The Iran Deal: Blood in the Political Water
I am reading more and more divisive posts by Republicans for Republicans about the potential 2016 Republican Presidential Primary field. There are seldom comments about the Democrats or their relative lack of merit, except when the comments about Democrats are designed to excite Republicans. The points we make don’t divide Democrats, they excite us and, we hope, appeal to Independents. It’s not enough. Sure, we need to have discourse about our candidates to vet them and make our choice, but doing this to the extent some of us will not vote for our nominee is not working. We hustle for turnout, they unify and the middle divides. It is how Romney got barely received more votes than McCain and Obama won reelection. The middle went largely our way, but the Democrats’ turnout was better.
I am not suggesting we cease to vet our candidates. I am not suggesting we cease to reach out to new groups of voters. I am suggesting we look for issues that divide Democrats and make that part of the conversation. I am reminded of the quotation from the Mad Men character Don Draper, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” It’s what the left does very well.
Yesterday, John Kerry and the President reached their “deal” with Iran. Not surprisingly, the administration boasts this as an accomplishment. Obama says, “It’s a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.” And, of course, he calls it “an historic understanding.” But, most reporters have honed in on his motivation for inserting the word “core.” CNN introduces their article with “There are plenty of details left to iron out….” USA Today’s title is “Analysis: Iran deal’s missing details spell trouble.” Not only are the administration’s usual mouthpieces reporting their doubt, The Tahran Times is fueling skepticism by reporting:
In the framework of the agreement, none of Iran’s nuclear facilities as well as the previous activities will be stopped, shut down or suspended and Iran’s nuclear activities in all its nuclear facilities including Natanz, Fordow, Isfahan and Arak will continue.
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These comprehensive solutions will guarantee the continued enrichment program inside the Iranian territory and according to this, Iran will be allowed to go on with industrial production of nuclear fuel which is meant for running its nuclear power plants.
For most Conservatives, there are no surprises here except maybe that some of the press is reporting reasons for skepticism. After all, this administration decidedly deals from a position of weakness rather than a position of strength. But, we can partially blame ourselves for that. This was the doctrine pledged by Candidate Obama in 2008 and his precedent through the first term. He won, twice, and elections have consequences. Refer back to my first paragraph.
My question for the activists of the left is, if this deal is “an historic understanding,” then isn’t it true that John Kerry has accomplished significantly more as Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton did? If so, isn’t it also true that his overall accomplishments largely surpass those of Hillary Clinton? With people like Kerry available to them, why should the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton? Obviously, within a base that considers this deal “an historic understanding,” the case is weak, unless, the Iran deal fails or falls apart before implementation. These facts represent an opportunity for division in the leftist base. Apparently sensing this, CNN has reported Clinton’s effort to ride the fence:
But the former secretary of state allowed leeway for herself in case things go awry in the coming months, stating, “There is much to do and much more to say in the months ahead, but for now diplomacy deserves a chance to succeed.”
Please understand, I am all for pursuing Hillary Clinton’s emails related to her deplorable handling of Benghazi. But, we should realize that Benghazi is compelling in our base, with some ability to reach Independents. It is not an issue that divides the Democrat base. Because it is pursued from our side almost exclusively, it motivates them to circle their wagons. The Benghazi/email issue will not hurt Democrat turnout. Sadly, it is not enough to pursue Benghazi (keep doing that plus more). This Iran “deal” is blood in the water because it has potential to divide the Democrat base. The left would exploit that potential. We should too.
At every opportunity, Hillary Clinton should be pressed for her expectations of this deal. She should be pressed about her feeling of the significance of it. She should be asked, repeatedly until she answers, if she agrees that this is “an historic deal,” with the obvious follow up, about her lack of role in it. She should be asked why the Democrats should not nominate John Kerry again? He has been “sort of thinking 2016.”
Almost a year ago, MSNBC effectively warned its audience of the dangers of Kerry upstaging Hillary Clinton by stating, “Nobody thinks Hillary Clinton did a bad job as secretary of state, but it’s a struggle to identify any noteworthy accomplishments.” Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb all seemed absent in the production of this “historic deal.” They should be asked the same questions. Except maybe for Joe Biden. In his case the question might be better phrased, “Mr. Vice President, is the agreement with Iran another ‘big f@^#king deal?’ If so, what was your role in it?”
Either the Democratic field has missed the chance to be part of this accomplishment and their response should be to embrace it, or it is not an accomplishment and they should make that prediction. Sure, they will try to ride the fence. But if it fails, it is a failure of Kerry and the Administration; riding the fence when pressed is effectively a prediction of failure. If pressed for responses on this issue, some will cling to this President to be part of the accomplishment and some will abandon him. Couple their positions on this deal with their positions on Obamacare and we have a Democratic nominee either appealing to a very narrow base or opposing it. It only requires reporters willing to ask the questions and to get them on the record with a commitment. My selfish desire is to see the left divided, but this is an important issue. There is nothing wrong with getting presidential candidates on record with their positions on important issues. Fox News reporters could do that. It is just a matter of making it the conversation. It’s what the left does very well.