Friday, April 17, 2015

Posturing on Iran

The reaction from Republicans and some pundits to the fact that President Obama is likely to sign a bill that allows Congress to weigh in on a final deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries has been a bit amusing to watch.

For example, Sen. Corker - chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - wanted to make sure that everyone knew that neither the President nor any of his staff had been consulted.
“By the way, I know they’ve made comments that somehow they have been working with me,” he said. “I can tell you nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve had no conversations about the substance of this bill with any principal, whether it be the president, Secretary Kerry or others.”
Heaven forbid that anyone would think that Republicans would work with the President on a piece of legislation! Remember this one next time someone (cough - Ron Fournier - cough) does their pearl-clutching about how "both sides are to blame" for the gridlock in Washington.

And then there are the pundits like Peter Baker, who's latest article opens with this:
In his assertions of executive power to advance his agenda in an era of gridlock, President Obama has been largely on offense. But his latest battle with Congress not only left him on defense, it actually broke the gridlock. Against him.

Mr. Obama’s abrupt decision to sign a compromise version of legislation on Iran that he had previously vowed to veto was a bruising retreat in his larger campaign to act without Congress’s getting in his way.
I suspect that folks like Baker don't realize that the very reason why most Americans hate politics is because this is how it is so often framed: offense/defense, win/lose. It's all a game.

If you actually read through Baker's whole article, you will find that his conclusion seems at odds with his own opening statement. He ends by quoting Harold Hongju Koh, a former top lawyer in the State Department, who says that President Obama made lemonade out of lemons. Doesn't sound much like a "bruising retreat" after all, does it?

Imagine with me for a moment if, instead of this kind of nonsense, we were hearing that the legislative and executive branches of our government had come up with a compromise that respected the role of Congress, but didn't put the negotiations with Iran at risk.

Nah...nobody wants to hear good news like that, do they?


  1. They were in desperate need of a victory, any victory, so of course they're going to frame this as beating up on the President. He didn't put his tail between his legs after the mid-terms and they've been flailing in Congress, like you've pointed out here before. I say we let them have their day. The President will get what he wants in the end. By that time they'll have taken their victory lap and moved on to their next outrage.

  2. It's interesting because legal experts actually see this as a big win for the President:


    ^Between this & the connection between Clinton/Schumer/Bibi; read between the lines.