Over the years, the Republicans have likened President Obama to a "dictator" or "tyrant". Why? Because despite all their protestations and machinations to prevent him from accomplishing his goals, he has managed to use the laws currently in place to find an avenue for progress. The anguish of impotence within the Republican-led Congress is palpable. They can't seem to understand why their pernicious tactics never seem to work.
Such is the case with the nuclear deal that we negotiated with Iran and several other countries. Because it didn't involve forcing Iran to cry "Uncle!", they consider it a bad deal. They've preached dire warnings, and demanded a "better" deal, with nary a clue as to what that means nor how to accomplish it. It's political theater at its worst.
The House has already had a non-binding (ie: toothless, ineffectual, worthless) vote on a resolution
condemning the deal. It's all preemptive fodder for upcoming re-election campaigns, and - like the votes to repeal the ACA - a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, when there's a budget funding bill that requires their attention.
The deal itself has been scrutinized to death by all manner of partisans and analysts, but it's fairly solid
, and better than no deal. The main goal is to use both carrots and sticks to discourage Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon. The Republicans appear to want all sticks, preferably American-made Louisville sluggers with spikes in them. In their own feeble macho imaginations, that would work. In reality, of course, the only way Iran was ever going to agree to anything was if their funds were unfrozen, and sanctions lifted. Republicans think we're wrong to "trust" them, but of course it's all about verification, not trust.
Nevertheless, the Senate Republicans tried to block the deal, and have utterly failed
. This is how our democracy works, this is how our rules and laws are set up, and it's driving them nuts:
"A strong, bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to reject the deal. A strong, bipartisan majority of the Senate would vote to reject the deal too," McConnell said. "If only Democrat senators would stop blocking the American people from even having a final vote on one of the most consequential foreign policy issues of our age."
Making his case for a vote, McConnell quoted Obama as saying, "I believe Congress owes the American people a final up or down vote."
This is laughable. The American people had a vote last year when they put enough Democrats into Congress to prevent the Republicans from having a filibuster-proof majority. You know - that filibuster that the Republicans used on every single bill
that the Democrats tried to bring to an "up or down vote" when the Democrats controlled the Senate. Turnabout is fair play, and the Republicans hate having to play fair.
That is why some frustrated Republican senators are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to invoke the so-called "nuclear option" (no pun intended)
to bring the resolution to the floor for an up-or-down vote. This would effectively eliminate the 60-vote filibuster - probably for good. McConnell - despite being a loathsome politician - is likely smart enough to realize they will probably be losing control of the Senate next year, and eliminating the filibuster would come back to haunt them.
If they did so, they would be able to push through numerous other bills they've had to sit on. They would get vetoed, of course, and they certainly don't have the votes to override a veto, so there doesn't seem to be an upside for them to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster.
For now, though: pass the popcorn.