With the Senate lacking the two-thirds majority it would need to stop him, President Obama will succeed in implementing his nuclear deal with Iran. At this point, barring a miracle, Obama has outmaneuvered the Congress and won that fight.
He has also lost the argument.
For all the millions of dollars they promised to spend influencing public opinion, his allies failed to put a dent in the overwhelming opposition among the American public. The demeaning videos they trotted out featuring vapid celebrities failed to convince the undecided to embrace this deal. Nor could they assuage the glaring problems in its terms for those following closely enough to feel confident expressing an opinion.
A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that support for the Iran deal has significantly ebbed over the last two months. Meanwhile, opposition has hardened and the ranks of the uncertain have grown.
In July, when the campaign of persuasion had just begun, 33 percent supported the deal, with 45 percent opposed and another 22 percent undecided. Today, approval of the deal has plummeted to just 21 percent. Forty-nine percent say they oppose it outright, a small uptick from before, but the main development is that the ranks of the undecided have grown. The trend against the deal includes voters of every partisan identification. Only 42 percent of Democrats support it now, along with 20 percent of independents and only 6 percent of Republicans.
The bottom line is that Obama and his Democratic supporters in this matter — including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — own this deal. Before its terms were even known, they were already preparing to wield what partisan power they had in order to wiggle it through without the support of Congress or the public. They thus own all of the negative consequences it brings.
Clinton, even in emphatically supporting the deal, describes her attitude toward Iran as “distrust but verify.” She condemns herself out of her own mouth. The deal allows Iran to inspect its own suspected nuclear weapons development site. It does not contain the “anytime, anywhere” inspections that Obama administration officials promised.
Clinton also promises that as president, she would press for the release of American prisoners held in Iran. Any competent negotiator would have demanded this at the very beginning of talks with Iran. After all, the U.S. agreed to release Iranian arms smugglers who were being held in the West.
Hopefully, this deal’s consequences will not be as dire as expected. But even the deal’s backers understand that they have made enormous concessions and given billions to Iran that will be used for terrorism, in exchange for — at best — a temporary slowdown in Iran developing nuclear weapons. For an administration and a party that likes to denigrate opponents as being on “the wrong side of history,” it’s quite a wake-up call.