Lucky for Obama that we don’t live in a country where voters care about foreign policy or else this might matter.
The only demographic group that supports this grand sellout is O’s own party and they’re conspicuously tepid in backing it at 46/25. Ask people whether they think it’ll make the world safer or less safe and even core Obama constituencies like young adults, blacks, and Latinos slide underwater. Turns out there are a lot of “warmongers” out there:
If the 20 percent of the public that’s undecided about whether to support or oppose the deal split at the same rate as the 80 percent that’s already formed an opinion, you’d have 69 percent opposed — a supermajority. And yet, as I write this, Senate Democrats have 31 votes in the bank in favor of the deal with two more, Joe Manchin and Richard Blumenthal, likely yeses and 11 more still undecided. Assuming Manchin and Blumenthal break their way, all they need to ensure that the GOP can’t override an Obama veto is one more vote from among those 11. They could conceivably round up 44 yays in Obama’s favor, more than enough to filibuster the GOP’s resolution of disapproval and avoid a veto entirely. We’ve gone from Obama needing to persuade two-thirds of the Senate to ratify the deal under the Treaty Clause to Republicans needing to persuade a handful of Dems to vote with them just to get their objections to Obama’s desk. I too may yet embrace the magic of Trump 2016, my friends.
But while we wait for the Donald to set things right, Jim Geraghty has an idea. Maybe it’s time to go nuclear.
A simple proposal: To stop Iran’s nukes, use our own nuclear option. Scrap the filibuster, pass a resolution declaring the Iran deal a treaty that requires Senate authorization, introduce the text of the Iran deal, and vote it down.
Remember, Democrats got rid of the filibuster for nominations in 2013, arguing that GOP obstructionism was interfering with the president’s constitutional authority to make judicial appointments. The Constitution requires Senatorial consent to treaties.
Why not? How is this in any way worse than what Republicans are doing now? Harry Reid changed the filibuster rules over Republican objections for a specific type of Senate vote, namely, confirmation of presidential appointees (except for the Supreme Court). Let’s carve out our own filibuster exception for votes seeking Senate approval of presidential agreements with foreign powers. You surely don’t think, if Hillary’s elected next year and Democrats retake the Senate, that Chuck Schumer would stand by and let the GOP minority filibuster some major agreement negotiated by President Hillary, do you? We spent weeks in 2013 listening to the liberal commentariat applaud Reid for yanking away the obstructionist GOP’s procedural trump card, something the left disdained at the time as an extra-constitutional aberration. That same extra-constitutional aberration is being used today by their party to undermine the Treaty Clause. Take it away. Their squealing will be like music.
The question is, what do you do once the filibuster’s been nuked? If the GOP decides to pass a resolution declaring the Iran deal a treaty that requires two-thirds of the Senate to approve it, Obama will veto that resolution. That shouldn’t matter — since when is Article II contingent upon the president’s assent? — but you’re looking at a court battle at least, and the public will be bewildered after weeks of “does Obama have the Senate votes to protect his Iran deal?” headlines suddenly switch to “GOP changes rules on voting to block Iran deal.” They should have pounded the table about the treaty requirements from the beginning. Since they didn’t, though, maybe Geraghty’s plan could operate as a compromise solution, one that wouldn’t stop the deal but might embarrass Obama. If they nuked the filibuster, they’d at least get their resolution of disapproval to Obama’s desk, something Democrats are nervous about right now because of the message of no confidence it would send internationally in Obama generally and the Iran deal specifically. Iran may lose confidence that the deal will survive and look to back out. At a bare minimum, forcing a veto would be a political humiliation and a way for Republicans to wash their hands publicly of the outcome of this charade once it’s implemented. It’s a way to lay the whole thing in Obama’s lap. Having squandered all of their leverage, it’s probably the best play Republicans have left.