(This post has been updated.)
Almost-vice president (ah, but for those hanging chads) Joe Lieberman found a new purpose this week right in his wheelhouse.
The former U.S. senator, a foreign policy hawk Democrat turned Independent who was always one of Israel’s most loyal friends on Capitol Hill, signed on to lead an effort to “educate and inform the American public regarding the serious shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal,” according to a press release.
But Lieberman only got the job because the current chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran had to step down. Why? Because you can’t run an organization that’s against something that you’re actually for.
Yes, somewhere along the way, Gary Samore decided the deal the Obama administration inked with Iran turned out to be a pretty decent one. He has written that it doesn’t end the threat, but it does buy time for the U.S. to keep pressing for change in Iran.
Samore previously served as President Obama’s weapons of mass destruction czar.
“While concerned with many provisions of the Iran deal, Gary ultimately supports the agreement and is stepping down to avoid any conflict with UANI’s work in opposition to the agreement,” the group’s CEO Mark D. Wallace said in a statement.
That’s probably a pretty significant conflict of interest.
Samore said he still has “reservations” about the deal, but if diplomacy is the tool at hand, and not military force, this is probably the best temporary outcome.
He said a number of U.S. senators have reached out privately to get his take on it. He described those conversations as thoughtful and engaging, but at the end of the day suspects any vote will be made because of politics not foreign policy. (Also of note, it’s been reported that GOP rainmaker Sheldon Adelson is a major donor to the United Against Nuclear Iran group.)
“If one or two Republicans come out in public support I’ll be surprised, though (some GOP senators) are privately inclined to, or at at least not disapprove it,” Samore said. “In Washington I don’t know if balanced reason has much place … It’s not the best way to conduct foreign policy but I guess everyone can declare victory.”
Well, as the group undergoes its anti-nuclear deal campaign, Lieberman is certainly a safe bet to lead it. There’s no chance he’s having a change of heart with Israel, best buds John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and now even Chuck Schumer all against it.