You have to think that Senator Chuck Schumer had an inkling of what he was in for from members of his own party when he announced on Thursday that he was going to defy his president and vote against the Iran nuclear agreement. He is, after all, an experienced politician and he almost certainly was under no illusions about what the White House and other Senators thought of his defection.
But the hysterical, over the top response by left wing extremists is probably a surprise. And the threat by some White House aides to oppose his replacing Harry Reid as party leader in the Senate is probably leading to thoughts of betrayal simply for voting his conscience.
Activists and former top officials within the Obama administration are openly contemplating whether Schumer’s stance disqualifies him from serving as the next Senate Democratic leader — which he is primed to do — and seeking to temporarily cut off money to Democrats in the upper chamber.
It’s unclear whether Schumer’s announcement will have a devastating effect on the White House’s efforts to prevent Democrats from killing the deal when it comes up for a vote in Congress next month.
But it’s clear that he will be Public Enemy No. 1 for liberal activists throughout the August recess, as they aim to rally support from Democrats on the agreement.
“This is a real and serious backlash, one that comes from deep within the Democratic Party’s base, and I think we’re only going to see it grow,” said Becky Bond, the political director for Credo Action.
Liberal groups including Credo, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America are rallying supporters to flood congressional mailboxes and town halls over the course of the next month to demand lawmakers support the agreement. On Friday, they launched a new website, 60DaysToStopAWar.com, to list upcoming town halls and aid in the push.
Late on Thursday evening, Schumer upended the congressional debate over the Iran agreement by announcing in a lengthy statement that he “must oppose the agreement” and “will vote yes on a motion of disapproval” when it comes up for a vote in September.
He also will vote to override President Obama’s veto of legislation to kill the deal, Schumer’s office confirmed.
The move puts Schumer at odds on the most significant foreign policy issue of the year with both Obama and Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
That left many liberals furious, and stunned at how the presumptive next Senate Democratic leader could break with virtually every other leader of their party.
Even though the No. 3 Senate Democrat released his statement in the middle of the first GOP presidential debate — practically ensuring it would be buried in the media — activist groups including MoveOn and Credo pounced within moments.
“No real Democratic leader does this,” MoveOn.org political action executive director Ilya Sheyman declared less than 30 minutes after Schumer’s statement was posted online. “If this is what counts as ‘leadership’ among Democrats in the Senate, Senate Democrats should be prepared to find a new leader or few followers.”
Moveon is instructing its members not to donate to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, as well as any Democratic Senators who oppose the deal.
#60daystostopawar? What a massive exaggeration. Obama stood idly by for 3 years while Iran was working on a bomb. Why should he attack Iran if Congress won’t approve the deal? The answer is, he won’t. Whatever the Congress does, he will ignore.
But what about 2016 and the possibility of a Republican president taking a more realistic view of Iranian intentions? Attacking Iran will probably not be one of the first items of business, although abrogating the agreement will be right up there. Still, with the rest of Europe standing by the deal, whoever is president is going to have to go it alone in preventing Iran from possessing nuclear weapons by any means necessary.
I’d feel sorry for Schumer except he is one of the architects of the modern Democratic party and helped create these monstrous extremist groups who have now set their sights on him.