But the theatrics attending the conflict between the two leaders — standing ovations in Congress; Democrats skipping the speech; etc. — will eventually fade from the headlines. And the talks with Iran could ultimately lead to another conflict: A split among Democrats, with ramifications for the 2016 presidential race.
Consider: If the Obama administration and other world powers do reach a deal with Iran, Hillary Clinton — the all-but-certain Democratic nominee — will presumably have to take a clear position on it.
In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg last August, Clinton said that Israel’s position in opposition to any Iranian enrichment capacity is “not an unrealistic position,” seemingly laying down a harder line than the Obama administration. However, Clinton had previously claimed some enrichment is acceptable under certain circumstances, and last month she came out against legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran, which the administration fears could scuttle the nuclear talks.
The bottom line is that a deal with Iran would likely exert pressure on her to firm up her position. While it seems likely Clinton would back any such deal, any hedging is likely to provoke anger on the left.
Indeed, in another piece of Iran-related news, two major progressive groups — MoveOn and CREDO Action — are vowing a campaign against any Democrats who undermine a nuclear deal with Iran. The heads of the two groups write:
If these talks fail because of unwarranted congressional meddling, Democrats who side with Republicans will be at fault. And progressive activists will hold them accountable for the rest of their careers in politics. The United States is facing a historic opportunity to make the region and the world more secure without resorting to war. We agree with our allies, negotiating partners and scores of national security experts: Congress should hold its fire and let diplomacy work.
Democratic base voters also appear to side with the administration on this matter. Wherever Clinton ends up coming out on such a deal, you could easily see some Congressional Democrats either supporting new sanctions legislation — which could undermine the deal’s prospects — or coming out against the deal itself, particularly if Netanyahu’s speech is portrayed in the media as a huge success. Which is to say that beyond today’s media spectacle loom the prospect of serious divisions among Democrats.
* BOEHNER EXPECTED TO CAVE IN HOMELAND SECURITY BATTLE: CNN reports:
Boehner is expected to move soon — as early as Wednesday — to bring up the clean [Senate] bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for a vote on the House floor, according to two House GOP sources familiar with leadership discussions…Boehner’s allies are expected to push rank-and-file members to vote for the clean DHS bill, making the argument that they support fighting back against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but it’s time to move on from waging the battle on a critical spending bill that funds domestic security.
Really, nobody could have predicted this outcome. Just as during the last few showdowns, we were told Boehner couldn’t possibly avert this crisis by passing something with a lot of Democrats, because he’d lose his Speakership. That won’t happen this time, either. Boehner is helpless! Except, you know, he actually isn’t.
We would allow parents to keep children on their plan until age 26. We would prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. We would protect people with existing conditions…we would offer those in the affected states a tax credit to buy insurance.
Sound familiar? Absent any numbers, it’s impossible to evaluate this “alternative” or its purported methods for accomplishing those goals. This seems like the latest transparent effort to create the impression that Republicans will have a contingency plan in place for the millions who might lose subsidies.
That states were unaware of any conditions on ACA subsidies when they decided whether or not to participate complements the federalist argument that the architects of the challenge once made themselves. Not only is the threat coercive — it’s also invisible….For Kennedy — and John Roberts as well — that’s a highly animating concern. It’s also one of many good reasons to uphold the subsidies. Alabama, Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have passed anti-Obamacare amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And more than 1 million people in those five states would lose tax credits if the high court rules against the Obama administration later this year, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
In 2016, the Republicans seem to have their backs to the wall, defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10…Meanwhile, Republicans must defend seven incumbents that represent states carried by President Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Dems would have to win GOP-held seats in five Obama states to take back the Senate, presuming they hold the seats they are favored to keep. They’d only have to win GOP-held seats in four Obama states if they win the presidency, because the Vice President would be a tie-breaker. Still, as Sabato notes, this outcome is “far from a sure thing.”