McConnell’s Perfidy: Israel Under the Bus
BY JEFFREY LORD
The degree of outright treachery on behalf of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate — this time throwing Israel under the bus to please President Obama’s desire not to offend Iran — raises the obvious question.
What was the point of electing a GOP Senate? Can someone please remind?
Coming on the heels of the realization that the Senate Republicans were terrified to even oppose the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general – with McConnell himself, along with nine other Republicans – actually supporting her nomination? Which in turn followed the refusal of Senate Republicans to defund the Obama executive order on amnesty? And the earlier, 2013, refusal to stop funding Obamacare?
Again: What was the point of electing a GOP Senate?
This latest sell-out revolves around an attempt by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) to do exactly what they promised to do: amend the bill co-sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Democrat Ben Cardin (R-MD) that would allow Senate review of a nuclear deal with Iran. Senator Rubio, who had earlier promised and then backed away from a plan to introduce an amendment to the bill in committee that demanded Iran recognize Israel has now joined with Cotton to have the Israel amendment voted on the Senate floor.
To upset Iran with even a non-binding amendment that supports the idea of an Iranian recognition of Israel is something Obama, and McConnell, refuse to do.
The response from Senator McConnell? He will move to cut off debate — thus short –circuiting the amendment procedure. Why? While the Rubio/Cotton move would be merely symbolic because of the procedure they are using to offer it — in fact President Obama wants nothing attached to this bill that would even come close to ruffling the feathers of the Iranian mullahs. Iran hates Israel and in fact wants it wiped off the face of the earth. To upset Iran with even a non-binding amendment that supports the idea of an Iranian recognition of Israel is something Obama, and McConnell, refuse to do.
In other words? The spirit of Neville Chamberlain lives. And the Senate Republican Leadership is cheering it on.
Without getting too far in the weeds, let’s recount where we are.
As headlined here in Politico:
Iran bill in jeopardy after Cotton, Rubio try to force votes
The story began this way:
After being blocked by Democrats for several days, Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rubio (R-Fla.) used a parliamentary procedure to try to compel votes on amendments that would make Iran relinquish its nuclear facilities before getting economic sanctions relief and require that Iran recognize Israel’s statehood as a condition of any nuclear deal. The move blindsided Democrats who had been working with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to pass the bipartisan bill. Afterwards, Corker offered a grim assessment of the state of play. “We have been working very constructively with the other side of the aisle to bring up both very controversial amendments and amendments that will make the bill much stronger,” Corker told reporters. “With the actions that just occurred on the floor that may have changed the dynamic significantly.”
“Changed the dynamic significantly? Finally. Republican senators doing exactly what they were elected to do.
And how is this described? You have to love this. As mentioned, the co-sponsor of this betrayal of Israel is the Democrats’ Maryland Senator Ben Cardin. When Cardin realized that Rubio and Cotton had a serious chance of throwing a monkey wrench into the passage of the Iran bill with their amendment demanding Iranian recognition of Israel? As reported by CNN “Cardin’s voice rose with emotion as he pointed his finger” at Cotton and Rubio, accusing them of introducing “poison pill” amendments that would derail the bill’s approval. In reality, as Cotton himself explained with perfect reasonableness:
I would say these are not poison pills. These are vitamin pills….We have been consistently blocked from bringing up these amendments for a vote. It’s fine if you want to vote no. But we need to vote. We need to vote now.
So what do we have here?
What we have is conservative frustration with the GOP Senate starting to boil over. Before the little kerfuffle cited above there was the introduction of this amendment, described at PJ Media as follows:
To require a certification that Iran has not directly supported or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States or a United States person anywhere in the world
Simple enough, yes? Iran, as we write, is involved in supporting terrorism everywhere from Palestine to Iraq to Yemen and more. So now that the GOP has control of the Senate, how hard is it to get that amendment to the Iran deal passed? Actually it turned out to be impossible. Why?
