Surrender…then play-fight: A word from Senator McConnell’s office

Andy McCarthy’s most recent column on the Iran deal is “How the GOP pretends not to authorize Obama’s agenda.” Andy’s argument with Paul Mirengoff is incidental to Andy’s analysis of what Corker-Cardin has wrought.

Andy hypothesizes that the Iran review act (the Corker-Cardin bill) adopted by Congress represents Republican shadow boxing with the administration. In this context, I take it, he judges the act worse than nothing. Nevertheless, he draws on Corker-Cardin to propose a plan of action opposing the Iran deal in his previous column, “Obama’s Iran deal is still far from settled.” Here he argues that “[t]o undermine President Obama’s atrocious Iran deal despite the Republican-controlled Congress’s irresponsible Corker legislation, it will be necessary to follow, of all things, the Corker legislation.”

Andy observes that “Obama has not complied with the most basic” requirement of Corker-Cardin: “the mandate that he provide the complete Iran deal for Congress’s consideration.” Corker-Cardin expressly requires the administration to submit the side deals related to the Iran deal to Congress for review; this the administration has miserably failed or steadfastly refused to do. “Therefore,” Andy argues “notwithstanding Washington’s frenzied assumption that the 60-day period for a congressional vote is winding down, the clock has never actually started to run. Congress’s obligations under Corker have never been triggered; the Corker process is moot.” Andy and Paul expressly agree on this point.

I wrote a spokesman for Senator McConnell yesterday on this point. I posed the question whether Senator McConnell was aware that the administration had not complied with the requirement for submission of side deals set forth in Corker-Cardin. If so, I asked, what is he going to do about it? Senator McConnell’s spokesman responded: “He’s called the administration out on not handing over these deals. He’s going to oppose the deal and get a vote on the resolution of disapproval. I’m not sure there’s much that can be done beyond that, unfortunately.”

Here the argument between Andy and Paul has some bearing and I can’t adjudicate the merits at this point. Regardless of the merits of the argument between them, however, I find the response from Senator McConnell’s office a small piece of evidence supporting Andy’s hypothesis of “surrender…then play-fight.” It seems an apt description of the unfolding production.