Boehner rolls out welcome mat to Netanyahu for Iran speech; Update: Menendez says Obama argument “sounds like talking points… from Iran”

posted at 10:41 am on January 21, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, Barack Obama threatened to veto any new sanctions on Iran that the newly-Republican majority might pass as a way to pressure Tehran to stop its nuclear program. Obama lectured Congress on his successes in “halt[ing] the progress of its nuclear program and reduc[ing] its stockpile of nuclear material,” and warned that Congressional action would isolate the US from its allies:

There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails — alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress.

This morning, John Boehner provided an answer to Obama’s challenge. While the President brags about his diplomatic acumen in a joint session, Boehner will have Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu explain the reality of the Iranian threat in the region to Congress as a rebuttal:

The invitation for Netanyahu to speak to lawmakers on Feb. 11 comes hours after Obama, in his State of the Union address, said he would veto any sanctions legislation.

Boehner was informing the GOP caucus of his invitation in a private meeting. He says Obama expects Congress to stand idly by and do nothing while the administration negotiates with Tehran.

Boehner’s response: “Hell, no.”

This is quite a masterstroke from Boehner, who had to have known Obama would take the high-handed route during the State of the Union speech. In an address filled with denials of reality, arguing that retreating from sanctions without anything solid in return constitutes progress was perhaps among the most absurd. Iran has been extending its regional hegemony in the conflict that Obama’s total withdrawal from Iraq allowed to metastasize, and the Obama administration has signaled its desperation by floating trial balloons about joint operations against ISIS in an attempt to avoid the need for ground troops in Iraq and Syria.

Netanyahu will deliver reality to the joint session. That will be done tactfully by Netanyahu, to be sure, who is taking political heat at home for the deterioration of the US-Israeli relationship. But Netanyahu won’t pull punches either, especially on the need to increase pressure on Iran rather than let them off the hook in the naive hope that being nicer will produce a similar reaction from the Iranians. Tehran sees America on the retreat in the region, and they want to fill that vacuum. That is an existential threat to Israel, and Netanyahu wants to make sure the US understands that, even if Obama does not.

Inside the Beltway, Boehner’s invitation will deliver a reminder that the floor of Congress is not Obama’s fiefdom. He’s not the only person in Washington with a pen and a phone, after all.

Update: Jen Rubin writes that a bipartisan consensus emerged immediately that Obama doesn’t have a clue on Iran — or on the actual sanctions bill being proposed in Congress:

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (Calif.) put out a statement: “The President presented a false choice on Iran sanctions. We can have negotiations and more economic pressure. The Obama Administration has been negotiating with Tehran for over a year. Meanwhile, Tehran has advanced its nuclear capabilities. By the Administration’s own account, significant differences remain with Iran. One thing that could change Tehran’s resistance to accepting a meaningful and effective agreement to keep it from developing a nuclear weapons capability is the threat of more economic pressure. Economic pressure is the only reason the Iranian regime is at the table. Instead of ruling out what has worked, the President should work with Congress to increase the negotiating pressure on Iran.”

Mark Dubowitz of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a sanctions expert, said without equivocation: “The interim agreement has not ‘frozen’ or ‘halted’ Iran’s military-nuclear program. Following a strategy followed by then-chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani between 2003 and 2005, Tehran has suspended only aspects of the program that no longer need significant advancement, while working on aspects not yet mastered.” He adds, “This includes, among other areas, the development of long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and, most critically, Iranian stonewalling of the IAEA about possible military dimensions of Iran’s program.”

Josh Block, a long-time Democrat and CEO of the Israel Project, reiterated the two falsehoods Obama propounded. “For over a year the admin has claimed, falsely, that Iran’s nuclear program has been ‘frozen and their progress halted’ during the talks — talks we were told would only last 6 months, yet are now heading toward 19 months (June 30th),” he said via e-mail. “Far from being ‘halted,’ during the negotiations, Iran has enriched at least one more bomb’s worth of material, has advanced its plutonium track to 87% completion, and just, announced it will build 2 more nuclear facilities. Does that sound ‘frozen’ to you?” Block, like other outside Iran experts, also chastised the president for inferring that Congress was about to pass sanctions that would immediately go into effect, thereby thwarting the negotiations[.]

