Democrats lost over 1,000 seats under Obama

Democrats lost over 1,000 seats under Obama —15jh.,b26

The Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure.

The grand total: a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency.

The latter was perhaps the most profound example of Obama’s popularity failing to translate to support for his allies. Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state under Obama, brought the first family out for numerous campaign appearances. In September, Obama declared that his “legacy’s on the ballot.”

Less than two months later, Americans voted for Donald Trump.

But 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wasn’t the only locale to see a big partisan change since Obama took office in January 2009, according to figures from Ballotpedia.

Democratic U.S. Senate seats fell from 55 to 46. Their share of the House plummeted from 256 seats to 194. Republicans still control both chambers going into the next session.

Democratic governerships also became a rarity during this eight-year period, slipping from 28 to 16.

The Obama years, which saw the rise of the Tea Party as well as a new movement form around Trump that is still being defined, coincided with a loss of 958 state legislative seats for Democrats.

Still, Obama said in an interview which aired Monday that, if he were allowed to run for a third term, he would have been victorious.

“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama told ex-adviser David Axelrod for “The Axe Files” podcast.

source–fox news,


McCarran-Walter Act Of 1952?

McCarran-Walter Act Of 1952? I did not know of this Act until recently, but it has been a law for almost 65 years.—46fh.,b12-1

Trump was severely, criticized for suggesting that the U.S. should limit or temporarily suspend the immigration of certain ethnic groups, nationalities, and even people of certain religions (Muslims).

The criticisms condemned such a suggestion as, among other things, being Un-American, dumb, stupid, reckless, dangerous and racist.

It seems that the selective immigration ban is already law and has been applied on  several occasions.

Known as the McCarran-Walter Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allows for the “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions  by the President, whenever the President finds that the entry of aliens
or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.
The President may, by proclamation, and for such a period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens, immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose any restrictions on the entry of aliens he may deem to be appropriate.”

Who was president when this was passed?

Harry Truman.  Who do you suppose last used this process?  Jimmy Carter, no less than 37 years ago, in 1979, to keep Iranians out of the United States.

But he actually did more.  He made ALL Iranian students, already in the United States, check in with the government. And then he deported a bunch of them.

Seven thousand were found in violation of their visas, and a total of 15,000 Iranians were forced to leave the USA in 1979.

So, what say you about all of the criticism that Donald Trump received from the Democrat Senators, Representatives and the Obama Administration?

Additionally, it is important to note that the McCarran-Walter Act also requires that an “applicant for immigration must be of good moral character and in agreement with the principles of our Constitution.”

Therefore, one could surmise that since the Quran forbids Muslims to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, technically, ALL Muslims should or could be refused immigration to OUR country.

1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, a.k.a. the McCarran-Walter Act (An act to revise the laws relating to immigration, naturalization, and nationality; and for other purposes)

H.R. 13342; Pub.L. 414; 182 Stat. 66.

82nd Congress; June 27, 1952.

You can find the full text of this law here or download the PDF.


Otherwise known as the McCarran-Walter Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was meant to exclude certain immigrants from immigrating to America, post World War II and in the early Cold War. The McCarran-Walter Act moved away from excluding immigrants based simply upon country of origin. Instead it focused upon denying immigrants who were unlawful, immoral, diseased in any way, politically radical etc. and accepting those who were willing and able to assimilate into the US economic, social, and political structures, which restructured how immigration law was handled. Furthermore, the most notable exclusions were anyone even remotely associated with communism which in the early days of the Cold War was seen as a serious threat to US democracy. The main objective of this was to block any spread of communism from outside post WWII countries, as well as deny any enemies of the US during WWII such as Japan and favor “good Asian” countries such as China. The McCarran-Walter Act was a strong reinforcement in immigration selection, which was labeled the best way to preserve national security and national interests. President Truman originally vetoed the law, deeming it discriminatory; however there was enough support in Congress for the law to pass.


source-mccarran-walter act

Don’t Blame the Message—Hillary had more than one; they just didn’t work—-47jh.,b43

.Having run twice, and unsuccessfully, for the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton is now an official object lesson in how not to run for political office. No doubt, Clinton was a subpar candidate—especially when compared with her husband—but one strike against her is manifestly unfair: that she had no “message.”

