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Menendez lays down marker for Dems: Will your name be on Iran’s nuclear bomb?

Menendez lays down marker for Dems: Will your name be on Iran’s nuclear bomb?

“if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it”

New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez announced his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal today in a speech at Seton Hall University.

Menendez laid out his reasons why the deal not only was bad, but also worse than the alternatative. Hope, he said, is not a strategy.

“Whether or not the supporters of the agreement admit it, this deal is based on ‘hope’– hope that when the nuclear sunset clause expires Iran will have succumbed to the benefits of commerce and global integration. Hope that the hardliners will have lost their power and the revolution will end its hegemonic goals. And hope that the regime will allow the Iranian people to decide their fate.

“Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy….

“I know that, in many respects, it would be far easier to support this deal, as it would have been to vote for the war in Iraq at the time. But I didn’t choose the easier path then, and I’m not going to now. I know that the editorial pages that support the agreement would be far kinder, if I voted yes, but they largely also supported the agreement that brought us a nuclear North Korea.

(Full text here)(full video at bottom of post)

Menendez addressed Obama’s claim that people opposing the Iran deal are the same people who called for the invasion of Iraq:

“Unlike President Obama’s characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement, or who have opposed it, I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who both supported it. My vote against the Iraq war was unpopular at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

He rejected the claim that his opposition was reflexively political:

“I also don’t come to this question as someone, unlike many of my Republican colleagues, who reflexively oppose everything the President proposes. In fact, I have supported President Obama, according to Congressional Quarterly, 98 percent of the time in 2013 and 2014…. I have been a reliable supporter of President Obama.

“But my support is not – and has not been driven by party loyalty, but rather by principled agreement, not political expediency. When I have disagreed it is also based on principled disagreement.

“The issue before the Congress in September is whether to vote to approve or disapprove the agreement struck by the President and our P5+1 partners with Iran. This is one of the most serious national security, nuclear nonproliferation, arms control issues of our time. It is not an issue of supporting or opposing the President. This issue is much greater and graver than that.

Menendez then got to the heart of Obama and Kerry’s negotiating failure, the abandonment of the original goal of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief:

“In that context, let’s remind ourselves of the stated purpose of our negotiations with Iran: Simply put, it was to dismantle all — or significant parts — of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time. Not shrink its infrastructure. Not limit it. But fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.

“We said we would accommodate Iran’s practical national needs, but not leave the region — and the world — facing the threat of a nuclear armed Iran at a time of its choosing. In essence, we thought the agreement would be roll-back-for-roll-back: you roll-back your infrastructure and we’ll roll-back our sanctions.

“At the end of the day, what we appear to have is a roll-back of sanctions and Iran only limiting its capability, but not dismantling it or rolling it back. What do we get? We get an alarm bell should they decide to violate their commitments, and a system for inspections to verify their compliance. That, in my view, is a far cry from ‘dismantling.’

Read or listen to the whole thing.

Here is the marker Menendez laid down for Democrats, at the end of the speech:

“I have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it.

“It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.

“Thank you. May God Bless these United States of America.”

Full Speech:


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I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know that Democrats had principles besides raw power. I’m wondering to what extent Obama’s decision to go after Menendez contributed to this speech.

Why does he qualify his override vote with “if called upon”? That is very passive, and it calls into question Menendez’s seriousness. Given his question about whether the Dems want their names on Iran’s nuclear bomb, Menendez shouldn’t have to wait to be called upon to vote for the veto override. That conditional suggests that Menendez will not vote for the override unless there is an explicit request for his vote. “If I am called upon, I will vote to override.” The corollary is this: “If I am not called upon, I will not vote for the override.”

Thus, with that conditional, Menendez has weakened his whole position and made his statement a sham.

As I said, Democrats have no principles besides raw power. So, what is Menedez attempting to parlay his lack of a veto override into? No prosecution by the corrupt Obama Injustice Department?

    I don’t read much into the “if called upon” phrasing, I took it as just a way of saying “if it comes to that” or “if the Congress is faced with voting on an override”.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Ichneumon. | August 18, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      That’s you. I take language very seriously: grammar, diction, and syntax. When it comes to congress-critters, I will check my pockets after each word they utter. When you’re dealing with people who like to parse words, you can’t afford to put the best construction on what they say.

      ConradCA in reply to Ichneumon. | August 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Remember “It depends upon what the meaning of is is.”? Remember “I didn’t receive any emails about the Ambassador’s requests for security.”? Words matter and Dems are weasels.

    Milhouse in reply to Juba Doobai!. | August 19, 2015 at 2:41 am

    “If called upon” means if such a vote is held. Every senator is called upon to vote on every question that comes to the floor. He can’t say for certain that he will vote for an override, because it’s not certain that such a vote will be held. If the disapproval passes with a veto-proof majority in each house, 0bama might back down and not veto it. But he’s saying that if there is a veto, and an override vote is held, he will support it.

    And he’s been a hawk on this issue for a long time, so there’s no need to look for his real motives. Remember that he was a main sponsor of the original attempt to block the deal before it was concluded, which failed to get a veto-proof majority, and so turned into the compromise that set up this coming vote.

That was a magnificent, detailed deconstruction of the Iran deal. It should be required reading by, well, everyone on the planet.

It’s nice to know that there’s at least one competent, principled Democrat left in DC, I haven’t spotted one in a long time.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Ichneumon. | August 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    “It’s nice to know that there’s at least one competent, principled Democrat left in DC, I haven’t spotted one in a long time.”

    This competent, principled Democrat is under indictment on 14 criminal counts, including bribery and conspiracy. The FBI continues to investigate.

    Olinser in reply to Ichneumon. | August 18, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I can’t believe you are being taken in by this political toad’s BULLSHIT.

