President Obama

Republicans Routed As House Democrats Set To Give Obama Total Victory On Iran Deal


Barack Obama is flanked by Democratic caucus chairman, John Larson, and the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, as he calls on Democratic members of Congress to vote for his healthcare bill. Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters


President Obama has a liberal firewall in the House of Representatives as Nancy Pelosi has kept her Democrats together, and they are ready to deliver total victory for the president on the Iran deal.

Politico reported:

But Obama’s backstop in the House, where the Democratic Caucus is dominated by liberals, is holding firm.

Close to 40 House Democrats have come out in favor of the deal since it was first announced in mid-July, while 16 senators have voiced their support. And there are dozens of additional Democrats who’ve signaled in interviews and statements that they are inclined to back Obama’s deal, which aims to stop Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Most notably, not one of the 151 House Democrats who signed a May letter in support of the broad outlines of the agreement have announced opposition to the final product.

House Democrats are resisting a multi-million dollar effort to turn them against the deal. The dye was cast long ago on the fate of the Iran deal because of two key factors.

House liberals were outraged when Speaker John Boehner attempted to humiliate President Obama by going behind his back and inviting Netanyahu to address Congress. Boehner and Netanyahu’s behavior backfired and unified House Democrats around their president. Any chance that Boehner had of getting Democratic votes for a resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal was destroyed the moment he disrespected the president.

The second factor is the structure of the agreement to allow a vote on the Iran deal. The White House made it nearly impossible to kill the Iran deal by only agreeing to give Congress the ability to pass a resolution of disapproval. President Obama knew that he would veto any resolution of disapproval and that the odds are practically zero that Republicans would be able to muster the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override his veto.

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) announcement of opposition to the deal has not been followed by a wave of Democrats joining him. It is doubtful that Mitch McConnell will be able to get enough votes in the Senate to override the president’s expected veto, but even if he does, Obama’s ironclad support in the House means that Republicans will lose.

There will be a great deal of media generated wringing of hands and speculative coverage of the Iran deal resolution vote, but the unless House Democrats budge, Obama wins no matter what else happens.

The president is well on his way towards achieving a major victory for peace, as House Democrats are signaling that they’ve got Obama’s back.

Jason Easley

Obama Leaves Republicans Reeling After Standing Firm On GOP Death To America Comparison


Was the comparison unfair?  I would say it was spot on!


President Obama hit Republicans hard on CNN when he explained why his comparison to the GOP Iran deal opposition to the extremists who shout death to America is factually correct.


Transcript via CNN:

ZAKARIA: In your speech at American University you made a comparison. You said that Iran’s hard-liners were making common cause with Republicans. It’s come under a lot of criticism. Mitch McConnell says even Democrats who oppose the deal should be insulted. The “Wall Street Journal” says this rhetoric shows that you’ve abandoned the hope of getting any Republicans or even moderate Democrats, and you are targeting this message to the hard core of House Democrats who are going to sustain your veto.

OBAMA: Fareed, your question is about politics. Let me talk about substance. What I said is absolutely true factually. The truth of the matter is inside of Iran, the people most opposed to the deal are the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force, hard liners who are implacably opposed to any cooperation with the international community, and there is a reason for that because they recognize that if in fact this deal gets done, that rather than them being in the driver’s seat with respect to the Iranian economy, they are in a weaker position.

And the point I was simply making is that, if you look at the facts, the merits of this deal, then you will conclude that, not only does it cut off a pathway for Iran getting a nuclear weapon, but it also establishes the most effective verification and inspection regime that’s ever been put in place. It also ensures that we are able to monitor what they do with respect to stockpiles, plutonium, their underground facility, and that it does not ask us to relinquish any of the options that we might need to exercise if in fact Iran cheated or if, at some point, they decided to try to break up.

And so the reason that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the folks in his caucus who oppose this jumped out and opposed it before they even read it, before it was even posted, is reflective of an ideological commitment not to get a deal done.

