web analytics
April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Partisan Politics And Iran


On the face of it, Iran ought not to be a source of much partisan strife. Few on even the far left or far right are going to say anything nice about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or his mullah masters, or be willing to defend the Islamic republic’s support for terrorism throughout the Middle East, including its sponsorship of Hizbullah and alliance with Hamas.

And what reasonable person is not scared to death of the idea of Tehran achieving its ambition of acquiring nuclear capability, in addition to the possibility that it would have within its grasp a weapon that would make its oft-stated goal of eradicating the State of Israel a very real possibility?

But that notwithstanding, the administration’s push to start putting pressure on Iran to back away from its nuclear program is not exactly generating across the board support.

That became apparent this month after President Bush’s statement that a nuclear Iran could lead directly to World War III. Further reporting in many newspapers pointed to Vice President Dick Cheney as one of the main advocates in the administration of strong action to stop Tehran.

Yet rather than regarding Bush’s ultimatum as a sensible warning to Ahmadinejad, the reaction from many in the chattering and political classes was close to panic.

In response, a New York Times editorial spoke as if the nation’s leaders needed to be committed to a mental institution. And on the campaign trail, an unexceptional White House-backed measure to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization became the subject of a highly charged debate between the Democratic candidates for president.

When the Senate voted on the measure, Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, acting like someone who actually believes she will become commander-in-chief, voted yes. But two of her challengers, Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden, voted no. Former senator and fellow presidential hopeful John Edwards joined them in chiding Hillary because they consider it a first step toward granting Bush the power to wage war on Iran.

While Clinton stood her ground, she couched the defense of her vote in such a way as to possibly preclude any support for the future use of force against Iran. This might be put down as just a tempest in a primary teapot, but there is every indication that anger over this vote is something Clinton’s opponents will be seeking to tap into, especially as her lead in the polls widens.

All of which means that rather than a point of consensus, the need to stop Iran is likely to become a wedge issue in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, since many of those who will vote in them are actually more afraid of Bush than they are of Iran.

Liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen acknowledged this when he wrote recently to support the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Noting that Iran is responsible not only for terror in Iraq but for the massacre of scores of Jewish victims in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Cohen sees the growing opposition to a strong stance against Iran as a rerun of the crippling defeatism that sapped the will of Britain and France to resist Hitler in the 1930’s. He blames this all on Bush and Cheney, whose pre-war statements on Iraq have engendered cynicism about intelligence matters and Middle East-based threats.

Whether or not the administration deserves all of the blame here, what Cohen was acknowledging is that the demon-like status of Bush and Cheney that has become a cornerstone of partisan rhetoric is now the greatest obstacle to mobilizing support for action on Iran.

Like Cohen, you can dump on Bush all you want for the mistakes in Iraq and the stalemate in Afghanistan while giving him no credit for anything. But for those who understand what a nuclear Iran will mean, accepting this situation is not an option. So long as many on the left and even some in the center view anything that the administration supports as inherently evil, it’s going to mean the campaign to pressure Iran will be a divisive issue that will inevitably fail.

Knowledgeable observers see Clinton as being more than willing to support the use of U.S. power against a terrorist state – provided she’s the one ordering the use of force and not Bush. If she wins next November, that will be a reasonable position once she’s sworn in as president in January 2009. Yet Clinton will be pressed in the intervening 15 months to distance herself from anything Bush does.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Partisan Politics And Iran”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Biggest Democratic Foe of Obama on Iran Indicted
Latest Indepth Stories
Colonel John Henry Patterson, Commander of the Jewish Legion

An eye-witness claimed, “British troops just stood by” while Arab attacked Jews in then Palestine

Indeed, some caucus members based their decision to stay away from Mr. Netanyahu’s speech on their contention that the Israeli leader had disrespected America’s first black president.

These are fundamental issues for Israel’s security and yet Mr. Abbas refuses even to acknowledge them as grist for negotiations.

Those seeking accounting, finance, business, healthcare, technology, etc., will often enter a specialized graduate degree “track” created by Lakewood’s Professional Career Services, in conjunction with local institutions of higher education, for our alumni.

We are grateful to Hashem that we have been privileged to institute this program and that over the years we have experienced tremendous siyata d’shmaya, with the program spreading throughout the world and its membership rapidly rising.

Indifference to the pain of the many singles should require us to have our heart, not head, examined

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Tobin-012315

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem at the President's Residence, February 2014 (archive)

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/partisan-politics-and-iran/2007/11/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: