It may be years before the political fallout of the Senate’s mostly party-line vote Thursday to preserve the Iran nuclear agreement becomes clear. But it’s already a defining campaign issue — and like the Iraq War and Obamacare votes last decade, looks likely to remain a stark dividing line in many election cycles to come.
Republicans are plotting to make Democrats pay dearly for backing an agreement the GOP argues hinges on an historic enemy of the United States playing nice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to return to the floor next week to force Democrats to take more votes Republicans say they’ll regret as soon as Iran violates the terms of the deal or sponsors terrorist attacks, which critics believe is just a matter of time.
After years of focusing on Obamacare, it is refreshing to see the Republicans find a new windmill to tilt at for 2016. Again, however, it is hinging its hopes upon something being bad for America. True, the Democrats do a lot of bad things for America, but the Republicans keep letting them.
So excuse me if I don’t get excited when they decide to get tough after the fact.
Honestly, the likelihood that this will be more disastrous than the first two years of Obamacare between now and November of next year isn’t great. Sure, the GOP, largely thanks to the Tea Party movement it loathes, was able to use Obamacare opposition effectively in the midterm elections but blundered monumentally in 2012 and got nothing from its one-note rallying cry.
The one difference here that might help is that this deal is already less popular than Obamacare was in 2012. What makes many who are weary of the present weakness in the GOP establishment throw up their hands in frustration is that this is another backward-looking strategy, focused on something that’s already happened rather than something forward-looking to sell the party to the American electorate. The former is a fine strategy when in the minority, but there is a rumor that the Republicans control both chambers of Congress now.
Nothing verifiable on the front so far, however.