In honor of the “final” deadline for a deal being moved yet again, some nice work by David Rutz and the Free Beacon on the long, slow lowering of standards by the White House on what this Iranian nuclear kabuki is supposed to accomplish. I’d quibble with whether a few of these are true reversals — e.g., Obama saying all options are on the table isn’t inconsistent with saying that a U.S. attack wouldn’t eliminate Iran’s program — but there’s enough slipperiness on key points to discourage even a Democrat.

And not just any Democrat either. The number two man in the House caucus sounds like he’s ready to abandon ship:

Thanks to Bob Corker’s sellout in the Senate, Obama needs just 34 Democrats in the upper chamber to block Congress from rejecting the deal once it’s signed. That’s as close to a sure thing as there is in politics — and yet, apparently, the White House is already reaching out to lefty groups to ask them to whip support for the (as yet unfinalized) agreement. There’s something for the Obama/Kerry “legacy” file: Needing just a third of the Senate to protect their historic deal, they’re taking no chances in putting left-wing pressure on Democrats to hold together.

Meanwhile, WaPo’s had a visit from the Ghost of Nuclear Future. Iran was supposed to convert some of its enriched uranium into a particular oxide powder. They ended up converting it into a different oxide powder. Is that a breach? Not according to the White House.

Rather than publicly report this departure from the accord, the Obama administration chose to quietly accept it. When a respected independent think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, began pointing out the problem, the administration’s response was to rush to Iran’s defense — and heatedly attack the institute as well as a report in the New York Times.

This points to two dangers in the implementation of any longterm deal. One is “a U.S. willingness to legally reinterpret the deal when Iran cannot do what it said it would do, in order to justify that non-performance,” institute President David Albright and his colleague Andrea Stricker wrote. In other words, overlooking Iranian cheating is easier than confronting it.

This weakness is matched by a White House proclivity to respond to questions about Iran’s performance by attacking those who raise them. Mr. Albright, a physicist with a long record of providing non-partisan expert analysis of nuclear proliferation issues, said on the Foreign Policy Web site that he had been unfairly labeled as an adversary of the Iran deal and that campaign-style “war room” tactics are being used by the White House to fend off legitimate questions.

And that’s how it’ll be for the next 18 months. The more Obama invests politically in this deal, the more ferociously his deputies will defend it, up to and including looking the other way at actual breaches. Makes me wonder just how egregiously flagrant a violation would have to be once the deal is signed for the White House to very reluctantly decide it needs to object publicly. That’s going to be Netanyahu’s revenge on O, I think — if Iran so much as farts in violation of the deal, Israeli intelligence will make sure western media knows about it. If Obama’s going to position himself as Iran’s lawyer, they’ll give him lots of practice in the role.