ZAKARIA: You don’t —

OBAMA: And in that sense they do have a lot in common with hard- liners who are much more satisfied with the status quo.

ZAKARIA: You don’t think you’re going to get any Republican support?

OBAMA: Well, I didn’t say that. What I said was that there are those who, if they did not read the bill before they announced their opposition, if they are not able to offer plausible reasons why they wouldn’t support the bill or plausible alternatives in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon other than potential military strikes, then that would indicate that they’re not interested in the substance of the issue, they’re interested in the politics of the issue.

The President isn’t backing off of his comments because the Iran deal is a matter of war and peace. Republicans are trying to sink the deal without bothering to read it because they support more war in the Middle East.

The Republican behavior in response to the Iran deal has been the definition of extremism.

President Obama has put up with this behavior from Republicans all through his presidency. The President already knows that he is going to get zero Republican support, so he has nothing to lose by telling the truth about the motives behind their opposition.

Jason Easley

Obama Calls Republican Laws That Take Away The Right To Vote A Disgrace

Obama right to vote



President Obama took aim at Republican efforts to suppress the vote by calling their laws that make it more difficult to cast a ballot a disgrace.


The President said:

The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights of any democracy. Yet for too long, too many of our fellow citizens were denied that right, simply because of the color of their skin.

Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson signed a law to change that. The Voting Rights Act broke down legal barriers that stood between millions of African Americans and their constitutional right to cast ballot. It was, and still is, one of the greatest victories in our country’s struggle for civil rights.

But it didn’t happen overnight. Countless men and women marched and organized, sat in and stood up, for our most basic rights. For this they were called agitators and un-American, they were jailed and beaten. Some were even killed. But in the end, they reaffirmed the idea at the very heart of America: that people who love this country can change it.

Our country is a better place because of all those heroes did for us. But as one of those heroes, Congressman John Lewis, reminded us in Selma this past March, “There’s still work to be done.” Fifty years after the Voting Rights Act, there are still too many barriers to vote, and too many people trying to erect new ones. We’ve seen laws that roll back early voting, force people to jump through hoops to cast a ballot, or lead to legitimate voters being improperly purged from the rolls. Over the years, we have seen provisions specifically designed to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote. In a democracy like ours, with a history like ours, that’s a disgrace. 

That’s why, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, I’m calling on Congress to pass new legislation to make sure every American has equal access to the polls. It’s why I support the organizers getting folks registered in their communities. And it’s why, no matter what party you support, my message to every American is simple: get out there and vote – not just every four years, but every chance you get. Because your elected officials will only heed your voice if you make your voice heard.

The promise that all of us are created equal is written into our founding documents – but it’s up to us to make that promise real. Together, let’s do what Americans have always done: let’s keep marching forward, keep perfecting our union, and keep building a better country for our kids.

President Obama hasn’t just talked the talk on voting rights. He’s walked the walk. The Department of Justice has been very aggressive in combating Republican efforts at the state level to suppress the vote.

It was telling that there was a single mention of voting rights during both of the Fox News debates. If you are a person of color, poor, disabled, or live in an urban area, Republicans want to make it more difficult for you to vote. It is also ironic that the a political party which wraps itself in the rhetoric of liberty is so comfortable violating the liberties of others. Democrats aren’t going to allow Republicans to rig elections by making voting difficult for so many Americans.

President Obama has a historic legacy of accomplishment, but one of his efforts that has been least discussed is how he has battled Republicans to protect the right to vote.

Jason Easley

Obama Strongly Urges Democrats To Watch GOP Debates, And Why You Should



President Obama is taking his first campaigning steps for fellow Democrats hot on the 2016 presidential trail. He’s sent out an email encouraging Dems to put aside their scorn for each and every one of the conservative hopefuls and to listen to the debates Thursday night, closely.

Obama wrote in his email, distributed by the Democratic National Committee:

“Tune in, listen carefully to what the Republican candidates for president say, and then hold them accountable for trying to undo all of the hard work we’ve done to move this country forward.”