    He’s not principled. He’s not competent.

    All he’s done is put his finger in the air and realized the Iran deal is a loser.

    So NOW, after it basically doesn’t matter any more, he announced he’s going to vote against it.

    Where the hell was he 6 months ago when it was obvious Obama was crafting a shitburger of a deal? NOWHERE.

    Where the hell was he LAST month when the deal was announced and it was instantly obvious to anybody that didn’t have their heads shoved up Obama’s ass that it was an unbelievably bad deal? NOWHERE.

    Where was he every single day since the deal was signed? NOWHERE.

    The fact that he has only come out NOW shows you that all he’s done is read the polls and been given permission from his Democrat masters to vote ‘against’ it. Just like the other at-risk Democrats that will be allowed to vote ‘against’ it, knowing that there are enough votes to keep a veto from being overridden.

    Make no mistake. If it comes down to Menendez as the swing vote he will vote to save Obama’s ass.

      gasper in reply to Olinser. | August 18, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Menendez is a strong Israel supporter. I for one never thought he would support this. In my opinion, he is under indictment because of his strong stand with Israel.

        Juba Doobai! in reply to gasper. | August 19, 2015 at 12:05 am

        I’d forgotten that, but there were other issues involving naked women and money.

          There are for sure many other things out there about Menendez that are not flattering. I support him on his support of Israel, nothing more.

        Olinser in reply to gasper. | August 19, 2015 at 12:32 am

        If he’s such a strong supporter where the hell was he 6 months ago.

        Just like Schumer he’s waited until his voice doesn’t matter before using it.

        A REAL supporter would have been out there from day 1 against this travesty of a ‘deal’. Instead he remained silent until essentially the last minute.

        Make no mistake. This is nothing but a show vote for an outcome he knows damn well won’t change with his vote.

          Estragon in reply to Olinser. | August 19, 2015 at 1:47 am

          Menendez has been fully at the forefront of warning of the dangers of dealing with Iran since before the negotiations began in 2013. Six months ago there was no deal, what specifically do you think he could have done?

          It seems many are divorced from reality, and want some sort of public emotional gratification.

      Milhouse in reply to Olinser. | August 19, 2015 at 2:48 am

      All he’s done is put his finger in the air and realized the Iran deal is a loser.


      So NOW, after it basically doesn’t matter any more, he announced he’s going to vote against it.

      What do you mean that it doesn’t matter any more? Now is when it matters. Now is when there is a chance to stop this deal, and he is on board. He is not letting his indictiment frighten him off, as it was designed to do.

      Where the hell was he 6 months ago when it was obvious Obama was crafting a shitburger of a deal? NOWHERE.

      What the **** are you talking about? He was front and center, leading the effort to get a veto-proof majority to strip the president of the right to waive the Iran sanctions. And when that failed, his name was on the compromise that 0bama accepted, to suspend his right to waive them for 60 days after the deal was submitted to Congress, and then 10 days after the veto, so as to give opponents such as him time to put together that veto-proof majority.

A reflective, principled Democrat!
Who knew they still existed.
He will probably get primaried next election, there’s no was the DNC will put up with this.

Israel is forced to use its nuclear weapons to destroy Fordow and a few other Iranian sites. I hope Israel follows up and uses dirty weapons to render these sites unapproachable for a thousand years. This should be our fight, but we have a muslim loving fool who won’t be in charge for too much longer. Like I have said before, I hope Israel strikes on January 20, 2017 at about 1pm when the muslim lover is turning over the reins of power to a Republican.

Isn’t he supposed to be in jail?? How can a guy who should be in jail have something moral to say about an immoral deal?

Iran will make a nuclear bomb with Congress critters’ names on it? That’s exactly the kind of bomb we need them to build!

Will your name be on Iran’s nuclear bomb?

Both my senators’ names will be on the bomb: Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. And they are both Jewish — how does that happen?

    Juba Doobai! in reply to MikeInCA. | August 19, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    The only logical explanation for that is this: some Jews have a death wish. Muslims are homicidal. Some Jews seem to be suicidal. Making sure Iran–whose mullahs have sworn to eradicate Israel–gets a nuclear bomb … man, that’s…. Sometimes words are insufficient to the task.

“if” they get the bomb? JHC these people are delusional to think that Iraq will actually honor the agreement. The administration is offering them billions to speed the process up for crying out loud.

Iran has broken EVERY international agreement they entered with regards to their nuclear ambitions. But this time….right?

Menendez is a Professional Congresscritter, full stop. And as such, he’s looking past the reign of King Obaka the First; and, in spite of the GOPe’s best efforts, the Dems won’t be regaining a majority any time soon.

IMO, He’s setting himself up (if he survives the various indictments against him) to be a power-player in the post-Obama era. And yes, I’ve given up on finding a ‘principled’ democrat since the departure of Zell Miller… I suggest any sane person do like-wise.

Sammy Finkelman | August 19, 2015 at 10:32 am

Menendez, for someone who had wanted to increase sanctions on Iran earlier in the year, was rather late in coming out against the deal.

He seems to be basing his opposition, not on weighing the possibility that it would make things better against the possibility that it would make things worse, but simply on the grounds that, by its own terms, the deal would almost consent to a Iran having a bomb in 10 to 12 years time, with the almost the only hope for preventing it being a change in the regime. (which you can rate at no more than 25%)

He just didn’t want to agree to something that meant Iran would eventually get the bomb, even if it would turn out that without the deal Iran would get the bomb even sooner. That’s what he’s saying.

It’s not a strong argument against the deal, and focuses only on personal repercussions. There is no argument that maybe you can try for a better deal. Or that the alarm bell, if Iran rushes to a bomb, will be ignored.

“I don’t care what actually happens, but let it not be me who consented to Iran getting the bomb” he wants to say.