True, in hindsight, her message was not as compelling as Donald Trump’s appeal to working-class voters. And equally true, the hacked emails from Clinton pollster Joel Benenson to campaign colleagues—”Do we have any sense from her what she believes or wants her core message to be?”—make for embarrassing reading. But in fact, Hillary Clinton had three messages: I’m the best-prepared candidate for president in living memory; my opponent is a dangerous alternative; and it’s time for a woman president. Of course, none of them resonated sufficiently with voters—not even the appeal to sisterhood—to overcome Trump, but that’s not the same as their being nonexistent.

To which an important corollary must be added: More than a few presidents have been elected to office because voters were determined to un-elect the incumbent—message or no message. Herbert Hoover had grown sufficiently unpopular by 1932 that Roosevelt merely had to smile and wave on the campaign trail, at which he excelled. Ike won in 1952 partly because he was an American hero and largely because the Democrats had occupied the White House for 20 years and grown stale and corrupt. Lyndon Johnson’s “message” in 1964 was that the American people didn’t want three presidents in one year, and that his opponent (Barry Goldwater) was an extremist. Four years later, Nixon’s “message” against LBJ’s vice president (Hubert Humphrey) was another throw-the-rascals-out impulse in the wake of an unpopular war.

source–weekly std., philip terzian

His Reelection Plan—Things Trump is likely to succeed at-

His Reelection Plan—Things Trump is likely to succeed at—58eh.,b58

To those who believed, sequentially, that Donald Trump would drop out soon after entering the GOP primary field; that this or that outrageous provocation of his would fatally turn off primary voters; that while he might be winning primaries, he had a ceiling of support among Republicans in the 40-percent range through which he could never pass; that he would never win a majority of delegates to the convention; that if he did, the party establishment would do its utmost to deny him the nomination; that under pressure from GOP defectors, he might drop out of the race; and that he could never win the general election—to all of you, I say: It’s time to start thinking about how Trump intends to win reelection. He will certainly be thinking about it, and it is likely to illuminate some of the decisions he makes.

Let’s start with a preliminary list of liabilities and assets. First of all, he lost the popular vote. Of course, getting to 270 in the Electoral College is how you determine the winner in this game, and Trump has declared with characteristic baldness that if instead he had needed to win the popular vote, he could have—a point pollsters dispute (just as you’d expect them to do, his supporters would say). Second apparent liability: The media no less than Democrats were shell-shocked by the election result and will give him no quarter, continuing to cover every move in maximal negative light. Third, the president-elect has given no indication he intends to give up tweeting, a medium known for neither nuance nor subtlety. And he has said he has no regrets about anything he said during the campaign, because “I won.”

Fourth, although most Americans have come to terms with the election result, they have not exactly rallied around the president-elect to the extent seen in years past. Some bitter-enders remain defiant, and on social media as well as in street protests, the attention they draw far outpaces their numbers and is likely to continue to do so, providing little relief from the hyperpartisan tone of the campaign season. Fifth, there’s the character issue: The percentage of Americans who see him as unforgivably deplorable is considerable. The Clinton attack on his character, though in retrospect misguided as the centerpiece of her campaign, was nothing if not thorough. Trump’s core supporters don’t care about critics’ allegations, but the damage among softer supporters and independents was genuine.

Sixth, Trump showed little interest during the campaign in the details of policy, and many of his pronouncements have provoked the release of antibodies into the American system.Trump’s style is never to look uncomfortable or as if he harbors a doubt, but he will certainly want his job approval rating to rise over time as he builds a plurality if not a majority for 2020. If he had won a big Reagan 1980-style victory, that might have encouraged him to “make America great again” in ways that could cost him with voters, but he has voters to burn only to the extent he can replace them with new supporters in greater numbers. Another word for an unpopular populist is “loser.”

The genius of his Twitter feed is that it gives him a direct line not only to his nearly 16 million followers, but also to anyone who is criticizing him on Twitter, where the practice is to “quote” the tweet on which you are heaping derision, and where “quote” is Twitter’s euphemism for “republish.” We should note that the conventional practice for the old media is now to quote someone’s tweet as his or her definitive statement on a subject. No one will ever wonder what Trump’s views are on any given subject.

Demonstrators and vocal critics have long been a foil off which Trump plays, to the plain end of rallying neutrals to his side by virtue of the unattractiveness of the opposition. He’s good at it. When Trump first took to Twitter after the election with a complaint about the “unfair” protests against him, Twitter lit up with a chorus of there he goes again, he can’t even control himself after he’s been elected president, etc. Yet I suspect anyone even remotely dispassionate was entertaining the possibility that it might indeed be a bit unfair to demonstrate against someone who hadn’t yet actually taken office and done anything.

