Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Even before 2016, the Iran deal has become a fifth election with national campaigns, big speeches, ads, polls and smear campaigns. Obama sees it as his last shot at a legacy, but it’s even bigger than that.
The deal that will let Iran go nuclear encompasses every bad thing about him in one package.
Internally, there’s the campaign. Obama doesn’t just enact policies. He conducts domestic political warfare. It’s not enough for him to get his way, and he already made it clear to a Democratic congressman opposed to the deal that he will unilaterally remove sanctions even if Congress comes out against the deal, Obama has to turn everything into a larger political war that divides Americans.
Divisiveness is Obama’s strength. His political power is based on dividing and conquering Americans.
Four years after his disastrous attack on Libya resulted in the death of five Americans and ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda taking over entire cities, and a year after the failure of his Iraq policy forced him to go back, Obama sees the Iran deal as an opportunity to refight Iraq War debates.
Obama wants to turn the Iran deal into a referendum on the Iraq War. Over a decade later, he would rather refight campaigns against Bush and Hillary than answer difficult questions about his own policies.
And then there’s the opportunity for a fight with Jewish groups. The pro-Israel demographic has long been a thorn in the side of the left flank of the Democratic Party. Obama isn’t accidentally blowing dog whistles. He relishes the chance for a power struggle with the Jewish community, dispatching his anti-Semitic pal Sharpton to organize black churches while his advisers intimidate senators on social media.
The Obama toolbox is the same no matter what the issue might be. His political allies rush out smear campaigns accusing opponents of everything from treason to racism. The media fills with phony polls. The White House spews lies that it contradicts before denying that it ever contradicted them. Letters by “independent” experts are solicited without those worthies admitting their ties to the White House.
The Iran deal is being sold like ObamaCare. To the White House it’s just another batch of policy sausage to be pushed with misleading infographics, social media talking points and condescending speeches.
The issue isn’t the issue. The issue is always the revolution. And the Obama flavor of revolution is about demonstrating that even the most radical and unpopular policies can be rammed through in defiance of Congress, the Supreme Court and the people through sheer determination. Like the Cultural Revolution, this is as much about a show of power as about any of the actual issues at stake.
From Day 1, Obama has been obsessed with demonstrating that every White House Democrat before him was a weak coward for ever compromising with the other two branches of government. At the top of his legacy of mass political destruction is this demonstration that the will to power is all that matters.
Externally, Obama’s only foreign policy idea is appeasing enemies. In sharp contrast to the way that he seeks to destroy any rival domestic power, whether it’s the Republican political opposition, demographic groups like the Jewish community or the checks and balances of Congress, he appeases enemies from the Muslim Brotherhood to Russia to the Taliban to Cuba to Iran.
The United States never benefits from any of this outreach which always ends the same way. Russia took the Reset Button and decided to reset the USSR. The Taliban bled Americans without the moderates ever showing up. The Muslim Brotherhood spread civil war and terrorism everywhere it took power. And Cuba and Iran continue to mock and threaten America despite Obama’s appeasement.
The transnational left doesn’t have a foreign policy because it doesn’t recognize the existence of nations or borders. Neither does Obama. His foreign policy has been called post-American, but it’s more accurately non-American because it refuses to recognize national interests or foreign threats.
Obama’s foreign policy is just his domestic policy with enemies treated like oppressed minorities. The Taliban were just the illegal aliens flowing across the border. Iran and Cuba are the thugs rioting in Ferguson. American national security is as meaningless as the property rights of Baltimore store owners.
Enemies are aided and allies are undermined in the name of social justice. And the aftermath is ashes and war.
Obama’s foreign policy has been one long string of miserable disasters, but we’re expected not to acknowledge that or allow it to influence our views as he promotes his latest foreign policy disaster. Forget giving Iran the benefit of the doubt, why after a track record of horrible disasters in the region, is Obama entitled to any benefit of the doubt on Iran?
There’s nothing new about this latest disaster. Only the stakes are bigger because they’re nuclear.
The Iran deal is where his foreign policy and his domestic endless campaign finally fully meet. After a failed war in Libya, the Arab Spring disaster, thousands of Americans dead and wounded in Afghanistan, Russian and Chinese expansionism, a failed peace deal in Israel bought with the freedom of terrorists; this is the first time his foreign policy is running into serious and determined opposition at home.
Obama sees this as the return of the coalition between national security Democrats and Republicans. But while he frames his opponents in terms of the Iraq War, his Democratic and Republican opponents are too polite to frame his Iran deal in terms of Libya, Iraq and the Arab Spring. None of them are willing to call out the Iran deal as an extension and a culmination of his disastrous foreign policy.
This isn’t just a bad idea. It’s all of Obama’s bad ideas wrapped in one ugly stinking pile of ordure.
It’s appeasement wrapped in the permanent campaign. It’s the ‘right side of history’ argument being made by a man who flunked history, who runs away from his failures by running against George Bush. It’s smear campaigns and lies being vomited up by an administration whose boss likes to pretend that he’s above telling crazy lies or accusing his critics of treason. It’s the whole total Obama experience.
Obama’s ‘Lobby of Rich Warmongers and Traitors’ Iran deal campaign has infuriated both Senate Democrats and American Jews, and has alienated everyone except the loyalists who will go on repeating his talking points until doomsday even as an Iranian nuke detonates in the sky above their penthouses.
And by Obama standards, that’s a victory.
Obama doesn’t set out to win arguments. He purges the party and purifies the base with controversial policies defended dishonestly and implemented incompetently. He would rather have a smaller and purer Democratic Party that is centered around the left than a big tent that includes opposing voices.
His entire strategy was to make every future Democratic candidate dependent on the Obama Coalition. And he’s done that. Hillary has abandoned her attempt at appealing to the working class white voters her husband did well with and is focused on the Obama Coalition. She even threw some of her Jewish supporters overboard by endorsing the Iran deal. To win, Hillary has to become another Obama.
Obama wasn’t just out to reshape America. He was determined to reshape the Democratic Party. In his final time in office, he intends to purge pro-Israel voices from the Democratic Party. The pro-Israel Democrat, like the pro-life Democrat or the national security Democrat is meant to become a relic.
He may not succeed, but the political machine behind him will keep rolling on even after he’s out of office to push the party further to the left and away from Israel. Eventually the Democratic Party will become as inhospitable to Jews as the UK Labour Party. That is Obama’s endgame.
Obama is using Iran and Cuba to reshape domestic political affiliation by getting rid of two groups, American Jews and Cubans, who have tugged the party to the right on national security. He’s playing games with national security not just because he favors America’s enemies, but because he wants to transform America.
This isn’t just another issue. It’s the ugly face of Obama’s divisive and destructive policies.