But the email’s only purpose is not just to encourage Democrats to hold their noses and watch the Republican debates, which will take place in Cleveland, Ohio. It is also to collect vital voter data, as well as growing the list of potential supporters for when the election really gets into the nitty-gritty of the campaign season.

Obama wants Democrats to watch the GOP debate and take notes to hold them accountable so badly that he’s also included a means for citizens to actually pledge that they will watch the debate.

Great move, Obama! After all, how can Democrats effectively counter Republican garbage if they don’t even know what it is beyond a sound bite?

The president’s letter also throws a few small jabs at conservatives for trying to undermine the Affordable Care Act, dire climate change realities, same-sex marriage and immigration reform, among other subjects. But again, the president doesn’t do so just out of ego to slap Republicans around a little. He does it because he needs to remind Democrats that they cannot sit back on their laurels and assume conservatives’ own ridiculousness will result in them shooting themselves in the political foot so badly and frequently that they lose the election for themselves. Instead, Obama wants Democrats to be armed with the knowledge of who the Republican candidates are and what they stand for because he knows if liberals do know that information they can’t help but stay motivated to vote, because there is just no chance in hell any of them will want a single one of those conservative candidates to hold the Oval Office. If it was about ego and being nasty alone, Obama would name names when he talks about conservatives trying to undermine his work over the last eight years.

Obama stated:

“While these Republicans may have bad ideas, they’re still smart politicians. They know how to make policies that will take us in the wrong direction sound like they might actually be pretty good ideas.”

That’s called double-speak, and Americans should be so well-versed in that now that they recognize it like a long-lost sibling. But, many still, shockingly, do not – hence Obama’s email.

So watch the debates with a pen in hand, a laptop nearby and TiVo recording it all for you to go back over again and again whenever necessary so you are ready and knowledgeable not only to debate, yourself, with your own family members over those final barbecues of summer, but for the primaries and ultimately the presidential election, too.

The race is on! Let it begin…

10 things you need to know today: July 28, 2015

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


1. Boy Scouts board ends ban on gay leaders
The governing board of the Boy Scouts of America voted on Mondayto end the group’s blanket ban on gay leaders and employees. Seventy-nine percent of the national executive board supported the move, saying the policy “was no longer legally defensible.” Churches that sponsor Scout troops still can exclude gay leaders for religious reasons. The Mormon Church said it was “deeply troubled” and that it was reevaluating its relationship with the Boy Scouts.

Source: NBC News, The New York Times

2. Libyan court sentences Saif al-Islam Gadhafi to die
A Libyan court sentenced the late Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, to death for killings during the 2011 uprising that toppled his father’s government. The court also issued death sentences for former Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, former Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah al-Senousi, and six others. It is unclear whether the sentences will be carried out. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who testified via video link, is being held by a militia that refuses to deliver him to the central government.

Source: The Associated Press

3. Olympic Committee ends Boston’s bid to host 2024 Summer Games
Boston lost its chance to be the host city in the U.S. Olympic Committee’s bid for the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Marty Walsh said he was not ready to sign a host-city contract, which would commit Boston to covering budgetary shortfalls. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the lack of enthusiasm in Boston would make it hard to beat strong bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, and Toronto. The USOC has until Sept. 15 to propose a replacement, and two-time host Los Angeles is considered the likeliest candidate.

Source: Boston Herald, The New York Times

4. Obama delivers historic address to African Union
President Obama pledged to help raise 50 million Africans out of poverty during his Tuesday address at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — the equivalent of 5 percent of Africa’s population. His speech marked the first time that a sitting American president addressed the African Union. “Many Africans are crowded into shantytowns without power or running water — a level of poverty that’s an assault on human dignity,” Obama said.

Source: BBC News, The Associated Press

5. NSA to destroy bulk phone data collected over 10 years
The National Security Agency will stop reviewing the phone records of millions of Americans, and destroy 10 years of data already collected, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Monday. Congress voted in June to end the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records — a controversial program leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden. Since then, the Obama administration had not said what it would do with old data already recorded.

