The lowest moment from what was probably the lowest speech of his presidency — so far. David Harsanyi, watching this, asks a good question:
The GOP opposes the nuclear deal because they think it’s too favorable to Iran and not favorable enough to America. The hardliners in Iran’s parliament oppose the deal for the opposite reason. Insofar as they both want the deal to fail, I suppose that’s “common cause.” But then, as Harsanyi says, it must also be true that Barack Obama made “common cause” with Saddam Hussein since both of them thought the Iraq war was a bad idea. Obama thought it was a bad idea for U.S. and Iraqi security whereas Saddam thought it was a bad idea for his own personal security, but the reasoning is immaterial apparently. All that matters to “common cause” is how the parties to an issue align. Or at least, 12 years after the invasion of Iraq, that’s all that matters now. I wonder what Democrats like Steve Israel, who came out against the Iran deal yesterday, thought when they found out today that they’re on the same side as the worst fanatics in Iran’s government.
Actually, Obama’s insult may be worse than it at first appears. The major theme of this speech, as it always, always is — and always disingenuously — when Obama talks about diplomacy with Iran is that the only alternative is war. Reportedly he went so far today in a private meeting with Jewish leaders as to claim that Iranian rockets will rain down on Tel Aviv if the GOP-led Congress blocks the deal, because that will lead to war with Iran and war will lead to Iranian reprisals against Israel. Never mind that Iranian-made rockets already rain down on Israel every few years thanks to Hezbollah and that the sanctions relief Iran is getting from this deal will help pay for more of them. Never mind too that Israel’s own prime minister seems to think reprisals are a risk worth taking in the name of stopping an Iranian atomic bomb. The point, at least to Obama, is that only a warmonger would oppose this terrible deal, which all but endorses an Iranian bomb 10 years from now. Equating the Republicans in Congress with Iran’s hardliners was his way of suggesting, I think, that both of those groups actually seek war with each other in the name of advancing their own political interests. There’s no such thing as good-faith opposition to an Obama policy, at least outside the Democratic caucus. If GOP hawks hate his nuclear deal, it can only be because they’ve got Gulf War III on the brain and refuse to let some master stroke of diplomacy deter them.
In fact, that’s basically an Iranian talking point coming out of the president’s mouth, that some elements of the U.S. government are stone-cold fanatics who’ll accept nothing short of war with Iran. You hear a lot of Iranian talking points coming from the White House lately, curiously enough: Ed wrote this morning about John Kerry warning his former colleagues in Congress not to “screw” the country’s lunatic supreme leader by torpedoing a deal he kinda sorta supports. Here’s another choice bit from the same interview when Kerry was asked why we would agree to advanced enrichment 10 years from now by a country that’s sworn it’ll destroy Israel:
Though he says he is in tune with this set of Israeli fears, he does not endorse a view widely shared by Israelis—and by many Americans—that Iran’s leaders, who have often said that they seek the destruction of Israel, mean what they say. “I think they have a fundamental ideological confrontation with Israel at this particular moment. Whether or not that translates into active steps to, quote, ‘Wipe it,’ you know …” Here I interjected: “Wipe it off the map.” Kerry continued: “I don’t know the answer to that. I haven’t seen anything that says to me—they’ve got 80,000 rockets in Hezbollah pointed at Israel, and any number of choices could have been made. They didn’t make the bomb when they had enough material for 10 to 12. They’ve signed on to an agreement where they say they’ll never try and make one and we have a mechanism in place where we can prove that. So I don’t want to get locked into that debate. I think it’s a waste of time here.”
That’s some fine PR for the mullahs: They haven’t tried to destroy Israel yet, and as far as what the future holds, who knows? And yet it’s the GOP, according to this guy’s boss, that’s making common cause with Iranian lunatics, not the White House. Over to you, Michael Weiss:
Two clips for you here, one about “common cause” and the other of Obama acknowledging that, sure, some of the money Iran gets after sanctions are lifted will go towards funding terror. This too he defends as if his deal was the only possible outcome of the negotiations: Sanctions relief was always going to be part of a nuclear agreement, he notes, so if you oppose that, you oppose diplomacy altogether. That would be a fair point if the agreement had produced something more meaningful for the U.S., like a permanent end to Iranian nuclearization. If the program had been “dismantled” rather than simply slowed down for 10 years, even Netanyahu could have gone along with it; the benefit would have been worth the cost of some extra cash in Iran’s terror treasury. Instead they got the money and we got nothing more than a 10-year respite from having to decide what to do about a fanatic Shiite regime with nuclear “breakout” capacity. And you know what the weirdest part of all of this is? For all their demagoguery and desperation in pushing this deal, Obama and Kerry don’t need to sell it at all. There’s nothing the GOP can do to stop it. The purchase has already been made in Congress. Obama and Kerry are getting nasty here not because they think it’s essential to getting Democrats to buy in but because, I think, they simply resent having their diplomatic master work criticized so sharply. It’s personal.