Another day, another histrionic left-wing meltdown. When President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord last month, the left reacted like super-villain Trump had used his weather-control device to crank up the temperature of the sun. Senator Schatz called the decision “insane” and California Governor Jerry Brown threatened that “People will die!” When Trump rescinded Obama’s blatantly unconstitutional DACA order, Senator Tim Kaine called the decision “heartless,” Senator Elizabeth Warren called it “bigoted,” and one MSNBC pundit claimed it advanced “a white supremacy agenda.”
Now, the familiar Obama-pencil-meets-Trump-eraser scene is playing out again following President Trump’s decision not to recertify the Obama Administration’s Iran Deal. The same doom-and-gloom CNN chyrons, the same hyperventilating from Congressional Democrats, and the same Twitter hyperbole-storm. Missing from the left’s narrative is the mountain of blame they should be heaping on President Obama for ignoring a basic tenet of the American presidency: Don’t build your legacy out of straw because the next president might huff and puff and blow it all down.
The Constitution is full of brick-and-mortar President Obama could have used to Trump-proof his accomplishments. In the case of the Iran Nuclear Deal, he could have used this Article II gem:
He [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.
The deal Secretary Kerry negotiated with Iran was widely reviled in the United States. Iran received an Implementation Day signing bonus worth about one hundred and fifty billion dollars, but violating the deal could lead to relationships maybe, possibly, probably not revert back to the status quo. What does this too-good-to-be-true deal require of them? Hold off on developing nuclear weapons for a decade. It’s not unlike Clinton’s unilateral “Agreed Framework” non-treaty treaty with North Korea that—along with the handiwork of the Bush administration—locked us in today’s nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.
Basically, Iran walked into the Obama car dealership with twenty bucks and drove off the lot in a Lamborghini chanting “death to America.” The deal exists only for the aggrandizement of the Obama administration. An “achievement” to hang on the wall and say, “look what we did.” But avoiding that situation is precisely the purpose of the treaty clause as stated by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 75:
An ambitious man might make his own aggrandizement, by the aid of a foreign power, the price of his treachery to his constituents. The history of human conduct does not warrant that exalted opinion of human virtue which would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind, as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world, to the sole disposal of a magistrate created and circumstanced as would be a President of the United States.
The deal gave terrorist-supporting Iran way too much in exchange for way too little, and that’s why it could never attract a 2/3 supermajority of Senators. In fact, it couldn’t even land a simple majority of Senators. Here’s what Congress thought of the deal:
The House of Representatives voted down a resolution to approve the deal 269 to 162. The Senate tried to pass a resolution of disapproval against the deal which fell victim to a procedural filibuster when 42 Democrats refused to stop debate on the resolution. R.I.P., resolution of disapproval. R.I.P., treaty clause. President Obama entered into an international agreement with approval from 37 percent of the House of Representatives and 42 percent of the Senate. The deal didn’t receive the support of a single Republican in either chamber, but this wasn’t a case of Republican obstruction. 25 House Democrats voted against approving the deal, and 4 Senate Democrats voted to end the filibuster (which would have meant an all-expense-paid trip to the resolute desk for the resolution of disapproval).
After the Obama administration won their hollow, majority-free victory on the deal, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes bragged that the administration “created an echo chamber” to trick the media into supporting the deal. He bragged that “clueless” reporters don’t know the difference between truth and propaganda, saying, “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.” This is the same guy who tried to put a hush on the news that Iran was holding American sailors hostage until after the State of the Union address.
Now, Rhodes has been triggered by President Trump’s decision to decertify the deal and has been lashing out at the administration on Twitter since the announcement. But this is what happen to a house of straw built with the president’s phone and pen. Only Congress can provide the president with brick and mortar.
Edward Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.
Perspectives expressed in op-eds are not those of The Daily Caller.