Belmont Club

What Lies Beneath

When Nancy Pelosi predicted that the US Supreme Court would rule in Obamacare’s favor by a 6-3 margin, was she just guessing? Or has the administration been more persuasive than is commonly thought? “I’m predicting 6-3 in favor,” she said during an hour-long discussion with the Paley Center for Media. “But we shall see. It’s a lesson in civics and I respect it, I respect the court and judicial review.”

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough suggests that if the court goes in Obama’s favor it may be because Justice Kennedy is afraid of the New York Times.

“It’s over the top, so much so that you sense [the New York Times] is playing Anthony Kennedy… because they know Anthony Kennedy is scared to death of the New York Times editorial page.”

“It’s amazing that you would have a newspaper that is playing a Supreme Court Justice,” Scarborough added.

In her column, titled ‘Men In Black,’ Dowd argues that the Supreme Court “has squandered even the semi-illusion that it is the unbiased, honest guardian of the Constitution. It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes.”

Logically that means that if SCOTUS upholds Obamacare 6-3 as Pelosi predicts, it can only be because it is not honest the guardian of the Constitution. But logic has little in common with either Dowd or Obama; that indictment probably only applies if the justices rule against it. If they rule for it, then it will be “settled law” and “mainstream” forever.

Glenn Reynolds argues that the Obama administration’s preferred method of operation is the pre-emptive attack. They will sucker punch you and claim you hit them.  A lot of people hated the court, he says, but “even the segregationists waited until after the Court had ruled, though.”

Why wait?

Pre-emption was also in evidence in foreign affairs, but this Pearl Harbor was not directed against America’s supposed enemies, but at its allies. Mark Perry at Foreign Policy writes an article strongly implies that the Obama administration is pre-emptively leaking Israeli military cooperation arrangements with Azerbaijan to protect Iran from a potential strike. Perry says officials told him that Israel was acquiring airfields on Iran’s northern border, something that may not have been common knowledge.

according to several high-level sources I’ve spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the “submerged” aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance — the security cooperation between the two countries — is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran …

In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. “The Israelis have bought an airfield,” a senior administration official told me in early February, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”

Senior U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Israel’s military expansion into Azerbaijan complicates U.S. efforts to dampen Israeli-Iranian tensions, according to the sources. Military planners, I was told, must now plan not only for a war scenario that includes the Persian Gulf — but one that could include the Caucasus. The burgeoning Israel-Azerbaijan relationship has also become a flashpoint in both countries’ relationship with Turkey, a regional heavyweight that fears the economic and political fallout of a war with Iran. Turkey’s most senior government officials have raised their concerns with their U.S. counterparts, as well as with the Azeris, the sources said.

Well if the Iranians didn’t know about Azerbaijan, they know now. Lee Smith says that this may be a blatant tip-off.  “A number of Israeli journalists, led by Ron Ben-Yishai, one of the country’s esteemed security correspondents, claimed that Mark Perry’s article was clear evidence the White House was leaking critical information about Israel’s strategy in order to pressure Jerusalem to abandon its war plans and wait for the administration’s sanctions to bring the Iranian regime to its knees.” Maybe they’ll have to wait a long time. But for what it is worth, John Bolton believes the administration is alerting Iran, the administration acting as their Chain Home system, so to speak. Smith continues:

“The leak is entirely consistent with what we know about Obama’s view on the Iranian nuclear weapons program,” John Bolton, former ambassador the United Nations, told me in a phone interview. Bolton argues that the White House has purposefully stripped Israel of its tactical surprise. “First [Defense Secretary] Panetta gave a likely date for a prospective attack, April or May, and now unnamed sources leak a likely place where the attacks might be launched from.”

But other analysts have pointed out that this may simply be the administration being its old, lying self. The administration lies, habitually, in the same compulsive way a chain smoker lights a new cigarette with the stub of the old. Elliot Abrahams told Lee Smith that the administration sometimes lies  for no discernible purpose:

“I think the story is absurd,” Elliot Abrams, deputy national security adviser under George W. Bush, told me. “It suggests not that Azerbaijan might allow or wink at a Mossad team, not that it might allow an IAF [Israeli Air Force] plane that was in distress to land, but that a hundred IAF jets could use Azerbaijan—that it would be the heart of the attack on Iran. Who could possibly believe that?” As Abrams pointed out, there’s no way Azerbaijan could claim innocence in an attack of that scale. “Why would the Azeris make their neighbor, their larger and stronger neighbor, into a permanent enemy by joining in an attack on it?” …

Abrams sees this potentially fake leak as part of a larger pattern. “I was suspicious of this because some of these so-called leaks against the Obama Administration are simply false. For instance, during the Netanyahu visit, there was a story that the Israelis asked for the U.S.’s larger and newer bunker busters but was turned down. I believe that’s just plain false. Those are massive 30,000 pound bombs meant for a B-2 bomber, and they cannot be delivered by any plane the Israelis have,” he said. “One thing that these leaks have in common is to make you mad at Obama. But this doesn’t bring you closer to who is responsible for leaking it.”

This dichotomy encapsulates the two rival viewpoints of the administration’s critics. Some see it as malevolent; while others believe it is simply incompetent. Is it the Evil Clown or just the clown? That is the 64 trillion dollar question.

Insofar as the SCOTUS decision is concerned, does Nancy Pelosi’s believe that Obamacare will be approved by 6-3 indicate she thinks the fix is in? Or is she simply talking, as she has done, in the same spirit with which she shepherded Obamacare through Congress, in the belief that what you don’t know doesn’t matter?

Like Pelosi says, ‘We shall see.’  And if she doesn’t like what she sees, then the fun begins.

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