Arthur Christopher Schaper: Cicilline Walks the Fence with Obama Iran Deal

President Obama should fear the staying power of his foreign policy legacy when liberal Jewish Democrats in Washington have called out his Iran deal and oppose it. Los Angeles, CA, Congressman Brad Sherman, probably one of the most left-leaning House reps in the lower chamber, has done just that. He declared his deep and unsettled reserve about the long-term consequences of the deal:

Another Democratic lawmaker defected from the Obama administration Friday over the nuclear deal with Iran.

Rep. Brad Sherman of California, the second-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he came to his decision after meeting one-on-one with President Obama about the accord.

“This agreement is the good, the bad and the ugly,” Mr. Sherman said. “It contains the good and the bad in the first year, and gets ugly in the years thereafter.”

Particularly outstanding about Sherman, he defeated a more hawkish Democrat in a top 2 general election fight in 2012, then faced off against a conservative Republican in 2014, crushing both candidates by a 30-point margin.

Sherman appeared on NBC 4’s News Conference with Conan Nolan, explaining his opposition to the deal, all while trying to maintain his strong support for President Obama. This uber-progressive has taken great pains to maintain an objective opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, all while preaching pacifism and remaining a staunch Obama proponent. also reports:

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said he will oppose the Iran deal, the sixth Jewish Democrat in Congress to come out against the nuclear agreement.

Sherman, a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, joins Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the committee’s senior Democrat, Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the senior Democrat on its Middle East subcommittee, Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who until last year chaired the House Democrats reelection campaign, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, in line for his party’s Senate leadership, in opposing the deal.

Missing from this list of Jewish Democrats?  “Grand Theft AutoDavid Cicilline.  He has refused to make any statement for or against a final deal with Iran.  In late 2013, Cicilline non-announced:

“This tentative agreement with Iran, reached in Geneva, is a positive step towards halting Iran’s nuclear program,” said Cicilline, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. “This interim agreement allows the international community to continue to work to ensure that no further progress is made toward Iran’s nuclear capability and that Iran reverses some past actions that have enhanced this capability. After years of tension between our two countries, this appears to be a step in the right direction and I am hopeful and even cautiously optimistic that Iran will fully comply with the requirements of this interim agreement. It is critical that we ensure that any final deal in this matter fully protects the national security interests of the United States and our allies around the world.”

All this talk about positive steps, and yet no positive or negative pronouncement form the Rhode Island Congressman.  In July of this year (nearly two years later!), Cicilline remained non-committal:

“This morning’s announcement that negotiators have reached an agreement intended to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is a very significant development. It’s important that Congress take the next 60 days to carefully review all of the terms of this agreement before deciding whether it accomplishes its objective of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the details of this proposed agreement.”

Despite the lack of urgency in Cicilline’s press releases, The Hill reports that President Obama is working as hard as he can to get as many Democrats as possible on board, including Jewish Dems:

President Obama is counting on House Democrats to help save the Iran nuclear deal, but many are still on the fence about the controversial accord.

Republicans appear unified against the deal, which would lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said last week that 218 of 246 House Republicans have signed on to his bill condemning the agreement.

GOP leaders are planning a vote to disapprove the deal in September, near the end of a 60-day congressional review period. But Obama has vowed to veto any effort to block the deal and can afford to lose no more than 43 House Democrats to sustain a veto.

The White House has launched a full-court press to shore up House Democratic support, with Obama and top Cabinet officials personally lobbying lawmakers.

A standout number of Democrats have made up their minds. What is taking Congressman Cicilline so long? Brad Sherman found a thin line to walk, courting Obama’s ongoing support while opposing the deal. He made a decision after months of deliberation, and even met with the President before issuing his opposition.  Why does Cicilline refuse to make a decision on this crucial foreign policy matter?

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries and on Twitter.

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