Trump absorbed a full onslaught of revelation and allegation and prevailed. We need a new metaphor for this phenomenon. The old one was “Teflon,” for a politician to whom nothing sticks. Now everything sticks, but it doesn’t matter.

What about Trump’s assets? Well, prima facie, he is something of a political genius. He has just traveled the most unusual path to the White House in the history of the republic: from private citizen to president in 18 months. If you thought Barack Obama was precocious, note that the 44th president at least had the Illinois legislature and a successful U.S. Senate race behind him. One of the oddest features of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was the response many of his aides and hangers-on gave to the challenge that Obama, with no executive experience, was ill qualified for office. The rejoinder was: untrue—because, after all, he was running a successful multimillion-dollar presidential campaign! Though absurd, the claim had a certain reductionist brilliance to it, much like saying the essential element of leadership is followers. But yes, you don’t win the presidency by accident, and Trump didn’t.

Well, neither is Trump, at least not in any sense conserv-ative talk radio uses the term. So “conservative” was out as the prime qualification, and “antiestablishment” took its place, as if they were the same thing. But they aren’t, and acting as if they are does an injustice to Trump’s originality in his conception of the challenge and his opportunity.

We’ll leave the balance sheet there. The primary issue in Trump’s reelection is this: About two and a half years from now, as he contemplates his political prospects, what will he point to as evidence that he has made America great again (or is well on the way to doing so)?

Presidents seem to understand that while a substantial amount of what they said to get elected can fall by the wayside once they are in office, they are obliged to keep faith with commitments their first-term voters regard as core. That’s why Barack Obama felt obliged to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq by 2012 and could talk himself into the view that any adverse consequences would be minimal. As a candidate, he presented himself as the one to end an unnecessary and wasteful war. It’s why Bill Clinton felt obliged in 1996 to sign a welfare reform bill not at all to his liking: He was hoping a Democratic Congress would write the legislation, but had to cope with a more draconian GOP Congress instead. But as a candidate, he promised to “end welfare as we know it.” So he signed. A misconception about the importance of core commitments caused Bush 41 to break his most famous campaign declaration: “Read my lips: No new taxes.”

the Trump administration will send them back. There will be little of the ambiguity that seems to characterize current enforcement policies. A second focus of his campaign message on this subject was criminal illegal aliens. The Trump administration will likely have little compunction about deporting them and -drawing attention to what it is doing. And for purposes of drawing attention, the Trump team will probably be happy to see protesters fill the street in defense of criminal aliens. As for Trump’s remarks about keeping Muslims out and “extreme vetting,” the question is whether he is willing to act within the reasonable limits of executive authority or whether he is going to pick a court fight he probably can’t win.

I’d say the next core commitment is working-class jobs. This may or may not be tied to Trump’s promise to do something about “unfair” trade, but it seems the bigger issue. Soon after taking office in 2009, President Obama lamented the absence of “shovel-ready” projects to which to devote stimulus dollars. I think Trump will find some, probably starting with a spate of approvals for private-sector energy projects, but continuing with large-scale public infrastructure spending. A defense buildup including such job-creating elements as more ships for the Navy would also make sense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Social Security payroll tax cut for individuals as part of the mix as well.

The premise of much thinking in the Democratic party on economics is that an advanced economy such as ours can’t reasonably expect economic growth to exceed 2 percent or so per year. If Clinton had won, we would have had no serious test of this proposition. Trump will test it. Rapid-fire deregulation by way of revocation of many Obama administration executive orders will certainly be an early element. Another likely move will be to find a way to repatriate the $2 trillion or so U.S. corporations have parked offshore because of the tax obligation if they bring the money home.

On trade, Trump will likely feel obliged to pick some fights over dumping and currency manipulation. The big question is how seriously he will take on China. He will also “invite” Canada and Mexico to open a round of negotiations on revising NAFTA, to which they will agree: Even proponents of the treaty would probably concede that some provisions could stand revisiting in light of the passage of 22 years since its approval. (There’s an opportunity here to devise a scheme whereby Mexico can be said to be paying for the wall, too.) Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership will go back to the bargaining table as well. It will be interesting to see if Trump is prepared to accept success in renegotiating trade deals in his first term or if he would prefer to keep negotiations open into his second.

