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We’re All Hardliners Now

New legislation shows Congress and American public are united in their distrust of Obama's Iran deal.

4:14 PM, Dec 19, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
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Not surprisingly, top administration officials, like Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs and one of the key members of the team negotiating with Iran, have been lobbying intensely against the bill. Undoubtedly her argument is that, as White House spokesman Jay Carney put it, limiting the negotiating team’s diplomatic flexibility sets us on a “march to war.” The purpose of the administration’s information campaign is to slap the label warmonger on any critic of the deal, and many of the White House’s friends in the press have signed on. The New York Times’ Bill Keller believes that moves “to impose new sanctions before the interim deal even takes effect are… effectively sabotage.” Likening Republican critics of the agreement to Iranian rejectionists, like the leader of the paramilitary Basij forces, Keller argues that “Our hard-liners pose a greater problem than Iran’s.”

However, the problem for Obama and his press surrogates is the bipartisan nature of the new legislation. White House loyalists like Charles Schumer, and several Democrats facing tough re-election battles in November, like Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu and Arkansas’ Mark Pryor are backing the bill. If Schumer and the other Democrats are now part of the so-called “hardliner” camp, then they’ve joined the 84 percent of Americans (96 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats), who, according to a Tower/Masdar poll conducted last week, believe that Iran is using negotiations to stall as it continues to advance its nuclear weapons development. So, either the vast majority of Americans are hardliners, or Obama is out of step with the country—including a number of key Democratic allies in the Senate.

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