GOP Failure Theater: the Iran nuclear vote, Cruz-Rubio edition

mystery science

Failure Theater. When the GOP talks a good game about opposing Obama’s policies but, in fact, vote to go along with them.

Yesterday the US Senate voted 98-1 to go along with whatever Barack Obama decides to give to Iran. Though the feckless [mc_name name=’Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001071′ ] has portrayed it as a successful “bipartisan” bill, part of [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ]’s erotic dream of “governing”, in fact it is a huge defeat for our Constitution. By turning the treaty process on its head, by giving Obama carte-blanche to do as he will unless Congress can muster the necessary 2/3 vote to abrogate his actions, the GOP has effectively taken the Congress out of any role in shaping US foreign policy. This bill, thanks to [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ]’s bipartisanship fetish did not even require the Iran cease supporting terrorist attacks on Americans. Nope, reasoned the addled [mc_name name=’Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001071′ ] and the big brain types in the GOP leadership, requiring Iran to forego terrorism before we help them get a nuke was just too much. Obama would never stand for it.

For all the sturm und drang of the debate, only one senator held firm to the principle that the president cannot unilaterally negotiate long term agreements on behalf of the United States. That senator was [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001095′ ].

The choice for the GOP was very simple, actually. By voting for the bill they could give Obama total authority to give Iran nuclear weapons while claiming they had upheld their prerogatives. By voting against the bill, they could send the message that this agreement was one between Barack Obama and whichever ayatollah he was placating on a particular day and that the Congress was opposed to Iran being given a nuclear weapon and $50 billion in cash. The result would be the same, without enough Democrats loyal to the nation to oppose a horrible nuclear deal with Iran Obama would make his deal. A “no” vote, though would have made Obama the sole owner of the eventual and inevitable outcome: a nuclear attack with an Iranian weapon.

One of the major disappointments was [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]. One expected [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] to go along. Ultimately he’s an isolationist whose national security policy would very likely be worse, though more intellectually coherent, than Obamas’s. Senator Cruz fought a good fight but when it came time to vote he was right there, toeing the line McConnell drew. This is his statement.

Sen. Cruz: We Must Continue The Fight To Stop Obama’s Bad Deal With Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, released the following statement regarding votes on the Iran Nuclear Review Act:

“This bill was a missed opportunity. If Congress had acted to defend our constitutional authority – if Congress had adopted the Cruz-Toomey amendment – then we would be able to stop a bad Iran deal. Instead, the odds are now overwhelming that under these ground rules President Obama will negotiate, and Congress will acquiesce to, a terrible deal that allows Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and will endanger the lives of millions of Americans and our allies.

“I voted no on cloture because we should have insisted on amendments to put real teeth in this bill. Ultimately, I voted yes on final passage because it may delay, slightly, President Obama’s ability to lift the Iran sanctions and it ensures we will have a Congressional debate on the merits of the Iran deal. I will continue to lead the fight to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to protect the national security of America and our allies.”

Sen. Cruz spoke about this legislation on the Senate floor on Wednesday

This statement is simply transparent bull****. The second paragraph, in particular, is logically incomprehensible and a slap in the face to anyone who has an IQ in the double digits.

[mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] was just as disappointing Rubio’s statement was just probably worse than Cruz’s both because it was longer and because he clearly knows he is voting for a horrible bill. He starts out by telling what can only charitably be termed an exotic interpretation of events:

“And the decision is not whether we’re going to pass the bill we want or nothing at all. The decision is, are we better off as a country with this bill or with no bill? If we don’t pass a bill, the Senate can still weigh in on the Iranian deal. But the Iranian deal kicks in immediately. And unless – and until the Senate acts, the sanctions will be off, at least the U.S. sanctions will be off. There’s also no guarantee that the White House will even show us the agreement if we don’t pass a bill.

The existing sanctions bill gives the president the authority to modify sanctions up or down. He doesn’t need Congressional approval to do that and the bill does not change it. It only applies if Obama wants to remove the sanctions themselves rather than reduce them to zero. And then:

“So at the end of the day, while this bill does not contain the amendments – we didn’t even get a vote on the amendments that we wanted, I never… it doesn’t contain the different aspects that I thought it would do to make it stronger – if left to the choice that we have now, I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re in a better position if this bill passes. Because at a minimum, at least it creates a process whereby the American people through their elected representatives can debate an issue of extraordinary importance.

This is just as insulting. The Senate didn’t need a useless bill proclaiming its own irrelevance to debate.

But Rubio is right on what this means:

“I said at the outset that I think a bad deal almost guarantees war and here’s why. Because the state of Israel, such an important allay to the United States, they are not thousands of miles away from Iran. They hear… Put yourself in their position for a moment. The small country with a small population, nine miles wide at its narrowest point, with a neighbor to the north that openly and repeatedly says it wants to destroy you and on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability. And Israel feels like their very existence is being threatened, and faced with that, Israel may very well take military action on their own to protect themselves.

“I think a bad deal exponentially increases the likelihood of that happening. I also think you look at the other nations of the region, because Iran is a Shia country, a Shia-Persian country, but its Sunni-Arab neighbors aren’t big fans of the Shia branch of Islam.

“So for example, Saudi Arabia, an incredibly wealthy country, they have already said, ‘Whatever Iran gets, we’re going to get. If Iran gets the right to enrich and reprocess, we will enrich and reprocess. If Iran builds a weapon, we will build a weapon.’ And so it creates the very real specter that we’re going to have an arms race, a nuclear arms race, in the Middle East. You’re talking about a region of the world that has been unstable for 3,800 years.”

“You talk about a region of the world that could have a nuclear arms race, one of the most unstable regions on the planet. And so I hope we’re going to get a good deal. I’m not hopeful that we will, but I think we’re better off if we have this process in place. And so I hope this bill passes here today so at least we’ll have a chance to weigh in on an issue of critical importance.”

He’s right. And by voting for this bill, he owns it.

Now when an Iranian nuclear weapon bursts over some city that has angered the Tehran regime, the GOP will be as much to blame as Barack Obama.