Iran Deal More About Probabilities Than Risks

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By Mark Green

Cooke v. Reagan: Isn't issue over Iran Deal what's most likely -- allowing Tehran to race to a bomb now, or delaying that perhaps forever if Iran, in 15 years, chooses a strong economy over being a nuclear pariah? Why wouldn't they? Then: Who's more worried -- Hillary because of falling polls, or GOP because of Trump's rising ones?

On Iran-Nuclear Deal. We listen to Trump say of the deal that, "We're led by very, very stupid people." Cruz says that Democrats have to choose "millions of American lives, or loyalty to the Democratic Party," and Cheney concludes that the deal means, "Iran will have a bomb it can deliver to America." Contrary to these conclusory statements, Cassandras, Colin Powell and George Mitchell calmly explain how it's verifiable according to nuclear experts, and will either delay Iran's ambitions for 15 years or longer, or put the U. S. in a stronger position to retaliate economically or militarily if they cheat.

Charles Cooke of The National Review is asked how he would have voted in the Senate, which this refused to allow debate 58-42. "I'm still undecided -- there are good arguments on both sides," adding that he's worried about such a major accord gaining only 25 percent support in the country. Ron Reagan counters that while such modest public support is undesirable, it's not consequential, since people can't be knowledgeable about a such complex international agreements and that we don't conduct international relations based on polls.

But isn't the real issue not "risks," since either a deal or no deal has some risks, but "probabilities?" And isn't it probable that no deal would mean Iran could and would race to a bomb now, versus waiting 15 years -- and perhaps never -- since it's rational that they'd then choose a strong economy over nuclear state? Isn't one consideration for the Senate whether the agreement can be to Iran what Nixon's opening was to China -- a way to coax an adversary into becoming more economically integrated with the West and less a North Korean-type pariah state?

Cooke agrees that it's a matter of "probabilities" but won't guess the odds. Ron argues that this Accord has huge international support, is likely to work in the short- and long-run, and "what's the alternative?" As for 15 years from, " yes their leaders are bellicose but this is a young nation, with a majority under 30, and such people will care far more about a strong economy than any nuclear [leverage]."

On Kim Davis. Lots of consensus on whether this Kentucky marriage clerk should allow gays to marriage per Obergefeld. Ron says that issue is not her sincere religious conscience but whether she can impose her religion on others. "The easy remedy, of course, if she can't do the job, is to quit the job."

What about Huckabee's analogy that she's really M.L. King and Rosa Parks disobeying an unjust law... or even Lincoln who disapproved of Dred Scott in 1857? Cooke of is disdainful: "While I'm for gay marriage, she took an oath to enforce the law while King and Parks were not public officials. If Parks had been the bus driver, she'd would have had to resign. What would conservatives say about a Sheriff who opposes guns refusing to issue gun licenses? It can't be up to each public official to decide which laws are enforced."

As for Davis=Lincoln, there's an easy consensus that gay marriage does not equal chattel slavery and that Lincoln did not violate his oath of office when he said that he disagreed with the decision.

Host: Of course, that "irrepressible conflict" took not a contempt of court citation to cure but a not very Civil War claiming 600,000 lives. Huckabee proves that he's either a demagogue or an idiot by invoking Lincoln...but what does that make Ted Cruz, who was a Supreme Court litigator and understands the precedent of Marbury v. Madison and judicial supremacy? Worse than an idiot - he's a cynic...and lucky that disbarment cannot be based on speech willfully ignoring constitutional law.

On Hillary's Decline. Who should be more worried -- Clinton supporters watching her fall from 60 percent favorable to 37 percent in four months...or GOP leaders watching Trump become the face of the GOP? And has Hillary turned a corner now that she's apologized for choosing one personal server over a public and a personal one (and now that, post-show, the Justice Department has said what she did was legal)?

Charles is very skeptical, arguing that she may have violated two sections of the federal criminal code by passing around classified material and that, in any event, this episode contributes to the growing sense "she's dishonest", especially as compared to Sanders who "is regarded as sincere and transparent." Ron adds that she should be worried because "she's not really a natural politician, and the national press has decided to always connect her to the word 'scandal.'"

But, asks the Host, is that fair since there's no proven scandal -- Lewinsky was one but not hers -- and her authenticity is that she's a "progressive wonk"? Ron questions how "progressive" she is while Charles sees her "more of an opportunist than an ideologue." He does, however, acknowledge that for all her current problems, she's apparently very strong post Iowa/NH and with minorities, so still has to be heavily favored.

Any real chance of a Plan B for Democrats to woo in a late, strong entry? Unless that happens soon, they agree, not really given the "structural problems" of running and gathering delegates, notes Cooke.

Host: While nothing and no one is "inevitable" other than the sun coming up in the morning and Huckabee/Cruz making absurd analogies for low-education GOP voters, here's a "probability:" the scandal meme will never end with Hillary because of those with a stake in its continuation (the RNC, Gowdy's Benghazi Committee); she will be battered but now bowed after having endured Travel-gate, Whitewater, Lewinsky, Benghazi, now emails; and primary voters will probably keep kicking favorites in the shins -- Ronald Reagan in 1980 fired his top staff on the day of the N.H. vote, which he lost -- to test their mettle. G.H.W. Bush survived Robertson and Buchanan, Bill Clinton survived Gennifer Flowers/draft avoidance, Obama survived Rev. Wright. And Hillary's been in decline but far from Dunkirk.

On Trump as Face of GOP. Cooke is asked whether he's worried that he's lashed to the mast of a party of birthers, nativists and climate deniers a third of whom would support Trump for president and a majority of whom like him? "Not especially," he says, noting that Trump won't be the nominee and "both sides" have conspiratorialists in their base.

"When I'd campaign," counters the Host, "I'd meet some Democrats who'd say that 9/11 was an inside job and shoo them away. But they were freaks and and not a majority of my party like those in yours who think the American president is not an American." Ron adds that no elected Democrats repeated the Truther line while many Republican officials question Obama's patriotism and origins. Says Reagan: "The fact is that a Trump could not exist in the Democratic Party because it doesn't make [crazy] appeals to the lowest common denominator." Cooke pushes back, observing that people with bachelor or higher degrees vote disproportionately Republican (they're also richer) although both panelists agree that stupidity and degrees are not the same thing. "Democrats used to say some the craziest things about Cheney, Bush and Haliburton too," Charles concludes.

And if he had to choose between Trump and Clinton? "I wouldn't vote."