Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., during an interview in Washington, July 24, 2009.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

The amusing story behind Joe Lieberman’s new gig

At first blush, the press release seemed rather mundane. A group called United Against Nuclear Iran, which opposes the international agreement, announced yesterday that former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will take over as the organization’s new chairman.
 
But if Lieberman is the new chairman, that must mean there’s an old chairman he’s replacing. And that’s where the story gets amusing. TPM’s Josh Marshall wrote:
I’ve been meaning to write more about the on-going farce which is the opposition to the world powers deal to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But I just came across a hilarious story which really brings together the tragic, tendentious and hysterical (yes, both meanings) nature of this drama.
 
I just learned that Joe Lieberman, storied Middle East hawk, has joined United Against Nuclear Iran as its new Chairman. UANI is one of several pressure groups now rolling out massive ad campaigns against the deal bankrolled by assorted billionaires.
So far, so good. Assorted billionaires think they can and should kill the international agreement, which would likely undermine their own long-term goals, though they’re proceeding anyway. To that end, UANI has hired Joe Lieberman, who became a D.C. lobbyist after swearing he wouldn’t.
 
But United Against Nuclear Iran already had a chairman: Dr. Gary Samore, a scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who led the group for two years. Why replace him with Lieberman?
 
Because Dr. Gary Samore has decided that the international nuclear agreement with Iran is a good idea. Indeed, deep into yesterday’s UANI press release, the document concedes, “Gary ultimately supports the agreement and is stepping down to avoid any conflict with UANI’s work in opposition to the agreement.”
 
Or as Josh Marshall put it, “The deal is such a Chamberlainesque catastrophe that one of the main anti-deal pressure groups had to part ways with its leader because he supports the deal.”
 
Quite right. We’ve reached the point at which United Against Nuclear Iran has failed to persuade its own chairman that the deal must be derailed. A lobbying group that exists to oppose the deal has parted ways with its boss, who supports the deal.
 
Time will tell what happens in the larger debate over the policy, but in substantive terms, this really isn’t a good sign for the anti-diplomacy forces.
 

Foreign Policy, Iran, Joe Lieberman and Lobbying Industry

The amusing story behind Joe Lieberman's new gig