Forty-nine senators have signed on to the Iran sanctions bill, and more will. Traditionally pro-Israel Democrats Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) have yet to sign on. Among Republicans, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who once tried to ingratiate himself with pro-Israel Christian conservatives, has not signed on. (Continuing his pattern of separating himself from Paul’s reflexive isolationism, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has signed on.)
The bipartisan roster exerts pressure on Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to make good on his promise to bring the bill to the floor.
The anti-sanctions crowd remains a gaggle made up of far-left activists, State Department sycophants and reluctant Democratic chairmen dragooned into opposing the measure by the White House. As to the first group, you know when the hit squad and consistently anti-Israel gang at Think Progress starts sending out hysterical e-mails citing the far-left Ploughshares Fund and the Obama-dominated Center for American Progress that sanctions are going to start a war that the anti-sanctions effort is scraping the bottom of the barrel. It’s a scurrilous charge (identical to the one the mullahs are using) to make about senators — including Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Ben Cardin (Md.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.) — who are actually sticking with the administration’s own words that sanctions are useful to pressure Iran to dismantle its illegal nuclear weapons program.
Just as before lopsided votes in favor of sanctions, a small cadre of ex-State Department and intelligence community hacks (including Thomas Pickering of the Benghazi review board) sent yet another letter urging the Democratic Senate Foreign Affairs chairman, Menendez, to back off. Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton dubbed this “the very essence of the State Department’s dominant culture on display.” (More colorfully, an ex-State Department official critical of Obama’s Iran policy wise-cracked, “If there is one thing they do not know how to do it’s negotiate. Listen, when the UAW goes in to wrestle concessions out of Ford, do you think they say, ‘I know, what we need is a retired ambassador to negotiate for us!’?) Menendez reminded viewers on MSNBC that this gang opposed sanctions consistently but it was Menendez and others’ fortitude on sanctions that brought the Iranians to the table.
So blind loyalty to the White House, State Department-itis and leftists routinely hypercritical of Israel (do they realize Iranian missiles will eventually reach Europe and the Middle East?) are running as fast as they can to head off what the Iranians most fear: sanctions that will preclude them from getting substantial economic relief and keeping their hope alive to retain enrichment capabilities in defiance of four U.N. resolutions. Do Democrats and Republican isolationists really want to join this crowd?