Perhaps Netanyahu will offer more enlightenment on those points. He could hardly do worse than Obama.

Update: The criticism is getting even more bipartisan. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says Obama’s arguments on Iran sound as if they’ve been written by the mullahs:

It’s not the first time Menendez has had issues with Obama on Iran, either. They exchanged sharp words last week at the Democratic retreat:

Menendez, the leading Democrat pushing for additional sanctions against Iran, forcefully pressed Obama on the need for additional sanctions during a meeting in which Obama urged Menendez and other senators to drop their efforts to pass sanctions legislation. Additional sanctions, Obama argued, could torpedo ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

The unusually sharp exchange, between a senior senator and a president from his own party, occurred during a Senate Democratic retreat at a hotel in Baltimore. A senior administration official also confirmed details of the exchange, which was first reported by the New York Times.

Obama said that as a former senator himself, he understood how outside forces — like special interests and donors — can influence senators to act, one of the senators recounted.

That’s when Menendez stood up to challenge the President, telling Obama he took “personal offense” to his assertions, the New York Times reported, arguing that he has worked to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions for many years and was not motivated by political considerations.

That one’s going to sting — badly. 


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

I don’t see anything that mentions the Holocaust. Why would the Catholic Church mention it though. Hell they got a lot of stolen art work from slaughtered Jews during WWII.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:34 PM

Read it, again. It was 1942. What the hell do you think he was talking about? They didn’t start referring to The Shoah as ‘The Holocaust’ until near the end or after the war.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 7:38 PM

Wow Reverend. Is the rest of your flock as charming as you? That’s alright, I’ll turn the other cheek.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:21 PM

Jesus had no problem calling out those who lie. Nor do those who go forth in His name.

Which reminds me…well done on Pius XII, RWM. Oliver has clearly gotten all of his “information” from “The Deputy.”

Athanasius on January 21, 2015 at 7:38 PM

And you call the Muslims violent.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:36 PM

Not the majority, but many.

Again, I am an ATHEIST. I don’t subscribe to religious dogma.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 7:39 PM

@OliverB on January 21, 2015

I’ve been witness to many

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015

moonbat thrashings, but your meltdown is almost too painful to observe….

……”knave!”……

Hilarious!

tanked59 on January 21, 2015 at 7:45 PM

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:16 PM

After Pius’s 1942 Christmas broadcast, the Nazis’ response was that it was “one long attack on everything we stand for….He is clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews….He is virtually accusing the German people of injustice toward the Jews, and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.”

Hitler biographer John Toland, while scathing of Pius’s cautious public comments in relation to the mistreatment of Jews, concluded that the Allies’ own record of action against the Holocaust was “shameful”, while “The Church, under the Pope’s guidance, had already saved the lives of more Jews than all other churches, religious institutions and rescue organizations combined…”.

Joseph K on January 21, 2015 at 7:48 PM

Which reminds me…well done on Pius XII, RWM. Oliver has clearly gotten all of his “information” from “The Deputy.”

Athanasius on January 21, 2015 at 7:38 PM

Thanks. The Soviets began to try to take Pius down during WWII. They had to discredit the Church in order for the State to become the only thang. Too many of the people in the countries they occupied (ever notice how the Soviets are never called invaders, conquerors, colonialists, or imperialists?) were devoted to the Catholic Church. Because of Pius’ well-known position on Nazism and treatment of Jews AT THE TIME, they were unsuccessful. For decades, it remained that way. He was a beloved figure by Christians and Jews alike. Then, in 1963, the Soviets scored what they thought was a knock-out blow with their agent Rolf Hochhuth’s play, The Deputy. Incidentally, the play was brought to America using Soviet funds by Ramparts, which David Horowitz, when he was a Red, co-edited.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 7:55 PM

You nuts are really grasping at straws if that Christmas speech is the best you can get at Pius speaking out. He’s with Hitler in Hell and there is nothing you can do about it!

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:55 PM

You nuts are really grasping at straws if that Christmas speech is the best you can get at Pius speaking out. He’s with Hitler in Hell and there is nothing you can do about it!