Source: The Washington Post

6. Tech leaders urge ban on autonomous killer robots
Physicist Stephen Hawking, Space X founder Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and hundreds of other tech luminaries signed an open letter released Monday calling for a global ban on artificial-intelligence-based autonomous weapons. The letter, presented at the opening of the International Joint Conference On Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, warned against the dangers of a global arms race to make autonomous killer robots, which will be “feasible within years, not decades.”

Source: Live Science

7. Obama slams Huckabee for Holocaust reference
President Obama on Monday harshly criticized Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for saying the Obama administration was marching Israelis straight to the “door of the oven” with the Iran nuclear deal. Obama called Huckabee’s comments “part of just a general pattern we have seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.” Obama, speaking during a visit to Ethiopia, said, “It’s not the kind of leadership that’s needed in America right now.”

Source: The New York Times

8. U.S. stocks sink as Chinese markets stoke fears of a global slowdown
U.S. stocks sank on Monday as a market slump in China fueled fears about global economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level since February. “A significant slowdown in China impacts not just the U.S. but global players as well,” said Horizon Investment Services CEO Chuck Carlson. Chinese stocks remained volatile Tuesday despite government promises to buy shares if necessary to stabilize the market, although European stocks rebounded.

Source: Reuters

9. U.S. takes Cuba off list of countries failing to fight human trafficking
The U.S. is removing Cuba from its list of countries that are not combating human trafficking, according to an annual State Department report released Monday. The move came a week after Cuba and the U.S. formally restored diplomatic relations and opened embassies in each others’ capitals. Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall said Cuba “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” but has made strides in fighting sex trafficking.

Source: BBC News

10. Jen Welter hired as first female NFL coach
The Arizona Cardinals announced Monday that they had hired Jen Welter as a coaching intern during training camp and the preseason, making her the first woman to hold a coaching position in the NFL. “Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians said. “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.'” Welter was an assistant coach of the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution this year.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Harold Maass

Obama Brilliantly Throws Lit Firecrackers into GOP Presidential Chaos

attribution: None


President Obama responded to Republican fit over the Iran nuclear deal from Ethiopia, namechecking GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee – who said the Iran deal was tantamount walking Israel to “the door of the oven”, a reference to mass cremation chambers in Nazi internment camps – and Donald Trump, who remains atop the Republican field despite his insult of POWs.

““The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern that we’ve seen that is, would be, considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” Obama said Monday, while defending his administration’s rollout of the Iran nuclear deal.”

The president’s comment is entirely true, of course, and perfectly reasonable as he defends this historic agreement to put a nuclear weapon out of Iran’s hands for good. But that isn’t the reason President Obama decided to voluntarily drag The Donald into this before beating up on him for his disrespect of POWs.

“And so when you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now…

In fact, it’s been interesting when you look at what’s happened with Mr. Trump, when he’s made some of the remarks that, for example, challenged the heroism of Mr. McCain, somebody who endured torture and conducted himself with exemplary patriotism, the Republican Party is shocked. And yet, that arises out of a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks have become far too commonplace and get circulated nonstop through the Internet and talk radio and news outlets.”

Again, nothing out of the ordinary considering the president’s role as commander in chief and his steadfast defense of service to our country. But that’s not all he’s doing there.

By namechecking Trump and Huckabee, President Obama ensures that those two candidates will generate even more media attention, and more importantly, even more support among the GOP’s far right Tea-party base. The more animated the Teabaggers get, the more it will skew the entire Republican presidential field to the far right, a position the eventual Republican nominee will find tough to recover for when the primary is over and it’s time to run to the middle.

The Republican base of right wing nutjobs who show up at political rallies with teabags hanging from hats that went out of style sometime in the 1800s are a bad liability in presidential years, and nothing makes them lose it more that Barack Obama making a sensible comment. And when Barack Obama name-checks a Republican in those comments, that Republican – or those Republicans – become instant celebrities among this hardcore group of right wingers who have outsized influence as Republican primary voters.

