By Christopher Chantrill
I guess that I’m too old to understand the modern world. I would have thought that for the White House to set the lefty dogs on Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for opposing the president’s Iran deal would be a bad idea. I would have thought that Sen. Schumer was powerful enough that nobody, not the president nor the lefty AstroTurfers, gets to mess with him.
But what do I know? The Hill reports that “Credo [Action], MoveOn.org and Democracy for America are rallying supporters to flood congressional mailboxes and town halls over the course of the next month to demand lawmakers support the agreement.” And there’s more:
Activists and former top officials within the Obama administration are openly contemplating whether Schumer’s stance disqualifies him from serving as the next Senate Democratic leader — which he is primed to do — and seeking to temporarily cut off money to Democrats in the upper chamber.
I guess I’m old fashioned, but I thought that the august United States Senators themselves — bedight with freshly laundered white togas — were the guys that got to elect their leaders. I had no idea, no idea, that activist groups, contributors, bundlers, and White House staffers got in on the action too.
Maybe I just don’t get how non-treaty treaties work in the white hot crucible of the modern age. I thought, after reading about the debacle of President Woodrow Wilson and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and the Treaty of Versailles nearly a century ago, that modern presidents understood that you don’t go off negotiating treaties without keeping the United States Senate in the loop. I thought that modern presidents understood that the amour-propre of top senators requires that they be individually stroked by the president when big international negotiations are afoot. I thought that when the president starts dissing a prominent United States senator then it is not the senator that has a problem, but the president.
But maybe the chaps in the White House know better than me. Hey, maybe they have the goods on Senator Schumer, and can take him out to the woodshed for a little Murdstone-style firmness.
But more likely the White House crew has totally misjudged the Iran deal and the reaction of the American people and is reduced to putting a little stick about in the vain hope that intimidation can get the non-treaty treaty over the line. The reality remains that there was wisdom in the Founders’ idea that a treaty negotiated by the president needed a two-thirds vote in the Senate, because consensus.
Maybe there was wisdom also in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s dictum that when you pass a landmark piece of legislation like ObamaCare you need a 70-30 vote in the Senate, because consensus.
Maybe there is wisdom in the idea that the Environmental Protection Agency should not have the power to regulate coal power plants out of existence, because that is Congress’s job.
Maybe if you don’t observe the niceties you end up with the president’s whole agenda burning up like straw on January 20, 2017.
Starting with the Clinton impeachment and MoveOn.org and then with the Netroots movement in the 2000s, Democrats have come to believe that take-no-prisoners activism really helps them set the agenda and win political fights. Hey, it worked with George W. Bush!
Then we elected a president marinated in left-wing culture by his mother and Frank Marshall Davis and a sojourn in Chicago with a gaggle of red-diaper babies like Axelrod, Jarrett & Co., and the only thing those people know is activism and intimidation.
But I think it will all turn out to be a strategic mistake.
Activism and intimidation and in-your-face-ism is one thing when you are dissidents and activists fighting the system. Then you can plausibly argue that you are Davids fighting Goliath, even if you get tons of money from lefty billionaires.
But when you are the government then your activists and intimidators become regime street thugs. That goes for Credo Action, MoveOn.org, and all the 60-odd progressive organizations directly funded by George Soros. These are no longer the halcyon days of the mid-2000s when progressives were battling against the evil forces of George W. Bush. These days the progressives are the government. So when they use intimidation tactics — on a United States senator no less — they are acting like the street thugs of a South American thug dictator.
People don’t like government bullies. They think: If the Obama administration can bully Tea Party groups, or go after a powerful United States Senator like this, who will they bully and intimidate next? What happens when those thugs turn on me?
That’s what these progressives don’t understand. And that ignorance is what is going to cost them the White House in 2017, and very likely more.
By Christopher Chantrill for American Thinker
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