Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Vox's Max Fisher describes the new House Republican plan on Iran:
So now the new hotness among Republicans is that they shouldn't bother voting to disapprove of the Iran nuclear deal, and instead should vote for a resolution that, according to Politico's Jake Sherman, "would delay a disapproval vote because they believe Obama has not disclosed some elements of the deal." ....

Republicans, in this new plan, would argue that President Obama didn't live up to his promise to fully inform Congress about the Iran nuclear deal, so therefore Congress cannot vote on whether to approve the deal....

Republicans' argument is basically this: President Obama promised to send Congress the full text of the Iran nuclear once it was reached (true), after which Congress has 60 days to review before voting on whether to disapprove of the deal (true), but Obama did not technically complete his end of the bargain (false) because he did not send Congress the text of the "secret side deal" with Iran (complicated; see below). Therefore the 60-day congressional review never happened (false), thus the deal is illegitimate (false).
Ahh, yes -- the "secret side deal." There's no such thing, but that fact is completely unknown to the vast majority of Americans:
The alleged "secret side deal" is an agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (the UN nuclear watchdog) and Iran over how the IAEA will conduct certain inspections and verification procedures of Iranian facilities, as well as IAEA investigations into past elements of Iran's nuclear program that may have had a military component.

The IAEA has such agreements with every country where it works, including the United States. Because the IAEA wants as much access as possible, and because countries do not necessarily want the details of their nuclear facilities broadcast to the world, the details of these agreements are typically secret. That is the case with the IAEA's agreement with Iran.
Kevin Drum writes,
It's hard to work up the energy to write about this stuff seriously. It just doesn't deserve it. It's transparent political theater designed to feed the outrage machine....
But it's not transparent -- maybe it's transparent to politically informed people, but not to the rest of America, including Americans who, months ago, told pollsters they were in favor of an Iran deal. To them, it's believable -- which is part of the reason that, even as senators get on board to ensure that the deal survives, public support for it is plummeting. This is from Pew:
As Congress prepares to vote on the Iran nuclear agreement, public support for the deal has declined. Currently, just 21% approve of the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program reached between the United States, Iran and other nations. Nearly half (49%) disapprove of the agreement, while three-in-ten (30%) offer no opinion.

The "side deal" meme has been spreading since at least mid-July. The administration response could have been stronger:
Yet the administration’s initial response to the GOP arguments was muddled.

While State Department spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday said there were no “side deals” and that the IAEA arrangements were normal, Rice described the arrangement as an agreement between Iran and the IAEA.

She hastened to add that the deals were not secret, that the administration new their contents and were “satisfied” with them. She also pledged administration officials would hold classified briefings for lawmakers on the details.
There were a couple of tweets:
The White House also took to Twitter to rebut GOP claims.

“There's no ‘secret’ or ‘side’ deal with Iran. Congress has everything we have on the #IranDeal” read one tweet on @TheIranDeal account, set up by the White House to sell the agreement to the public.

“Lots of misperceptions re the #IranDeal,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice tweeted. “This is a good deal that should be judged on its merits, not distortions.”
That's not much. And since then, what? The administration more or less ceded discussion of the deal to the right. And now the House could vote to weaponize this lie. Why is it always unthinkable that Democrats will effectively counter this sort of thing?


ploeg said...

It's not at all clear that calling off the disapproval vote would give the Republicans a greater advantage. Because if you have an up-or-down disapproval vote, it's pretty clear whether you support or oppose the deal. How are you going to do the ads for a resolution that claims that Obama hasn't disclosed all elements of the deal? One can counter by asking the obvious question that, if the Republicans didn't like the deal, why didn't they hold an up-or-down vote? One could add that the deal was effectively to delegate certain details to the International Atomic Energy Agency. You know, the people who said that Saddam Hussein didn't have nuclear weapons. Are you going to trust those folks or are you going to trust Dick and Wolfie?

And so what happens when Obama lifts sanctions anyway? Do they impeach him? Do they sue him, and hope that they don't lose? And how does it look if they drag this out and the deal seems to work?

At a certain point, it becomes angels dancing on the head of a pin.

Unknown said...

Since this latest ploy is just as subject to Death By Senate and veto as the current legislative approval/disapproval process is, this is about the Republicans messin' with folks' heads. And since there's about a quarter of Americans would WANT to believe in this, another quarter than don't give a shit, 30 to 40 percent who might have given a contrary answer before but who knows because polls are easily manipulated paid pollsters taking advantage of the memory hole etc, something like 99% of the remaining 10% figure this thing is already a done deal, and human speech, error margins, and even the impression of meaningful existence is largely an evolutionary trick, I think it behooves us all to recognize that in such matters our national attention span doesn't exceed a 30 second commercial message.

