This is a bit of a read, but Tennesseans deserve to know the truth. As a Major in the United States Army Special Forces, I learned a thing or two about strategy. One of the strongest tactics you can use on the battlefield is to confuse your enemy. Unfortunately, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) seems to view Tennessee conservatives as the enemy. I have to give it to him. For someone that has never stepped foot on the battlefield to serve his country, Corker sure knows how to confuse his enemies. One may ask why someone that has never worn the uniform of America’s armed services is the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Perhaps it’s because Corker is nothing more than a brilliant politician– they also know how to confuse their enemies. Corker has used every weapon in his arsenal to mislead Tennesseans on the details of President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Whether you support the deal or not isn’t my focus. My intent is to expose how a Washington politician has been fast at work deceiving Tennesseans for months. The truth is, Obama needed Corker to save his Iran deal and Corker delivered.
It should be noted that Corker and Obama have a very close relationship. They have teed off on the golf course and enjoyed dinner together on more than one occasion. They aren’t exactly enemies. In fact, many in Washington would even say they are quite close.
Therefore, when Corker introduced legislation earlier this year to “give Congress a vote” on the Iran deal, eyebrows should have been raised. Initially, Obama said he would reject the bill, but quickly flipped and said he supported Corker’s bill. As Obama has said, he has a pen and a phone. He has no qualms when it comes to sidestepping Congress. So, why would Obama support a bill by Corker that supposedly gives Congress the power to kill his negotiations with Iran? Again- the stated purpose of the bill was to stop Obama’s Iran deal, but Obama couldn’t wait to sign it. Odd- Is it not?
The plain and simple truth is that Congress had a vote before Corker’s bill and Obama never actually rejected Corker’s bill. In fact, Obama wanted and needed Corker’s bill, and his brief “rejection” was nothing more than political theater to help Corker trick Tennesseeans into believing the bill was bad for Obama’s agenda. Now the bill is law.
Here’s what really happened. Obama’s Iran nuclear deal was considered a treaty. Plain and simple. No way around this fact existed. Of course, that was until Corker’s bill. It’s important to note that all treaties require 67 votes from the Senate for approval. The Senate is currently composed of 44 Democrats, 54 Republicans and 2 Independents. In order for Obama’s Iran Nuclear treaty to pass, he would need every single Democrat, both Independents, and at least 21 Republicans to vote in favor of it. As of today, every single Republican and 2 Democrats stand against the deal. That’s 56 no votes and 44 in favor. So, the deal is dead– right? Wrong.
Corker’s bill legally allowed Obama’s Iran deal to be presented as normal legislation instead of a treaty. Even worse, Corker’s bill allows for Obama’s nuclear deal to activate unless Congress disapproves the deal. This means Congress must pass a Resolution of Disapproval to kill the deal. Democrats have enough members to prevent a Resolution of Disapproval from ever even being voted on because 60 votes are required to force a vote on legislation. Because Republicans only have 54 votes (maybe 56 if the two Democrats opposing the bill stand with them) they do not have enough votes to force a vote on the Resolution of Disapproval. Without the resolution, the deal is set in stone. Even if Republicans can get 4 more Democrats to flip, Obama now has the power to veto the Resolution of Disapproval. To override the veto, 13 Senate Democrats and 43 House Democrats have to stand with Republicans against Obama. It won’t happen. Obama knew this going in, and that’s why he couldn’t wait to sign Corker’s bill.
Some, including Corker, have argued that Obama wasn’t going to present the deal as a treaty, but as an “Executive Agreement”. That argument is all part of their marketing scam. The Obama administration cannot arbitrarily not call a treaty a treaty. Even if they had tried to, the Court would strike it down. In fact, the Court has already ruled on this subject. In its 2008 Medellin decision, the justices held that the president cannot usurp the constitutional authority of other government components under the guise of his power to conduct foreign affairs. Moreover, even a properly ratified treaty can be converted into domestic law only by congressional lawmaking, not by unilateral presidential action. Plain and simple, the President does not have the authority to impose an international agreement via fiat. This is a narrative that Obama and Corker have put out to make it seem like Corker’s bill was “the only hope”. Now, with Corker’s bill, there will be no Court challenge and no way to stop it through Congress. Corker’s bill added absolutely no protection. It simply stripped the Court’s and Congress’ protection.
Corker now has the audacity to visit Tennessee and tell his constituents that Republicans won’t be able to stop the Iran deal, but he tried so hard. He says he and Senator Lamar Alexander will both vote in favor of the Resolution of Disapproval to “stop the deal”. Of course he will. He rigged the vote so that every Republican can vote against the final deal, but their votes won’t count. He should be ashamed of purposefully misleading his constituents when he knows it was his actions that guaranteed Obama’s and Iran’s success.
A chance exists that Corker didn’t mean to pave the road for Obama’s Iran deal. Perhaps he did it on accident. I’m not sure what’s worse. Corker saving Obama and blatantly lying to Tennesseans about what he did, or the off chance that the Chairman of one of the Senate’s most powerful committees didn’t know what he was doing when he gave Obama exactly what he wanted. Regardless, Corker’s actions have put American lives at risk. Tennesseans are not receiving the representation they need and deserve.