Making sense of the GOP's cave-in on the Iran deal
Why did the Republicans in Congress offer only token, perfunctory opposition to Obama’s Iran nuclear deal?
In response to that question, Rush Limbaugh recently stated on-air (Sept. 11, 2015) that, “There is no explanation that anyone will understand. It doesn’t make sense.”
The reason why the GOP opted not to oppose the deal, at least based on the regime’s failure to live up to the legal requirements of the Corker Amendment, may be found in the long-running debate over the flood of illegal immigrants coming across America’s southern border.
It is widely believed that both parties support an open border, but for different reasons. The Democrats want future voters from a new underclass. Republicans, particularly the donor class, want cheap labor.
If that is true, the precedent is established for general agreement on a major policy decision based on divergent, but not incompatible, partisan self-interests.
If the GOP’s past support – despite its verbal opposition – of illegal immigration makes sense, then their tacit support for the Iran nuke deal may represent a similar arrangement.
Democrat pols support the deal on orders from their leadership in Congress and in the White House. Beyond that, their claims as to the legitimacy and efficacy of the agreement are well-documented, putting aside the veracity of those claims. (See Ira Brodsky’s recent piece on AT suggesting Democrat motives for supporting the deal.)
The Republicans, though, have no stated reason for failing to resist the deal. They surrendered…essentially without a fight.
What possible self-interest could drive the GOP’s tacit support?
Looking for an explanation that makes sense at the tarmac level is futile.
So let’s look down at possible GOP self-interests from the altitude where political interests cruise – at 30,000 feet – and ask, “What internal special interests stand to benefit most from the national security threat coming from a nuclear-armed Iran. And, with which political party are those interests most often, but not solely, aligned?”
We may find a clue in a speech delivered by Dwight Eisenhower in 1960, on the eve of leaving the Presidency, wherein he said,
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government…
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
The federal, funding-dependent welfare and warfare states’ self-interests in Washington, D.C. are moving toward a historical confrontation as America’s financial health weakens. Unlike the days of LBJ’s guns-and-butter federal budgets, both camps – not defined by the façade of the political partisan divide – are fighting for competing self-interests.
In the years ahead, that competition will bring increased stridency into the halls of government, and, perhaps, onto the streets of America. There will not be enough tax monies to completely satisfy the canine appetites for both camps.
Meanwhile, where once national statesmen walked the land, today, career politicians abound. Consequently, their behaviors are more difficult to understand as making sense.
Fights over diminishing resources will become more confused as resources diminish.
The welfare state requires a dependent underclass. The warfare state requires a feared enemy.
Pure statists require both.