By Lee Smith
Recently the White House puffed its feathers when Barbara Mikulski became the 34th Democratic senator to come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran. Mikulski’s support ensures enough votes in Obama’s pocket to sustain a presidential veto on a resolution of disapproval, but it’s still not clear why the administration is celebrating. A majority of senators and congressmen oppose Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative. So does most of the American public, by a two-to-one ratio according to a new poll released last week. In other words, the administration may have won this round, but the fight over the Iran deal isn’t over.
The other critical actor is the White House’s negotiating partner in Tehran. The clerical regime looks at the American political landscape and sees that it is operating in a protected environment that may change very quickly when a new administration comes to the White House in 16 months. Unlike the Obama White House, the Islamic Republic understands that the fight over its nuclear weapons program will continue.
In the negotiations, the White House played the role of Iran’s lawyer, defending and supporting Tehran’s demands when France and other EU partners demurred. In Washington, the White House attacked recalcitrant members of the president’s own party, like Senators Robert Menendez and Charles Schumer, who opposed the Iran deal. They were beholden to donors and moneyed interests, said the administration.
Anyone who was against the deal was putting America on a course to war, according to the president. Obama thus signaled to the Iranians that military force was not an option. He wasn’t going to hurt them. Really, they should trust him—he had shown them how roughly he treated allies, foreign and domestic, who tried to get in the way of their new relationship. (my emphasis)
READ all of Lee Smith’s comments from the Weekly Standard here.