Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin has a highly perceptive piece on the broader impact of the Obama administration’s scalping of the always outspoken though recently microphone-shy Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Here is how Tobin explains the Democrats’ visceral emotional reaction to opposition to the Iran deal:
One simple answer might be that it is merely a function of the president’s vindictive nature. It’s no secret that this is a leader who runs a top-down administration that does not encourage vibrant debate within its ranks. Obama is notoriously thin-skinned and seems to take criticism or opposition even more personally than most of its predecessors.
But that only goes so far in explaining why Obama is not respecting Schumer’s need to stay within the pro-Israel fold. After spending years covering for the president’s efforts to pick fights with the Jewish state by claiming that he will always be the guardian (shomer in Hebrew) of the U.S.-Israel alliance, you’d think Schumer was entitled to be cut some slack on Iran.
But that is not what is happening. The White House isn’t content to merely whip Democrats on the issue in an effort to obtain the one-third-plus-one votes they need to sustain a veto of a resolution of disapproval for the Iran deal. Instead, they are sending a rather pointed message to the pro-Israel community that no one, not even a good Democratic soldier and future leader like Schumer, can get away with crossing the president when it comes to his plans for détente with Iran.
Rather than merely another Obama tantrum at the chutzpah of critics, the singling out of Schumer seems to be the beginning of an effort to rid the Democratic leadership of a staunch pro-Israel figure. If we assume, as perhaps we should that the Iran deal will not be stopped, the White House may have already skipped ahead to fighting future battles with Israel over what will happen once the pact is put into effect. Obama has already done his best to isolate Israel and its government and to brand opponents of Iran détente as either mindless GOP partisans or guilty of dual loyalty to Israel. The logical next step is to ensure that no one like Schumer becomes Democratic leader, or at least to inflict the sort of beating on him that will ensure that no many members of his party ever challenge his effort to create daylight with Israel again. The attacks on Democratic opponents of the deal illustrate the depths to which the administration is prepared to sink to win this fight. But it also reflects its desire to downgrade the alliance with the Jewish state and start chipping away at the heretofore solid and bipartisan pro-Israel consensus.
The progressive movement that has overtaken the Democratic Party gains its moral authority in a morally relativistic world in part based on its support of the “oppressed” over the “oppressor.” As Joshua Muravchik ably argues in his Making David Into Goliath, in this construct, Israel has morphed into the
oppressor, swapping roles with the Muslim countries that have wished to destroy her from the time of her founding.
The Leftist-Jihadist nexus of which Andy McCarthy writes, on display from elite college campuses to the president’s cabinet, is perhaps stronger than it has ever been. It believes in punishing the ultimate oppressor, the decadent Judeo-Christian West, by redistributing power to its enemies, including notably Islamic supremacists. The Iran deal under such a formulation is the quintessential example of global social justice.
While many bury their heads in the sand, in its efforts to delegitimize Israel — the West’s first line of defense against those who wish to destroy it — and strengthen its enemies, the Leftist-Jihadist nexus shows that the distinction it makes between anti-Zionism and Jew-hatred is without a difference.
The natural endpoint of all of this, which Tobin hints at, is that the progressive Democratic Party must be Zionistrein. The proof is in the pudding of the Obama era.