How Obama made the Democrats vote for nuclear war 4

How hugely important the “deal” with Iran is to President Obama is plain to see in this story of his passionate struggle to finesse the Senate’s “approval” of his empowerment of Iran.

A huge majority of Americans do not want the “deal”. But that is no matter to Obama. It is not what Americans want that concern him, it’s what he wants. He wants Iran to be a nuclear power. Why? What other answer can there be but that he deeply desires the elimination of Israel and the harm and disgrace of America?

CNN reports:

It was late July …

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, was widely expected to announce his opposition to the Iran deal – and dozens of other House and Senate Democrats were threatening to revolt against the nuclear agreement and deliver President Barack Obama a devastating blow on the international stage. But weeks before it would become public, the White House won a critical assurance that would dramatically change the outlook in Congress: Sen. Harry Reid would support it.

No surprise there.

In a private call, the Senate Democratic leader secretly assured Secretary of State John Kerry that he would back the deal, though he would keep quiet about it publicly, Democratic sources said. He promised to help deliver critical information about which Democrats to target – but Reid himself needed to let about a dozen friends, supporters and donors who were sharply critical of the deal know why he was backing it before his position became public.

What ensued was perhaps the most aggressive and coordinated lobbying drive ever to take shape between congressional Democratic leaders and the Obama White House – which have frequently been at odds over strategy and tactics. It was a strategy that focused exclusively on House and Senate Democrats, ignoring Republicans altogether. And it underscored how sensitive the deal was to a number of Democrats, who feared a sharp backlash from pro-Israel voters and their Republican foes.

The Democrats succeeded largely because the lobbying effort to back the deal was far more targeted and relentless than the public push and advertising campaigns aimed at scuttling it, according to lawmakers in both parties. For a president often criticized for being detached from Congress, Obama aggressively used his bully pulpit to win over his party, contacting 125 Democratic House members and senators since July, many of them repeatedly, according to Democratic sources.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the GOP chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an opponent of the deal, said his Democratic friends reported to him that the White House was “breaking arms and legs” to prevent Congress from voting down the deal.

And it worked, culminating in a victory where Senate Democrats filibustered a resolution to reject the deal and House Democrats secured enough support to sustain a veto, handing Obama the most far-reaching international achievement of his presidency.

To quell a Democratic uprising, the White House, Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi traded key intelligence about uneasy Democrats, dispatching powerful Cabinet officials to lock down support. Over the August recess, Pelosi gave the White House 57 names of House Democrats who were wobbly on the Iran pact; Obama called all of them, including 30 calls to Democratic lawmakers in between rounds of golf during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, according to Democratic sources.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin called almost everyone in his 46-member caucus, interrupting a family vacation in Oregon to lobby skittish Democrats. On a jaunt to Florida last week where he talked about his presidential ambitions, Vice President Joe Biden made a side trip to help woo and eventually win over Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, an influential Jewish Democrat who was facing fierce protests, including from some activists who charged that she should “go to the oven,” a reference to the Holocaust.

American Jews who continue idiotically to vote Democratic have become outright enemies not only of Israel but of the survival of Western civilization.  

Senior administration officials made 250 calls to House members and senators, sources said. That includes Jack Lew, the Treasury secretary and an Orthodox Jew, who was dispatched to help alleviate concerns of Jewish lawmakers, and Kerry, a former senator who relied on his longstanding Hill connections to push his party to back the deal.

Yet it was Ernest Moniz, the Department of Energy secretary and a nuclear physicist, who became the most prolific and effective surrogate, lawmakers said.

Moniz headed to the Detroit area to win over Michigan Sen. Gary Peters this summer. After pro-Israel forces were ratcheting up opposition in Montana, Moniz laid out his views to a local newspaper to help ensure Sen. Jon Tester didn’t defect. And he called into a North Dakota radio show to help give political cover to Heidi Heitkamp, the state’s centrist Democratic senator.

Moniz was so influential that the final Democrat who announced her support – Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell – waited to return to Washington to meet with him to let him reassure her about the capability of inspectors to continue to detect nuclear activity in the country. He told them all that the deal cut off Iran’s pathways to building a nuclear bomb.

Reid later privately mused about the possibility of nominating Moniz for the Nobel Peace Prize, according to an aide familiar with the matter.

Moniz was lying, of course. And couldn’t  Maria Cantwell read the deal herself, and consider what the result of a nuclear-armed Iran will be; and note the numerous reports of the “secret” side-deal between Iran and the IAEA which allows the ever cheating, lying Iranian regime to “inspect” itself?

