Maybe she … read the agreement. Remember, she qualified her praise earlier today by noting her comments were “based on what I know now, and I will be being briefed as soon as I finish addressing you.”
“We’re not totally clear if Secretary Clinton supports the Iran deal as it’s written,” I said. “Is it right that she supports the deal, or enforcement of the deal?”…
I asked if Clinton was somewhere on a spectrum between support and opposition of the deal.
[Clinton spokesman Jesse] Ferguson laughed.
“It’s right to say that of pretty much everybody, I would hope, right?” he said. “Like everybody lives somewhere between support and opposition.”
“It’s right to say exactly what she said,” Ferguson continued. “She thinks it’s a really good first step, she thinks it has the potential to put a lid on nuclear proliferation, it does a lot of good things. But, you know, at the same time, she also is going to read it.”
Said Jake Tapper in response to that boldfaced line, “Some have timeshares there,” which is as nasty a burn on Hillary’s political weathervaning as you’re likely to see from a major reporter during this campaign. As for her emerging position on the deal, watch below and you’ll see that MSNBC caught her leaving her briefing and asked her again what she thinks of the terms. No endorsement this time. How come?
Realistically, she has little choice but to defend this nightmare to the bitter end. The negotiation process began with her own State Department; Republicans will rip the agreement endlessly, forcing her to make the left happy by defending Obama; and if the deal somehow goes bad, she’ll be forced to answer for it anyway as the Democratic nominee (and former top U.S. diplomat) no matter how nuanced her support for it is. Plus, there are Democrats in Congress right now who are weathervaning on this issue themselves and will be looking to see how the new leader of the party handles it. If she runs too far away from it, there’s a (very slim) chance that enough Senate Dems will join with the GOP to block the deal, a devastating humiliation for Obama and a political wound to liberals that might not heal in time for election day. She’s stuck with this sellout, like it or not. The only reason I can think of for why she’d hedge at all is because she thinks there’s a fair chance that Iran will get caught cheating before next November. If that happens, the GOP will destroy her with attack ads accusing her of being just as blind to threats to the United States as the sucker-in-chief is. That’s why she larded up her remarks this morning with verbiage about enforcing the deal “vigorously, relentlessly.” If Obama ends up being pantsed by Iran, then she’ll run away from him while pointing back to today’s statement as proof that she warned everyone about the need for strict policing of the deal all along.
Actually, I can think of another reason why she might hedge. Maybe she has her ear to the ground and hears that there’s a revolt against the deal brewing in Congress among Democrats. That’s unlikely, but if, say, a pro-Israel Democrat like Chuck Schumer decides he can’t support an agreement this one-sided, that’ll make the final Senate vote mighty interesting. The only outcome for Hillary that’s arguably worse than backing the deal only to have Iran cheat on it is for backing the deal and then having her would-be congressional caucus laugh in her face by opposing it anyway. If there’s a “no confidence” vote from Obama’s own party on the horizon, she’ll want to be in another time zone lest it be seen as a vote of “no confidence” in her own foreign policy acumen. Could be that she’s going to play it safe over the next two months, before Congress votes, with cautious *I like the deal but have grave concerns” blather. Like Tapper said, she has a timeshare on the middle ground in the support/opposition spectrum. Might as well make use of it.