Even most Republicans will concede that the GOP campaign to derail the international nuclear agreement with Iran is going poorly, and barring any major developments, the diplomatic deal will move forward over the objections of far-right lawmakers.
But Politico reports that one die-hard critic still has something to say.
Dick Cheney will speak out against the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran during a speech next month at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. […]Cheney will speak on Sept. 8 – just a week ahead of the Sept. 17 deadline for Congress to vote on the deal’s authorization.
The White House hasn’t officially said anything in response, but I have to assume officials in the West Wing are delighted to see the failed former V.P. take the lead in condemning the agreement. It makes it that much easier to deliver a simple message to congressional Democrats: when it comes to national security in the Middle East, and the prospect of yet another war, do you want to partner with Dick Cheney or with President Obama?
But even putting all of the political wrangling aside, what the former vice president just doesn’t seem to appreciate is the role he played in creating the mess that the president is cleaning up.
Revisiting our discussion from several weeks ago, let’s not forget that Iran didn’t have a meaningful nuclear weapons program until Tehran developed one – during the Bush/Cheney administration. It was on Cheney’s watch that Iran’s total number of centrifuges grew from 164 to 8,000.
What kind of price did Iran pay for taking these provocative steps? Actually, Cheney didn’t do anything – he was busy watching his Iraq policy destabilize the entire region while allowing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to expand without any pushback from Cheney’s administration.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an aggressive hawk and no ally of Democrats, conceded not too long ago, “I think the Bush administration, they were a miserable failure when it came to controlling Iran’s nuclear ambition.”
I suppose it’s possible that Cheney has scheduled his AEI speech to deliver a public apology and acknowledge the ineptitude of his approach. But I have a hunch that isn’t what he has in mind.
About a year ago, Cheney appeared on a Sunday show and was asked about his stunning failures while in office. “If we spend our time debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, we’re going to miss the threat that is growing and that we do face,” he replied.
In other words, the failed former V.P. can’t be bothered to defend his own record – probably because it’s indefensible. The fact remains, however, that Cheney stood by and watched as Iran’s nuclear program expanded, and it’s President Obama who didn’t just talk about addressing the problem; he’s actually doing it.
The less Cheney has to say on the subject, the better.