By which he means it’ll be terrible in practice, enacted though dubious procedures, and defended by liberals unto eternity because protecting Obama’s legacy requires them to keep his biggest turds polished to a glossy sheen.
At least we know what the next year of posts at Vox will look like. Matt Continetti:
I am going to express fear. Fear that the chances of some sort of dangerous and misguided détente with Iran are high, and that they increase if Republicans capture the Senate and improve their majority in the House. Fear that the worse things get for Obama at home, the better the odds that he will hand the keys of the Middle East to Ayatollah Khamenei.
Fear that Obama sees an Iran deal not just as health care reform for the second term, but as his version of George W. Bush’s surge: a Hail Mary pass thrown in the fourth quarter in a long-shot attempt to salvage a legacy…
Iran is Obama’s Iraq. It occupies the same place in the thinking of his administration that Iraq held in his predecessor’s. The desire for détente with Iran, for comity and diplomatic accord between longtime enemies, for a new Middle East in which security is left to regional stakeholders, and Shiite and Sunni alike see the United States as “evenhanded” in its treatment of Israelis and Palestinians, holds immense sway over the alliance of progressives and realists that conduct American foreign policy. It has for a decade.
The points about securing a legacy and reshaping the Middle East with a single bold flourish are true. So is the idea that both the surge and a nuke deal were/are desperation moves aimed at curing a long stretch of American ineffectiveness with one master stroke. The key difference, obviously, is the faith each man put in his enemy’s willingness to follow international rules. Bush bet that Saddam couldn’t be trusted long-term not to play with nukes; he had to be removed. Obama’s betting that Khamenei can be trusted — for the next two years, at least, after which O will be out of office and making sure that Iran sticks to its agreement will be someone else’s problem. That difference stems from the point Steve Hayes makes in the clip below, which is elementary to anyone who’s followed the saga of Iran nuke negotiations: The top priority for Obama and the EU isn’t disarming Iran, it’s finding a way to avoid war. Bush’s priorities with Saddam were the opposite.
The best argument in O’s defense to all this is that, by the time he took office, there was no realistic military option to solve America’s Iran problem the way there was to solve the west’s Saddam problem, first with the IDF’s Osirak raid and later with the two Iraq wars. No one, including the GOP’s hawkiest hawks, thinks a war to oust Iran’s regime is in the offing, and many experts have scoffed for years at the possibility of doing significant, irreversible damage to Iran’s enrichment facilities from the air when they’re already so far along. And if there was a window to smash Iran’s program with airstrikes, that window is now closed — thanks to Barack Obama, by his own team’s admission.
Exit question: Isn’t amnesty supposed to be the ObamaCare of O’s second term? I’m imagining Luis Gutierrez listening to this Rhodes audio and thinking “not again.”