The Republican presidential field is already chaotic without President Obama’s help. With some 17 candidates running and Trump’s outrageous comments that endear him to the Republican base setting panic among Republicans who understand the GOP is finished as a national party if Trump wins the nomination, the clown car is already coming apart.

All President Obama did was to make sure that the chaos gets worse, and that Trump and Huckabee get more support from the fringe base that thinks the president is the devil. Something tells me President Obama thinks that Huckabee’s backwards social positions will blend perfectly well with Trump’s general insanity, making every other candidate jump through those hoops just to get some attention. And when they do, the Democratic nominee has raw footage for the general election regardless of who the GOP nominee is.

These firecrackers are going to burn.

WATCH: CNN Host Confronts Arpaio For Continuing Nutty Birther Investigation


CNN | Screenshot


Arpaio, along with Republican presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump, is a vocal member of the “birther” movement that claims Obama was born in Kenya. The notorious sheriff even dispatched certain members of his posse to spend months during the 2012 election cycle investigating whether a birth certificate showing that Obama was born in Hawaii was legitimate.

Tapper asked Arpaio why he would “risk his credibility” on the hot-button topic of illegal immigration by perpetuating the baseless rumor that the President was not born in the United States.

“I’m the chief law enforcement officer elected by the people. I have a right to investigate and speak out,” Arpaio countered. “I’m not talking about where he came from. I don’t care where he came from. We’re working on a fraudulent, forged, government document.”

Tapper pressed him on that point.

“Is there anyone — any credible law enforcement person outside of you, your organization and your contractors — who has any agreement with you on this?” he asked.

Arpaio responded that he was the only official brave enough to look into the issue. But when Tapper pressed the sheriff again as to the evidence he had to back up the theory that the President was not born in the United States, Arpaio demurred.

“I’m not going to get into all the technical details,” he said. “I have a Smith Corona typewriter. I don’t have a computer but I have people that look into it. I’ve been around a long time. I’m not stupid enough to even talk to you about it if I didn’t think there was a lot of smoke and fire there.”

Watch below:


Any Fool Can Start A War With Iran

Any Fool Can Start A War With Iran

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference about the recent nuclear deal reached with Iran, in the East Room of the White House in Washington July 15, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts


Right now, it’s beginning to look as if President Obama will end up deserving the Nobel Peace Prize he so prematurely received in 2009.

Perhaps you recall how, during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Obama’s opponents treated his expressed willingness to speak with the leaders of unfriendly countriessuch as Cuba and Iran as a sign of immaturity.

“Irresponsible and frankly naïve,” was how Hillary Clinton put it.

Joe Biden said it was important for an inexperienced president not to get played by crafty foreigners.

Obama was unrepentant. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them—which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of [the Bush] administration,” he said, “is ridiculous.”

And so it was. Only ridiculous people talk that way now. With hindsight, it’s become clear that Obama wasn’t simply repudiating the GOP’s melodramatic “Axis of Evil” worldview, but expressing his own considerable self-regard.

Also his confidence in America as he sees it through his unique personal history as a kind of inside-outsider, capable of being more than ordinarily objective about our place in the world. When you’re the most powerful economic and military power on Earth, he keeps saying with regard to the Iran deal, it’s important to act like it: strong, calm, and confident. Able to take risks for peace because your strength is so overwhelming.

President Obama told the New York Times’ Thomas Friedmanthat if Ronald Reagan could reach verifiable arms agreements with the Soviet Union, a country that posed “a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be,” then dealing with the Iranians is “a risk we have to take. It is a practical, common-sense position.”

As we saw in 2003, any damn fool can start a Middle Eastern war. And while hardly anybody in the United States wants one, even Iranian hardliners should have no doubt who would win such a conflict.

“Why should the Iranians be afraid of us?” Friedman asked.

“Because we could knock out their military in speed and dispatch if we chose to,” Obama said.

