President Obama used his State of the Union address Tuesday to threaten a veto of any congressional plan to slap Iran with new sanctions, and he just might have gotten his way.
The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee thinks Obama is “naive” to believe the U.S. is having any “great success” in persuading Iran to curb parts of its nuclear program — but he is not optimistic there’s enough momentum in the Senate, all told, to ram through new sanctions against the wishes of the president.
“[Obama] said last night he would veto any [new sanctions],” Sen. Jim Inhofe said in an interview. “The question is, is there support to override a veto on that? I say, ‘No.’ “
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, authored by two senators, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk and New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, has 59 cosponsors, and includes measures to punish Iran’s oil industry if it breaches diplomatic commitments. Inhofe does not believe a vote now would result in the majority necessary to override a presidential veto, because enough Democrats would still side with their president.
Even some of the Senate bill’s Democratic cosponsors, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Christopher Coons of Delaware, have also backed away from the sanctions bill since Obama’s speech, The Hill reported.
In his address Tuesday night, Obama defended the interim deal, which he said “has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program—and rolled parts of that program back—for the very first time in a decade.” Iran has started eliminating its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium, Obama said, and is no longer installing advanced centrifuges. If diplomacy fails, then all options—presumably even military force—remain on the table, Obama promised. “I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.”
Inhofe, though, isn’t buying it. New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not to be trusted; inspections won’t be enough, he said. “They,” Inhofe said, referring to the Obama administration, “seem to think, for some reason, that this new president is a president they can talk to, and negotiate with”¦. This guy, I don’t think we can trust him more than anybody else, [even former President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad.”
Even though the momentum may be slipping, Inhofe said, Democrats loyal to Obama are quickly becoming “endangered species.” So if talks between world powers and Iran fall apart, or new revelations emerge that Iran is breaking its diplomatic commitments, it’s possible the political winds could shift.
For now, though, Obama may be in the clear.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Sen. Menendez’s party; he is a Democrat.
- 1 Hillary Clinton Will Win the Nomination, But Then What?
- 2 Bernie Sanders Is a Loud, Stubborn Socialist. Republicans Like Him Anyway.
- 3 Why Gun Control Can’t Eliminate Gun Violence
- 4 Few Privacy Limitations Exist on How Police Use Drones
- 5 How Politics Breaks Our Brains, and How We Can Put Them Back Together
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”