What helped Obama and supporters was the fact that the congressional review law only required the White House to prevent a veto-proof, two-thirds majority from forming in each chamber. With 46 Senate Democrats and 188 House Democrats, that meant limiting defections to fewer than 13 in the Senate and 42 in the House. On Thursday, just four Democrats voted to break a filibuster in the Senate on a motion to disapprove of the Iran deal, keeping the accord alive, with Pelosi’s office announcing it had enough support to sustain a potential veto.

Given the more progressive bent in the House Democratic Caucus, the White House always viewed the House as its firewall – and spent ample resources and time to ensure that the dam didn’t break.

Bit of a mixed metaphor there, but we get the point. So how did he do it?

He used the dim but astoundingly lucky Nancy Pelosi …

Soon after the deal was announced in July, Pelosi announced her backing and worked furiously with the White House to keep Democrats in line. Through August, aides said, Pelosi was on the phone during trips across the country, including in Napa Valley, California, and New Orleans at an event recognizing the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, speaking to every member of her caucus – including some repeatedly.

Democrats still raised major concerns – namely over how Iranian nuclear sites could be inspected, how other countries would react if the U.S. walked away from the deal and whether rolling back sanctions against Iran would empower the country and threaten Israel.

When questions were raised, relevant Cabinet members would try to iron out those concerns. And when the pressure from the President was needed, he would intensify his lobbying.

Pelosi said Thursday that Obama knew the agreement so well he could teach a “masters class” on the topic.

She relied heavily on the President and his team to deliver the key votes. Soon after the deal was announced, Biden traveled to the House Democratic Caucus to lobby his party behind it, followed by visits from Moniz and Kerry. Then the White House focused heavily on small groups, dispatching Wendy Sherman, an under secretary of state, to brief the Congressional Black Caucus in late July.

Right before the August recess, with fears that angry town hall meetings in members’ home states could shift the debate, Obama spent more than two hours in the White House’s Blue Room with two dozen House Democrats, answering questions from skeptical members. In a meeting with 12 House Democrats in late July who were leaning against the plan, Obama convinced half of them to support it, aides said.

“This agreement is not perfect,” Pelosi said Thursday. “But I never have seen a perfect anything.”

Despite losing the support of Schumer, an influential Jewish Democrat who represents a staunchly pro-Israel constituency in New York, Democrats in the Senate were not too concerned it would have a broader impact. Schumer promised not to lobby Democrats to oppose the deal — and Democratic leaders took full advantage of that.

What can one say of a man who knows something is terribly dangerous and wrong, will vote against it, but solemnly undertakes not to tell others how dangerous and wrong it is?

As Reid and senior White House aides were coordinating on strategy, Durbin was calling members of his caucus on his family trip to Oregon in August.

“Wherever we are, we have to do our work – and he was on the phone with me and others the entire time,” Reid said Thursday as Durbin stood next to him.

Throughout the recess, a number of Democrats who supported the deal ended up meeting with fierce opponents in order to explain their line of thinking.

Now comes a particularly sickening part:

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, ended up meeting with Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in Miami. He talked with officials from the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, including Holocaust survivors.

“It was one of the most respectful, friendly meetings,” Nelson said.

No anger then? No desperation? No terror? Wow!

Some resisted the White House’s help in order to show their independence from a President who senators said often expressed how important the deal was to him personally.

“I never talked to the President,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. “I got one call from (national security adviser) Susan Rice. I told them, ‘I don’t want any calls from the administration, so leave me alone.'”

Wonderful! So there was one person who judged the issue for herself?

No.

McCaskill said she eventually backed the deal after consulting with ambassadors of Asian countries over what they would do with Iranian money they were holding if the United States walked away from the agreement.

“Suffice it to say, I am for the agreement,” she said.

Others received attention from the President, among them Peters, the Michigan Democrat, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who faces a potentially tough re-election next year.

After taking an official trip to the Middle East, Peters invited Moniz to spend time in Detroit answering questions from skeptical voters. He also spoke to Obama twice on the phone, in addition to an Oval Office meeting.

“I still have a lot of concerns,” Peters said Wednesday, though he’s backing the deal because he believes there are no better options.

No better options than to guarantee that Iran will become a nuclear power?