No one answered this better than Mark Levin. Mark took to the airwaves to say this:
We have eight Republicans who voted ‘no’ on this amendment. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Just got reelected. Had gone back to Tennessee promising Tea Party groups he’s a real conservative… He’s a lying, no good for nothing. Dan Coats of Indiana who has announced he’s not running for reelection. So this man feels he’s as free to be as irresponsible as he chooses. The preposterous, pathetic egomaniac Corker, of Tennessee… The absolutely absurd Jeff Flake of Arizona. Lindsey Graham, who has the nerve to attack Rand Paul – he has the nerve to attack Rand Paul on foreign policy, when Lindsey Graham is helping to lead the way against this amendment! Orrin Hatch, an absolute unmitigated fraud. John McCain, who is up for reelection Arizona! – but you have an open primary system and he’s relying on non-conservatives and non-Republicans to get him the nomination the way Lindsey Graham did in South Carolina. And Senator Perdue from Georgia; I don’t get it, hopefully he’ll put out a statement and explain himself.
And there was more. The other day we mentioned in this space that Senator Rubio had decided to propose that aforementioned amendment to the Iran deal that would be offered as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shaped the Corker-Cardin bill. That amendment would demand that Iran recognize the State of Israel. Of a sudden, Rubio disturbingly backtracked. The amendment vanished, Corker’s bill emerging from the Committee without not only the Rubio amendment attached but with the amendment never even offered. When word got out that Rubio was back, wanting to offer his Israel amendment on the floor of the Senate? Maryland Democrat Cardin, reported Mark Levin, sidled up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and told him that he, Cardin, would not allow a vote on Rubio’s amendment. What to do? Why, but of course, McConnell gave in. There would be no Rubio amendment. No showdown on the GOP-controlled Senate floor demanding Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist. Just silence.
Or so McConnell must have thought. Perhaps stung over his treatment in the committee process, Rubio came back again for another try. Along with Tom Cotton and what Politico describes as “the guidance of top conservative policy aides” the two used a procedural move to make a serious attempt to get this amendment voted on by the full Senate. Thus putting the Senate on record as to its support of Israel – or not – in this “deal” with Iran. Iran – a country that to this minute has pledged to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
President Obama wants none of this demand. So the word has gone forth to kill any ability to amend the Corker-Cardin bill. And Senator McConnell and the Senate GOP Leadership are bowing the Senate GOP knee.
The meaning was clear: nothing could be accomplished until the GOP controls the Senate, and beyond that the presidency.
If it has been said once, it has been said dozens of times by GOP officials, consultants and others. “We (only) control one-half of one-third of the federal government,” complained a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner way back there in 2011 when conservatives were demanding the Speaker use the power of the purse to get things done — or in the case of ObamaCare, undone. The meaning was clear: nothing could be accomplished until the GOP controls the Senate, and beyond that the presidency. So — partial wish granted. As of election night in 2014, the first problem was solved. Republicans now have the Senate. And what happens? What happens is the kind of performance discussed above.
Make no mistake. Whether the issue is Ted Cruz’s attempt to defund ObamaCare in 2013, or the recent fight over defunding the Obama amnesty executive order or defeating Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general or now the Cotton and Rubio “vitamin pill” amendments to the Corker Iran bill, they all have the same source: conservative principle. Taking a stand on conservative principle and staying with it – win or lose.
Suffice to say, in a GOP Senate run by Mitch McConnell — he who just finished voting for Lynch’s nomination — there is only one thing for certain. Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio will now be pressured to, as the Old Bulls of yester-year used to say of the Congress, “go along to get along.” That philosophy is exactly what the conservative base of the GOP believes has gotten the country, not to mention the GOP itself, is so much trouble.
So as this is written? The U.S. Senate — the Republican-controlled US Senate – is about to throw Israel under the bus to appease Senate Democrats, President Obama – and ultimately the mullahs of Iran.
And you wonder why the conservative base is so furious with the GOP Establishment? Again, the obvious question:
Why bother electing — or in the case of the 2016 elections, re-electing — a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate?
– See more at: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2015/05/mcconnells-perfidy-israel-under-the-bus#sthash.iookcRE7.dpuf