I haven't yet read the Nuclear Arms Deal between the U.S. and Iran, or even any details about it, but then if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can denounce it without having read it -- indeed if GOP presidential candidates can be outraged by it, along with conservative hawks can, as well, without having read it or knowing all the details -- I suppose it's fair game for anyone to comment.
For one thing, I find it amusing what the National Memo wrote: "Republican candidates warn that Iran Deal could lead to the war they want to have anyway."
And yes, that's a bit of a cheap shot, but a lot less cheap than criticizing a deal you haven't seen. Especially when you are running for President of the United States and therefore have a voice in a position of responsibility. And yes, just because one can want to go a war with a nation doesn't mean you want conditions to change before that can happen. Mind you, those changed conditions might well be to your advantage. And in the end, even a cheap shot can be valid. Just easy and glib.
For another thing, though, and more to the point, I remain in awe of the aggressive activity of Barack Obama as a "lame duck" president. And not only lame duck, but after having his party having lost both houses of Congress. And after six years of having been blocked by Republicans to the extent of having less legislation passed by any Congress in U.S. history.
Among other things --
He normalized relations with Cuba.
Signed an executive order protecting undocumented workers from deportation and to keep families together if parents are undocumented but children are legal residents.
Negotiated a Climate Change deal with China to reduce greenhouse gas.
Tightened EPA limits on ozone emissions.
Imposed strong economic sanctions again Russia which, with lower oil prices, caused severe economic restrictions.
Raised the threshold under which salaried employees can get overtime pay.
Negotiated a new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
And, of course, signed the aforementioned nuclear arms pact with Iran.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting everyone has to agree that all these achievements are A Good Thing. That's a personal choice and between an individual and their God. I'm just noting that since becoming a Lame Duck President only a mere eight months ago, a period when most presidents begin to fade into obscurity, this is a massive amount of action and in such a short time. Keep in mind that there are still 16 more months to go in his presidency.
And keep in mind too that this accomplishments don't include carry-over things like how the Obama economic policy continues to lower unemployment to 5.3 percent and increase 200,000 new job a month. And how open-enrollment to health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act continues to rise to the degree with the percentage of uncovered Americans has plummeted. Nor does it include Supreme Court rulings pushed by his Administration, such as marriage equality and defense of the ACA.
The main thing that I find hard to grasp is, as I noted above, how active President Obama has been in eight months after six years of being blocked by Republicans in Congress. I think the only explanation is that for those first six years, the president (much as Republicans try to suggest otherwise) was trying to be diplomatic and reach accommodations with the GOP and kept getting hindered at most-every step. But once becoming a lame duck in the final two years of his term in office, he knew that he had nothing to lose by finally accepting that Republicans would try to block everything he wanted to do, so he should be as assertive as possible.
If all the president did, though, during his final two years in office was have a nuclear arms deal with Iran, it would be a stunning action.
Like most people -- including Republicans running for president, conservatives in general and most world leaders -- I don't know the details of the deal. But I've read enough about what has been made public on the agreement and its safeguards, and read enough reaction from people who do know what's in the pact to feel that it's an impressive, protective step towards world safety with a nation pretty much no one felt would even sit down with the Great Satan, let alone agree to anything.
I understand that Republicans and conservative world leaders don't want there to be a nuclear arms deal with Iran negotiated by President Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It goes against the picture painted by them for six years that they've been trying to sell to their base.
What I don't understand is, once such a deal is in place, why Republicans would be against it working to create a safer world. If such a deal was set and did precisely what it was laid out to, help protect against nuclear proliferation, with strong safeguards and the ability to void the deal if there were violations , wouldn't that be a good thing? For pretty much everyone?
As it turns out, surprisingly, the quacking we're hearing isn't coming from a lame duck.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor