iran-several-days/

  95. Realist says:

    @C. Clavin:

    This guy belongs in beer commercials.

  96. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Cotton also recieved $700,000 for use in his Senate campaign from the Emergency Committee for Israel.

  97. Matt says:

    @C. Clavin: Absolute moron. Didn’t they say similar stuff about the run up to the Iraq war? SHOCK AND AWE!! IT”LL PAY FOR ITSELF!! MUSHROOM CLOUDS!!! IT”LL BE OVER IN DAYS AND WE”LL BE GREETED AS LIBERATORS!! Why are these moronic chicken hawks given a platform by the media??

    Iran is not Iraq. Iran has anti-aircraft defenses that WILL shoot down many of our planes probably including some of our +1b each stealth bombers. Then there’s the issue that Iran has thousands of anti-ship missiles just sitting there ready to close down the Strait of Hormuz. They won’t even have to lay mines to do so (of course they WILL lay mines too). Our carrier groups are well defended but when a thousand anti ship missiles are launched at them the CIWS systems will be overloaded and we will likely lose a carrier if not more. 6-10 billion dollars lost for a couple hundred million in missiles basically. So we’ll be forced to keep our fleet out of range. 35% of the oil transported over the ocean passes through that straight. How long do you think we would last with 1/3rd of the world’s oil supply cut off? In a conventional war the USA will win but not after a great deal of losses in both people and equipment/ships.

    This is one of the major reasons why the navy is trying hard to come up with alternative ways to produce jet fuel (from seawater for example). Our oil reliance for our military is a major weakness.