WSJ: Obama's Iran 'Obsession' Sunk the Democrats

Deputy editor Henninger assesses how Obama's Iran 'legacy' will turn into another hostage crisis-like fiasco a la Carter for his party.

Ari Yashar ,

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama has saddled the Democratic party with a political time bomb in his "obsession" for a nuclear deal with Iran, according to Pulitzer prize finalist Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

Writing in an op-ed for the paper entitled "The Democrats Own Iran," Henninger wrote this week that, "the Democrats now own Iran - lock, stock and smoking centrifuges."

Aside from being stuck with responsibility for the deal allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium, he added, "the Democrats own Iran’s entire penetration in the region - Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon - pretty much anywhere Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to take them."

"Senate Democrats, attempting a magical illusion on American voters, say the Iran nuclear threat and the Iran terror threat are separate realities," wrote Henninger, noting that voters are unlikely to be so easily duped by Iran's actions and its nuclear aspirations.

He pointed out that the last time the Democratic "party’s fortunes went missing in Iran was during what history generally describes as 'Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis,'" referencing the hostage crisis in which 52 Americans were held in Tehran.

Then-President Carter's incompetence in handling the crisis paved the way for Ronald Reagan to soundly romp Carter in 1980 elections, with the Democratic party's weak stance vis-a-vis giving the Republicans a steady boost as Henninger argues is posed to occur again.

"Until recently, the Democrats at least could argue that because Mr. Obama ended George Bush’s war in Iraq, he immunized them from direct political blame for the region’s troubles," he wrote. "That the decision to reduce the U.S.’s postwar presence in Iraq to zero allowed Islamic State to metastasize unimpeded was a morass they could push off into the ethers of the 'hopeless' Middle East."

"Except that the Democratic president erected a steel cable connecting himself directly to Tehran. This being Barack Obama, history had ordained that only he could take on Planet Iran and persuade its population of fanatic Shiite ayatollahs to change their worldview," said the deputy editor sarcastically.

Henninger wrote it is "now generally understood that completing a major nuclear-arms agreement with Iran was an obsession of Mr. Obama’s from early in his presidency."

The Democrats had raised enough questions regarding the dangers of such a deal to prevent Obama from making up an Iran nuclear deal "out of his own head," because the political risks for the party "were obvious."

"But starting about two weeks ago, the Democrats’ Iran hedge collapsed. The compromise on the Corker bill virtually ensures that whatever agreement John Kerry outputs in Switzerland - a deal that increasingly looks built on sand - will pass unimpeded through the Senate. It looks a lot like Obamacare, with congressional Democrats once again doing a pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it for another Obama legacy."

In a similar manner to how Obama promised to "fix" the problems with Obamacare, he noted, "we assume Barack Obama and John Kerry are telling Senate Democrats that if something blows, they’ll handle it... The Iran framework’s fix is the assurance of 'snapback' sanctions, a word with no meaning whatsoever."

"But now...the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy are in the Gulf of Aden, cat-and-mousing with an Iranian naval flotilla."

"The Democrats have no inoculation anymore," assessed the veteran journalist. "The party’s calculation that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy would bring home the presidency and Senate control after defeating vulnerable Republicans has a big fly in the goo: For the next 19 months, Iran is theirs."