There are a few Democrats who understand what’s at stake:

Privately, Reid worked to ensure that Democrats would be prepared to filibuster the deal – something that infuriated Republicans who wanted a straight-up-or-down vote so Obama would be forced to veto the resolution of disapproval. But at a private lunch Wednesday, Reid convinced his party to join in the filibuster, even as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez pushed back on that strategy.

Menendez demonstrated that Obama couldn’t win over all of his party. Like Menendez and Schumer, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, opposed the deal. And Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who rarely speaks to the President, announced his opposition after he heard strong criticism at town hall meetings in his state.

The evening before Manchin announced his opposition this week, the President called up the conservative Democrat to get him to flip. Manchin, at home on his boat parked at National Harbor in Maryland, wouldn’t budge.

“He made his pitch, and I respect that,” Manchin said. “I think he knew that I was in a different place.”

“It’s a no-brainer for him,” he continued. “I said, ‘Mr. President, I understand that’.”

In the end, it wouldn’t matter. Republicans fell two senators shy Thursday of breaking a Democratic filibuster, which kept the Iran deal from even coming up for a vote.

How much effort did Republican leaders put in to get the deal voted down? How much has Obama been helped by the slackness, or naivety, or stupidity, or indifference, or secret sympathy of leading Republicans, who could have prevented the victory the Islam-loving president has scored today?

At least the names of those American politicians who voted for this baleful deal, struck by a treacherous US president with an evil Islamic regime, are on record. Their names will be forever attached to the calamity that will ensue.

Almost equally culpable are those who have failed to prevent it, and their names are on it too.

Step-by-step the US retreats and Iran advances 2

Yet another “deadline” for the concluding of a deal with Iran passes today, so a new “deadline” will be set, and that one too will pass, and so another …

Or if a deal is made –

The impending deal is an embarrassment: the world’s greatest power prostrate before the world’s most patently expansionist, terror-sponsoring, anti-American theocracy.

So Stephen Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard.

He’s right, of course. It is an embarrassment. But what matters a lot more is that it will be a catastrophe. A huge unprecedented historic catastrophe.

It will ensure that Iran has nuclear weapons and that none of the major powers will do a thing about it.

The article goes on:

One week before the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a series of demands about the final terms. Among them: He called for an immediate end to all United Nations Security Council and U.S. economic sanctions on Iran; he said Iranian military sites would not be subject to international inspections; he declared that Iran would not abide a long-term freeze on nuclear research; and he ruled out interviews with individuals associated with Iran’s nuclear program as part of any enforcement plan.

The New York Times headline read “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, Seems to Pull Back on Nuclear Talks.” That’s one explanation. The more likely one: Khamenei understands that Barack Obama is desperate for this deal and will agree to just about anything to make it a reality. In private remarks caught on tape, top White House foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes likened the Iran deal to Obamacare in its importance to the administration. And on April 2, the president held a press conference to celebrate the preliminary “historic understanding with Iran” that, he said, was “a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.”

But the impending deal is not a good one. It legitimizes a rogue state, shifts regional power to the world’s most aggressive state sponsor of terror, strengthens the mullahs’ hold on power, and guides Iran to nuclear threshold status. Those are not our “core objectives.” They are Iran’s.

A steady stream of news reports in the weeks before the deadline has brought into sharp focus the extent of the administration’s capitulation. Among the most disturbing new developments: the administration’s decision to offer relief on sanctions not directly related to Iran’s nuclear program and its abandonment of hard requirements that Iran disclose previous nuclear activity, without which the international community cannot establish a baseline for future inspections.

From the beginning of the talks, the Obama administration has chosen to “decouple” negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program from the many other troubling aspects of Tehran’s behavior. It was a bit of self-deception that allowed the United States and its negotiating partners to pretend that concerns about the Iranian regime’s possessing nuclear weapons had everything to do with nuclear weapons and nothing at all to do with the nature of the Iranian regime; it was an approach that treated Iran as if it were, say, Luxembourg. The Obama administration simply set aside Iran’s targeting of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, its brutal repression of internal dissent, its provision of safe haven and operational freedom for al Qaeda leadership, and its support for terrorists sowing discord throughout the region and beyond.

Now we learn that the administration is effectively ending this decision to “decouple” nuclear talks from broader regime behavior, not in order to hold Iran to account for its many offenses but as something of a reward for its supporting a nuclear deal. It is a swift and stunning reversal. …

Likewise, the U.S. capitulation on Iranian disclosure of previous nuclear activity is both hasty and alarming. As recently as April, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Iranian disclosure of past activity was a red line for U.S. negotiators. “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.” But on June 16, Kerry cast aside those demands. “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

We can’t yet know all the concessions the United States has made in order to secure a deal, but the list of those that are known is long and embarrassing.