Steve M., I don't think you can heap blame on Dem leadership and messaging for this. I am increasingly concerned that this typifies the sorts of posts we see here. I can't tell if this is due to living in D.C. or if it's part of the atmosphere surrounding current Dem Congressional leadership, but whatever: I try to pay attention to these sorts of things and it wasn't until TODAY that I was aware this was some 'thing', yet it took be no time at all to see major bullshit and flaws in the Republican ploy (Indeed, it appears Senators Corker and Graham are quite concerned this will shortly backfire on Team Arrrrr.).

It's impossible to insulate everything against Plan R Attacks From Planet Wingnut, Steve. It's appropriate to raise them, but I don't think it's appropriate to blame Team D for not being able to shut down the mad labs process.

Unknown said...

Admittedly, this is a guess at what's going on:

The Republican Congressional leadership group, Boehner, McConnell et al, is under a lot of pressure as Congress returns. Their 4 biggest caucuses, Freedom, TP, Crazy and Christian Fundy, in total are more than the meager ranks they still control, and it may actually be the case now that the leadership group doesn't even speak for a plurality of nominally Republican Congressional representatives.

Meanwhile, the GOP establishment that owns that group is trying to wrest control of their party back from Trump (Maybe a bit also from Carson, but I'd expect the GOP to think they've so many ways to deal with Carson, starting with the obvious, he's being used more to highlight the concern that Trump's rise evidences an insurgency the GOP doesn't feel confident it can wipe out before election day.).

Among the beliefs those groups share in common is that one thing that looms before them this last session before the election push, that stands at least to significantly damage and possibly to destroy not just their common ambitions for 2016 but cause their party to to shred irreparably, is the broad public perception that Obama keeps winning confrontations with them.

Is this clearly disingenuous recasting, of what's nothing more than a necessary corollary to maintaining a formal regime for global non-proliferation, solidifying to whatever extent now simply as a device to blunt the impression of them having lost to Obama 'again'?

It seems to me, so IMO it must have occurred to the GOP, that the international treaty with Iran could well look like not one Obama victory but instead a winning streak: the terms of a prospective deal fitting the Obama, um, I guess 'Doctrine', the slow-motion Bibi clown show to humiliation to beat-down, the terms of the deal getting hammered out in time, the daily roll-out of Democratic Senators emerging to support the treaty, the fact that now the list of them has got so big Obama won't even have to spend a veto: all that must look to the GOP like up to 5 or even more Obama victories over them.

So, they need to show the base a severed head on the GOP shield. And it's not as if the GOP has cared at any time over the last century how they get Wins.

If they can put on public display, and command sufficient media cooperation for, a 'condemnation' vote from the House, essentially saying Obama lied (like those trashy online ads on the "[trashy tabloid target X] lied" theme (Oprah, Ellen, Jennifer, whoever tabloids know their fans will ALWAYS buy into), then a stalemate in the Senate, then the Senate never even gets to the closure vote, leave aside to a veto.

Then the House Rs will react to the Senate stalemate on the House 'condemnation' bill more or less like they're dealing with Obamacare, the IRS bull crap, Benghazi (It's already lost the emojis, hyperbolically needless repeated letters, gaaaaaaaahs & exclamation point, since traded to the Bush campaign.), emailgate, Planned Parenthood, climate change, making bankers cry, the host of derp issues being cooked up for 2016.

There's also a danger here: if 2 GOP groups perceive their insurgent caucuses' combined base support is baying for blood, they'll sure as heck sacrifice the United States before they'll expose themselves: there'll be a government shut-down so massive and pervasive, the union may not be capable of surviving it.

Belvoir said...

Yikes almighty. I'm not sure that even Republican bigheads even f-cking know that five other nations are involved in this complex deal, it's not just the US. They probably do know, they just want to mess up and muddy the waters and lie their asses off about it to the very end. God, they REALLY do hate Obama, to the very end.

Meanwhile, on our Democratic side, we have absolutely useless, useless people like Her Royal Ladyship Debbie Wasserman-Schulz graciously saying she might finally approve of the Iran deal that her President and technical boss has painstakingly been putting together for over a year. Gee, thank you Miss Debbie!

Sorry, but when "Democrats in disarray" is such a common theme for years in the media that it's become a tired joke, having someone as incompetent, egotistical and self-serving and frankly untelegenic (that hair!) and easily flustered on tv defying her party on multiple issues like BOTH the Cuba and Iran deals- Debbie needs to be fired. It's a bloody disgrace that this incompetent person represents the Democratic Party when she is so clearly awful at the jobs, and at odds with our Democratic President on such important topics as Iran and Cuba. Debbie has to go, she is worse than useless.

(Speaking of useless, so is Blogger's creaky ancient commenting system, it is fvcking antique. I mistrusted Disqus at first , but it is miles ahead with notifications of replies, etc. Commenting here is like speaking aloud on some dead rusted ship, and people might reply, but you will never know about it. )

Daro said...

Agreed. DWS is so bad I suspect she's a plant from AIPAC.

And... agreed. This comment system sucks. Disqus please.