President Obama is more a proselytizer than a president at this point. He’s not going to try and convince you that his policy positions are correct, he’s just going to pressure you to jump on the bandwagon and have faith. Oh, and if you happen to disagree on the merits, then he’s going to attack you relentlessly. Not with facts, mind you, but with political rhetoric.
In remarks last week, Obama mocked his critics as “armchair nuclear scientists” who were engaging in nothing more than “knee-jerk partisanship” and offering little more than “headline-grabbing sound bites.”
But the usually circumspect Obama, who likes to glide above the fray, then offered up a ludicrous comparison that highlights the tenuousness of his position.
“It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal,” Obama said in prepared remarks. “They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”
Someone may want to alert Sen. Chuck Schumer, the soon-to-be top Democrat in the Senate, that he’ll need to start caucusing with the GOP. Last week, Schumer announced that he was opposed to the deal and laid out a careful explanation as to how he viewed the deal’s shortcomings. David Adesnik reports for the Weekly Standard:
When Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he would vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, he didn’t just take a position — he rejected every major argument President Obama has made on the agreement’s behalf. Schumer argues this is not a deal that prevents Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but one that brings it to the threshold of nuclear weapons capability. He states that its verification and enforcement mechanisms are flawed. Finally, he points out it provides Iran with tens of billions of dollars it could spend on subsidizing terrorism and other violent pursuits.
If Schumer’s goal were to lose the fewest friends possible, he could have provided a tepid rationale for his position that did not lend so much credibility to the arguments made by the deal’s opponents. But Schumer also makes his arguments in a thoughtful, even courtly manner– in sharp contrast to President Obama, who insisted in a mean-spirited address on Thursday that the merits of the deal are so obvious that one should dismiss any criticism as “knee-jerk partisanship” or mercenary opposition bought and paid for by wealthy donors.
More specifically, he calls the inspection regime “troubling,” because the promise of “anywhere, anytime” inspections has a 24-day delay and requires a majority of the 8-member Joint Commission, which includes China, Russia and Iran. He labeled the “snapback” provisions “cumbersome and difficult to use.” He argues that in fifteen years “Iran would be stronger financially and better able to advance a robust nuclear program,” which means that to get a bomb they “must simply exercise patience.” And he argues that the tens of billions of dollars that will now flow to Iran will allow them to “pursue their number one goal: strengthening Iran’s nuclear armed forces and pursuing even more harmful military and terrorist actions.
All told, Schumer argues, when using the proponent’s standard of “whether we are better with or without a deal” he generally concludes that “we would be better off without it.”
Rather than respond thoughtfully to their Minority-Leader-in-waiting, Democrats went on the attack to undermine not only Schumer’s position on the issue, but his standing in the party.
“I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if there are individual members of the Senate Democratic caucus that will consider the voting record of those who say they would like to lead the caucus,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, an obtuse, but all-too-clear warning to Schumer and his bid to become leader of Senate Democrats.
President Obama’s former top political adviser, David Axelrod, went a step further, directly attacking Sen. Schumer’s integrity.
“Facts are facts, and politics is politics,” Axelrod tweeted. “Schumer made a decision based on politics, not fact.”
Axelrod wasn’t the only former Obama aide to publicly shame Schumer.
“Chuck Schumer, who said it was a mistake to pass Obamacare, now comes out again the Iran Deal,” tweeted former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau. “This is our next Senate leader?”
“Timely endorsement of the foreign policy of the GOP candidates on stage from Chuck Schumer,” tweeted Ben LaBolt.”
If dredging up old acolytes to cut the legs out from under one of the most prominent members of his own party is the best defense that President Obama can offer of his Iran deal then he’s got serious problems. This is not an issue that anyone should take on faith. This is a debate necessitous of facts.