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:55 PM

Does this mean that you’re going to take your ‘ball’ and go home now?

tanked59 on January 21, 2015 at 7:57 PM

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:55 PM

And, you, luv, are certifiable if you think Pius was a Nazi.

Snort. Snicker.

Does this mean that you’re going to take your ‘ball’ and go home now?

tanked59 on January 21, 2015 at 7:57 PM

It should, but evidently, he’s a glutton for punishment.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 8:07 PM

Again, why would the Chief Rabbi of Rome take Pacelli’s given names when he (and his family) converted to Catholicism in 1945 if Pope Pius XII was a Nazi, who did absolutely nothing for Jews during WWII?

Crickets.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican

Joseph K on January 21, 2015 at 8:43 PM

Thank you RWM for your objective defense. I didn’t get into this thread, but reading through, there’s nothing i could have added.

Brilliant.

itsspideyman on January 21, 2015 at 9:42 PM

lol looks like Oliver the Bigot was pwned all over this thread. It seems to happen to him quite often.

HumpBot Salvation on January 21, 2015 at 9:45 PM

No Boehner fan here, but credit where due: The Weeper of the House hit a home run this time.

“…it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”

They well may have.

petefrt on January 22, 2015 at 8:08 AM

LOL

corona79 on January 22, 2015 at 9:20 AM

Pius never protested the Nazis. He never spoke about the Holocaust. He made deals with the Nazis to gain more papal power. You need to read. If you’re Catholic you may have difficulty in the subject of reading without a priest over your shoulder. I suggest you start out with see spot run and go from there….

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:16 PM

Pius was much like the current Pope Dope.

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 10:59 AM

Iran is probably the most stable and least threatening regime in that region right now. They pose no threat at the moment to the U.S. Sanctions would just add more chaos to that part of the world.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 11:13 AM

Incense and peppermints?

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 11:00 AM

If you blowhards are really serious about protecting Israel then we should have no sanctions on Iran. Israel and the US only comes up in Iran when the economy is bad. It is used as a distraction to keep the masses minds off of poverty.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM

In A Gadda Da Vida?

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Of course we can’t have a rational conversation about Israel without someone being labeled an anti-Semite. You’re like those old guys trying to return paint at HomeDepot and the sales clerk won’t take it back, so the old guy yells out anti-Semite! The sales clerk is an anti-Semite!

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Is that where you work?

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 11:05 AM

Have you been reading your Gun Show history books again? I’ve read Icon of Evil too. Talk about revisionist history

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 12:55 PM

You can lead a horse to water…

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 11:06 AM

I find it amusing that I’m being labeled a bigot when so many here won’t even admit that the Persians invented maths! That is settled history people! The derangement here is laughable if it wasn’t so insidious. Even in the Torah they refer to Cyrus the Great as the king of kings for his human rights and bringing engineering feats to the world. Next time you cross a bridge thank a Persian bigots.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 1:17 PM

Are you getting your history from the teenage socialist essayists of WikiPedia?

Mathematics isn’t invented. It’s discovered.

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 11:12 AM

I’m a Know Nothing who is so moronic that I believe a discussion about Iran’s nuclear program is the proper place to spread my steer manure.

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 7:16 PM

corona79 on January 22, 2015 at 11:12 AM

So what did we learn today kiddos?

OliverB on January 21, 2015 at 2:13 PM

That you’re profoundly talented at parroting the old Soviet propaganda that academia has been plagiarizing for decades?

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 11:14 AM

Well I’ll be darn….menendez has some cajones

cmsinaz on January 21, 2015 at 11:34 AM

Or, Obama might have him by the above … he suddenly appears to going where no Dem has gone before in blaspheming the deity. Maybe, as a cornered-rat, he is lashing out.

But it certainly is strange that immigration slave Menendez is suddenly finding he has some principles about Iran – he has to have known, as OliverB has demonstrated to us today, that Persians invented Mathematics (that’s right! all of it. Cyrus worked it out one night before getting down to the serious business of fulfilling prophesies for the Jews).

Persians also invented Valerie Jarrett, the supreme mentor that has guided Obama’s foreign policy so well.

virgo on January 22, 2015 at 10:05 PM

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