That’s the same reason Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and his allies in the U.S. Congress) need to cool it with the Chicken Little rhetoric. Obama thinks it’s “highly unlikely that you are going to see Iran launch a direct attack, state to state, against any of our allies in the region. They know that that would give us the rationale to go in full-bore, and as I said, we could knock out most of their military capacity pretty quickly.”

Of course Netanyahu knows that perfectly well. But here’s the kind of thinking that he and his allies on the evangelical right really object to:

“Even with your adversaries,” Obama said, “I do think that you have to have the capacity to put yourself occasionally in their shoes, and if you look at Iranian history, the fact is that we had some involvement with overthrowing a democratically elected regime in Iran. We had in the past supported Saddam Hussein when we know he used chemical weapons in the war between Iran and Iraq, and so…they have their own…narrative.”

Demonizing Iran serves Netanyahu’s short-term political purposes. Ditto Republican presidential candidates. But Obama has a wider audience and a longer view in mind. Much of what he said was directed over the heads of his domestic audience. Besides, GOP war talk makes it easier for Democrats to support Obama.

“Iran will be and should be a regional power,” he told Friedman. “They are a big country and a sophisticated country in the region. They don’t need to invite the hostility and the opposition of their neighbors by their behavior. It’s not necessary for them to be great to denigrate Israel or threaten Israel or engage in Holocaust denial or anti-Semitic activity. Now that’s what I would say to the Iranian people.”

He also focused upon the common enemy:

“Nobody has an interest in seeing [the Islamic State] control huge swaths of territory between Damascus and Baghdad,” Obama said. “That’s not good for Iran.”

Indeed not. More than the Turks, more than Saudi Arabia, more than anybody but the Kurds, Iranian forces are fighting ISIS on several fronts.

The president’s words were grudgingly noted in Tehran. In his own carefully crafted speech expressing guarded blessings for the arms control agreement, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei assured hardliners that he hadn’t gone soft on America.

However, he also alluded to Obama’s conciliatory remarks.

“He mentioned two or three points, but did not confess to tens of others,” Khamenei complained.

Which is how conversations begin.

This deal isn’t the end. But it’s an excellent beginning—of what, remains to be seen. Iran has essentially purchased anti-invasion insurance, while the U.S. and its allies have bought relative stability in the Persian Gulf.

Could things go wrong? Things can always go wrong.

But there’s always time to start a war.

Obama gives Iran hawks the smackdown they so richly deserve: They bungled Iraq, and they’ve learned nothing

Obama gives Iran hawks the smackdown they so richly deserve: They bungled Iraq, and they've learned nothing

Tom Cotton, Barack Obama, Dick Cheney (Credit: AP/Reuters/Danny Johnston/Jonathan Ernst/Luis Alvarez/Photo montage by Salon


President Obama argues for diplomacy with Iran by reminding everyone of his detractors’ biggest failure

President Obama has not exactly been patient with Congress when it comes to the multilateral diplomatic framework with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. After the agreement was announced last week, Obama called a press conference and used the event to methodically rip apart each argument critics have deployed against the deal. Time and again he challenged Republicans, conservatives and hand-wringing Democrats to put up or shut up: to lay out their alternative plans for keeping Iran from going nuclear. He promised to veto any measures the Republican-controlled Congress might send to him blocking the easing of sanctions on Iran. He wasn’t making a sales pitch; he was defying Congress to get in the way of potentially one of the most important diplomatic breakthroughs since the end of the Cold War.

Of course, by using pointy words and a confrontational tone of voice, Obama upset some members of the press who seem to think that bipartisan consensus may still be achieved when it comes to Iran and nuclear weapons:

Ah yes, if there’s one thing Republicans in Congress have made their hallmark during the Obama years, it’s the “fair hearing.” We’ve already seen 47 members of the Senate Republican caucus attempt to preemptively sabotage the deal with a provocative letter to the government of Iran. Many of those senators are also running for president, and they’re trying to out-hawk one another by accusing the administration of engaging in Neville Chamberlain-like appeasement. Most Senate Republicans have been taking their Iran cues from Tom Cotton, who is already planning bombing runs against Iranian nuclear facilities. Sen. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, said “this agreement condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf.” He does not represent a minority viewpoint. Who exactly is going to give the “fair hearing” in this situation?