Iran has conceded and will concede nothing. The US administration concedes everything. 

On decoupling nuclear negotiations and sanctions relief on nonnuclear items

Then: “We have made very clear that the nuclear negotiations are focused exclusively on the nuclear issue and do not include discussions of regional issues.”

March 10, 2015, Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokesman,
email to
 The Weekly Standard

“Other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.”

April 2, 2015, Barack Obama, statement in the Rose Garden

“Iran knows that our array of sanctions focused on its efforts to support terrorism and destabilize the region will continue after any nuclear agreement.”

June 7, 2015, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, remarks to Jerusalem Post conference, New York City

Now: “Administration officials say they’re examining a range of options that include suspending both nuclear and some non-nuclear sanctions.”

June 9, 2015, Associated Press

On the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and disclosure of past activities

Then: “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. .  .  . It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.”

April 8, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry interview with The NewsHour

“The set of understandings also includes an acknowledgment by Iran that it must address all United Nations Security Council resolutions—which Iran has long claimed are illegal—as well as past and present issues with Iran’s nuclear program that have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin.”

November 23, 2013, White House fact sheet, First Step: Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program

Now: “World powers are prepared to accept a nuclear agreement with Iran that doesn’t immediately answer questions about past atomic weapons work. .  .  . Instead of resolving such questions this month, officials said the U.S. and its negotiating partners are working on a list of future commitments Iran must fulfill.”

June 11, 2015, Associated Press

“We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

June 24, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry, remarks at a press availability

On shuttering the secret nuclear facility at Fordo

Then: The Obama administration and its partners are “demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling” of the nuclear facilities at Fordo.

April 7, 2012, New York Times

“We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.”

December 6, 2013, Barack Obama, remarks at the Saban Forum

Now: “Under the preliminary accord, Fordo would become a research center, but not for any element that could potentially be used in nuclear weapons.”

April 22, 2015, New York Times

“The 1044 centrifuges [at Fordo] designated only for non-nuclear enrichment will remain installed, so they could potentially be reconverted to enriching uranium in a short time regardless of technical or monitoring arrangements.”

June 17, 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Olli Heinonen, former IAEA deputy director-general for safeguards, and Simon Henderson, director
of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at WINEP 

A draft copy of the final agreement allows Fordo to remain open, “saying it will be used for isotope production instead of uranium enrichment.”

June 24, 2015, Associated Press

On suspension of enrichment

Then: “Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

April 7, 2012, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, New York Times

Now: “Agreement on Iran’s uranium enrichment program could signal a breakthrough for a larger deal aimed at containing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities.” The tentative deal imposes “limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium” but allows Iran to continue enrichment.

March 19, 2015, Associated Press

On ballistic missile development

Then: Iran’s ballistic missile program “is indeed-something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”

February 4, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program that are included in the United Nations Security Council resolution that is part of, explicitly, according to the Joint Plan of Action, the comprehensive resolution negotiation.”

February 18, 2014, White House spokesman Jay Carney, White House press briefing

Now: “We must address long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. So, it’s not about ballistic missiles per se. It’s about when a missile is combined with a nuclear warhead.”

July 29, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman,  testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

These specific concessions matter. So do the ones we’ll learn about in coming days. Together they make the path to an Iranian nuclear weapon easier and the prospect of preventing one ever more remote.

But we don’t have to wait until Iran’s first nuclear test to see the damage done by the negotiations. Last week, the New York Times reported that the administration resisted confronting China on its authorship of the hacking of sensitive U.S. personnel information partly out of concern about China’s role as a negotiating partner on the Iran deal.

No doubt the Iran negotiations contributed to Obama’s reluctance to confront Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. And to Obama’s tacit acceptance of continued Iranian support for the Taliban and al Qaeda; his passivity as he watched the unfolding slaughter in Syria; his acquiescence in [Iran’s] expansive role in Syria, Iraq, and beyond; and his refusal to provide arms directly to the Kurds and to the Sunnis. 

Obama is begging Iran to sign a deal. He is paying Iran to sign a deal. He is holding Secretary of State John Kerry’s nose to the conference table until Iran signs a deal. Any deal. At any cost.

What will the representatives of the American people in Congress do about it?