Analysis: Chuck Schumer now the most important man in the world


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is one of two dozen Republicans racing for the White House, on Tuesday challenged Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will become the Senate Democratic leader in 2017, to turn his back on President Barack Obama and help kill the Iran deal.

“Chuck Schumer is supposed to be the guardian of Israel. He goes around everywhere and says, ‘My name is Schumer. It means guardian of Israel,'” Graham said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Well, if you care about Israel, you will not put her in this box,” Graham said. “If you care about the United States, you will not allow our chief antagonist to become a nuclear threshold nation guaranteed in nature with no restrictions for them to go beyond that.”

An aside: according to Ancestry.com, the roots of the name Schumer are in Middle Low German, a schumer is “good-for-nothing,” “vagabond.” But what’s in a name?

“The Iran drama is only beginning. Assuming that Obama can sell this deal to Congress — Chuck Schumer, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you,” Jeffrey Goldberg wrote Tuesday night. And he’s absolutely right.

Many Democrats in the Senate will be taking their cue from Schumer on the Iran deal. “He will be the canary in the coal mine,” writes Doug Bloomfield. “He will be watched for his dual roles as a party and Jewish leader – he has boasted of being Netanyahu’s best friend on Capitol Hill,” and he has close to 1.8 million Jewish constituents, the vast majority of whom love Israel and loath President Obama.

Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, signed into law by the president, directs the President, within five days after reaching an agreement with Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program, to transmit to Congress the text of the agreement and all related materials and annexes and affidavits.

It also directs the Secretary of State to prepare a report assessing all the various relevant agencies’ capacity to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

The foreign relations committees then hold hearings and briefings to review the deal for 60 days, ending sometime in the second week of September, 2015.

The Congress disapproves. It’s part of the law, as is the presidential veto that follows, it’s as if those guys were writing a screenplay:

The President may not remove the sanctions for:

12 days after the date of passage by both Houses of Congress of a congressional joint resolution of disapproval, and

10 days after the date of a presidential veto of a congressional joint resolution of disapproval passed by both Houses of Congress.

If Congress passes the resolution of disapproval with a veto-proof, two-thirds majority — then the sanctions cannot be lifted, the deal is dead.

That last part is the most crucial: can Congress beat a presidential veto? Possibly. But only if Chuck Schumer wants it. And for Schumer to want it means that the most prominent act of the next leader of the Senate Democrats would be to defeat a Democrat in the White House.

Not likely.

On the other hand, there are those 1.8 million New York Jews, and AIPAC, and Bibi…

This is what Schumer said in a statement he released on Tuesday:

“Over the coming days, I intend to go through this agreement with a fine-tooth comb, speak with administration officials, and hear from experts on all sides. I supported legislation ensuring that Congress would have time and space to review the deal, and now we must use it well. Supporting or opposing this agreement is not a decision to be made lightly, and I plan to carefully study the agreement before making an informed decision.”

It probably means he’ll take his time, and then take some more time, and then, over the rest of the summer, start leaking hints that this is the best deal we could hope for, and by the time Labor Day comes and goes, he’ll side with the President.

Meanwhile, the Administration will come up with ways to compensate the Israelis, and Schumer will be part of it. They’ll shmear and shmooze and promise and ply and bribe and become friends again. Because you have to.

And then Israel will have to figure out how to bomb the Iranian nuclear bunkers before the price becomes too high.

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