The reason Obama’s not banging his head against the wall and trying to get Congress to approve the deal is that he’s fairly confident Congress can’t actually do anything to stop it. The 60-day period for congressional review has already begun, and as the New York Times noted, “the numbers suggest Mr. Obama will prevail; if Congress rejects the Iran accord, he promised on Tuesday to veto the legislation, and he has enough Democrats to win that contest.” Instead of getting Congress on his side, Obama’s working to convince the public that the Iran deal is the right course of action, and that his critics are wrong.

To make that case, he’s deploying a simple and effective argument. “The same politicians and pundits that are so quick to reject the possibility of a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program are the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq and said it would only take a few months,” Obama said yesterday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.

He’s absolutely correct. Conservatives who backed the Iraq War and also complain that the nuclear deal does nothing to curb Iranian meddling in the Middle East don’t really have too much credibility on this score. Nothing has done more to bolster Iran’s influence across the region than the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Before the war, the hawks theorized that a swift and decisive war against Saddam Hussein would either scare the Iranians into better behavior or spark an internal uprising that would topple the regime. Instead, we eliminated one of Iran’s regional counterweights and in its place we set up a chaotic power vacuum that Iran filled with money, political influence, and weapons. Put simply, if you backed the neocon adventure in the Middle East, you don’t get to claim expertise when it comes to reining Iranian influence.

And when you look at some of the more prominent critics of the Iran deal – particularly those running for the Republican presidential nomination – you see a lot of people who still argue that the Iraq war and justified and a terrific idea overall. For most of them, the preferred alternative to diplomacy with Iran is “crippling” sanctions, bellicose posturing, and the “credible threat” of military action – a policy smorgasbord that hasn’t succeeded in curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and will almost certainly lead to war. A good number of hawks, represented John Bolton, want to start bombing Iran yesterday.

The lesson of the Iraq War is, as Conor Friedersdorf wrote earlier this year, that “Americans vastly overestimate their ability to develop grand strategies and to predict how foreign interventions of choice will play out over time.” Obama is completely justified in pointing out that his most prominent critics have stubbornly refused to learn this lesson. And the president’s cause is better served by reminding the public of their failure than by trying to convince some incorrigible warmongers that diplomacy should be given a chance.

Obama ‘Issues An Executive Order’ Telling Jon Stewart He Can’t Leave (VIDEO)


Tuesday made The Daily Show history. It was the last time that President Obama would appear on the show across from Jon Stewart. Tuesday was also Obama’s seventh appearance on The Daily Show, although he was only president for three of appearances.

The president was on for the entire duration of the show and showing his sense of humor we’ve seen so many times, he began, “I can’t believe that you’re leaving before me. In fact, I’m issuing a new executive order: Jon Stewart cannot leave the show.” Stewart joked that it’s a state’s rights issue.

After the initial banter, Stewart began running off Obama’s list of “lame duck” accomplishments, including Iran, Fast Track, etc. “Are you feeling like seven years in…”

“I finally know what I’m doing?” Obama joked.

Obama replied that many of the things that are happening now are results of years of negotiations and work. Obviously, Obama appeared on the show at least in part to discuss the Iran nuclear deal. Stewart noted that after the years and decades of bombing first, “diplomacy sounds interesting.”

“We might as well try it, see what happens,” Obama joked.

Obama admitted that this peace agreement is not the last step and that Iran will continue to cause us problems. He also sent out a nod to Israel, who is against the agreement and said we will continue to need them.

Stewart then asked Obama if the media was focusing on the wrong things and demanding too much of him and of government in general. Obama answered, “some (medias) get on my nerves more than others.” (Guess who that might be.) He said that journalism and media is supposed to be tough on government. The problem, though is that “it gets distracted by shiny objects and doesn’t always focus on the big tough choices and decisions that have to be made.”

Here’s the video: