Commentary

Dems Bail on Standing Up to Iran

By Daniel Horowitz | January 30, 2015 | 5:11pm EST

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., left, will be succeeded this year as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Two days ago, Hezbollah – Iran’s proxy army in Lebanon – attacked Israel’s northern border and killed two Israeli soldiers.

There’s also strong evidence that they were behind the murder of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who exposed Iran as the perpetrator of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

At the same time, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) backed out of his own bipartisan bill to institute sanctions on Iran and has replaced it with a weak bill that strips out Israel’s right to defend itself.

As we noted earlier, Menendez sent a letter to Obama signed by nine Democrats, expressing their intent to grant him more time to strike a deal with Iran on negotiations over their nuclear weapons program.

Amazingly, some players on the Hill in the foreign policy establishment are lauding this development as progress.  Why? They contend that the letter implicitly places 10 Democrats on the record as supporting sanctions – at least when the new deadline for negotiations expires in late-March. However, there is no time to bring any sanctions bill to the floor before that point.

They also contend that we should just wait until we have 67 committed votes to push an Iran sanctions bill with enough votes to override Obama’s veto.

This thought process is short-sighted and misguided.

Conservatives should not wait for yet another phony ‘bipartisan breakthrough’ for a number of reasons:

1)    Let’s put aside the absurdity of negotiating with Iran in the first place as they commit genocide through their global terror network, and overthrow a pro-U.S. government in Yemen, while those discussions are ongoing.  Menendez and the “hawkish” Democrats already drew their line in the sand on last year’s deadline for Iran to come clean.  More than 10 Democrats are already on record by co-sponsoring this bill over a year ago.  They capitulated because of Obama.  That will not change in March or April.

2)    State Department officials already made it clear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing that March 24 is not really the deadline. They are talking up June as the deadline. This will give Democrats more wiggle room.

3)    Most importantly, there is no question as to what Menendez will or won’t do in March.  He has already permanently jettisoned the original bill (S.1881). He got his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), to introduce a new bill that is completely watered down.  So even if these Democrats are committed to some sanctions, they will only support a vacuous resolution.  They will never embarrass Obama by overriding his veto on the original bill.  In fact, the Banking Committee already marked up the bill.  There are a number of problems with this iteration, including expansion of waivers that essentially allow Obama to void out the sanctions.  Also, the new bill strips out the non-binding “sense of the Senate” that Israel has the right to defend itself.  This goes to show just how far Menendez and his Democrats are committed to not offending Obama.   Senator Vitter (R-LA) was able to add that provision back in, but it clearly demonstrates that Menendez and Schumer deviated too far from Obama’s position.  Furthermore, when Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attempted to amend the bill to ensure that sanctions actually take effect in June and limit Obama’s waiver authority, Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) joined with Democrats to defeat it.  Hence, a worthless, toothless bill.

Instead of tossing liberals a loin cloth and bailing them out of their own mendacity, Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, should immediately introduce something akin to the original Kirk-Menendez bill and pass it out to the floor.  Ideally, he’d introduce something stronger that imposes immediate sanctions, such as the Cruz/Franks bill from last year.

For far too long, this committee has worshiped bipartisanship and refuses to move anything not enthusiastically embraced by Democrats and their apologists at the foreign policy lobbying shops.  Obama’s coddling of the Iranian regime while they commit global genocide and work against our interests, coupled with the unwillingness of Democrats to break from him in any meaningful way, should put an end to this charade.

There are few issues as morally clear as sanctions on genocidal maniacs.

Fighting the farcical negations might not be popular with the foreign policy eggheads in Washington, but it would be embraced by the overwhelming majority of voters.  It’s time for conservatives to seize control over the immoral appeasement of Iran and immediately put forth their own bill.

It takes a willing partner to “govern” in a bipartisan way, and Obama has made it clear that, even as it relates to bedrock issues of fighting Iranian terror, his party will have no part of it.

Daniel Horowitz is the Senior Editor of Conservative Review. He has previously worked with and written for Madison Project, RedState and Breitbart. Follow him on twitter @RMConservative.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Conservative Review.

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