Obama on nuke deal: I stand by my comparison of Republicans to Iranian hardliners

As a young Barack Obama once said at the 2004 Democratic convention: There are no “blue states” and “red states,” there are only blue states and states that make “common cause” with anti-American fanatics.

The White House should pick a smear and settle on it. Are critics of his terrible nuclear deal warmongering nutcases like the worst elements in Iran or are they treacherous Jews secretly loyal to Israel?

“What I said is absolutely true factually. The truth of the matter is, inside of Iran, the people most opposed to the deal are the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds force, hard-liners who are implacably opposed to any cooperation with the international community,” Obama said in an interview that will air on “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday. “The reason that Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the folks in his caucus who opposed this, jumped out and opposed this before they even read it, before it was even posted, is reflective of an ideological commitment not to get a deal done. In that sense they do have much more in common with the hardliners who are much more satisfied with the status quo.” 

Republicans dislike the deal because it does too little to prevent an Iranian bomb, the Quds Force dislikes it because they think it does too much, and Obama’s conclusion from that is, “See? They both dislike it.” This is a revealing paragraph, though, insofar as it shows what his true goal in all of this was. Why Republicans oppose the final agreement, and in some cases have opposed the entire negotiation process, is irrelevant to him. Some GOP hawks think that the deal’s a sellout because it’ll shrink Iran’s “breakout” capacity to nothing within 10 years; others refuse to make deals with a terrorist state with American blood on its hand on principle, accepting nothing short of regime change instead. Others might have opposed the deal from the outset either because they thought — correctly — that Obama’s a weak negotiator who’d get rolled or because Obama himself abandoned the ostensible goal of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program long ago for the lesser goal of merely extending the “breakout” period. All of this is beside the point for O, partly because he’s a partisan and partisans view their opponents’ motives in the simplest, most self-serving terms and partly because “getting a deal done” was itself the supreme goal of this process for him, far beyond the consequences for Iran’s nuclear program. I’m a broken record on this subject but I’ll say it again: The point of negotiating with Iran wasn’t to prevent an Iranian bomb, it was to prevent potential war between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program. Now that there’s a written agreement in place with lots of bells and whistles about inspections and international dispute resolution mechanisms, the pressure is off Obama to do something militarily before he leaves office to stop Iran’s nuclear advances. He’s stopped them by diplomacy — for 10 years, at which point it’ll be full speed ahead again at a breakneck pace, but at least he won’t be the one in office forced to clean up that mess. What you’re seeing in this answer is Obama at his insufferable worst as Captain Reasonable, the man with a strong “ideological commitment” of his own to “dialogue” and getting a deal done at any cost even if it means gifting an expansionist Islamist regime with an atomic bomb who nonetheless feels entitled to sniff at his opponents’ petty ideological obstructionism.

Oh, by the way, in case you’re under the media-created mistaken impression that Chuck Schumer’s opposition to Obama’s Iran deal means anything apart from “Democrats are conflicted about this unpopular deal!” kabuki, Claire McCaskill assured America this weekend that Schumer’s opinion won’t stop the rest of the party from falling in line for Obama. The deal will pass thanks to Schumer’s timidity and, of course, the Senate GOP’s treachery, led by a guy who wants you to believe that he’s really quite angry about what the U.S. has agreed to here.