On foreign policy, Trump’s core commitments seem to be the destruction of ISIS, an end to what he sees as adventurism abroad, a demand that U.S. allies pay more, and (how to put it?) a reset with Russia. On ISIS, Syria’s brutal Bashar al-Assad may be the inadvertent winner in a common Russian-Syrian-U.S. front. On the other hand, one wonders how much Vladimir Putin loves Assad personally, as opposed to his utility in providing Russia a presence in the Mediterranean. Perhaps Trump strikes a deal with Putin that removes Assad to a dacha in Crimea while retaining Russian influence over Syria’s successor regime? Sanctions against Russia are probably going to go as well. I wonder what Trump the negotiator could get in exchange for that and for recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. As for an end to the U.S. propensity for adventurism abroad, that probably comes after the destruction of ISIS and the application of military power against its affiliates.

Meanwhile, at home, throw in some outreach to African Americans and to primarily English-speaking Hispanics, as well as an end to the federal government’s interest in who can use which bathrooms, et voilà! America, great again.

Events will, of course, intrude. But it is hardly implausible that Trump could deliver on his core commitments and as a result be well-positioned to improve on his 2016 electoral performance. Politically speaking, he is already the biggest thing to hit the GOP since Reagan. Over the summer, I was thinking of writing an article whose working title was going to be “Trumpism After Trump.” That is really going to have to wait.

source–weekly std, tod lindberg,

The Butcher’s Bill—  Democratic losses in the age of Obama.— 15eh,b26

President Barack Obama has declared he might not follow the tradition of ex-presidents refusing to comment publicly on their successors. In a postelection press conference, he said:

I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance. As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes.

When President Obama took office in 2009, Democrats claimed 257 House seats, 60 Senate seats (after Arlen Specter switched sides), 28 governorships, and total control of 27 state legislatures. Many pundits figured that the Republican party was turning into nothing more than a regional coalition, with little strength outside the South.

Those races served as a prelude for the Democrats’ midterm debacle of 2010. The party lost a net 63 seats in the House, as the GOP claimed its biggest majority in the lower chamber since the Great Depression. The Democrats also lost 6 seats in the Senate, including in blue redoubts such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. On net, the party lost 6 governorships and its total control of state legislatures slipped to 16.

The next cycle was a rebound of sorts for Democrats, but the details were less impressive than the headlines. Obama won reelection comfortably over Mitt Romney, but he did so with 3.6 million fewer votes than he received in 2008. Such a victory is without precedent. Every incumbent president who has won election to a second term did so by increasing his total votes—except Obama, in 2012. Down-ballot, the Democrats’ performance was similarly mediocre. The party netted eight House seats, two Senate seats, and total control of three more state legislatures. Meanwhile, they lost the governorship of North Carolina.

The 2014 cycle was another disaster for the Democrats. When the dust settled, the Republican party—which had been all but left for dead just five years prior—was clearly the dominant coalition in the states. The GOP held 247 House seats, 54 Senate seats, 31 governorships, and total control of 30 state legislatures. The only major elected office still controlled by the Democrats was the White House, which, of course, the party just lost.

Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, for instance, all entered the White House with their party in total control of Congress but left with the opposition in total control. Even under Ronald Reagan, who was enormously popular for most of his tenure, the GOP lost the Senate in 1986.

What makes Obama unique is the magnitude of his party’s defeat. When he entered office, he and his party had broad control of the government. When he leaves office in two months, the opposition will have broad control of the government. That is quite extraordinary. In fact, during the postwar era, no two-term president has lost more U.S. House seats and state legislative seats than Obama.

Before the media focused on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, news centered on the Iran deal, Syria, Libya, immigration, gun control, Obamacare, the stimulus, and so on. The country typically disapproved of his handling of these matters, even as it still held a favorable view of him as a person.

Obama seems to have given big government a bad name. When he was elected in 2008, the exit poll found that 51 percent of Americans thought the government should do more, compared with 43 percent who thought it should do less. But in 2016, after eight years of Obama, the exit poll found that 45 percent thought the government should do more, compared with 50 percent who thought it should do less.

source–weekly std,jay cost,

Woefully Out of Touch–58eh.,b58

The Scrapbook has slowly begun to grow accustomed to the idea that Donald Trump—Donald Trump!—is going to be sworn in next month as president of the United States. What we continue to be shocked by is how out of touch the entire Democratic party appears to be. Had we understood just how clueless they were, the election result might not have been so shocking.

Let’s start with the sitting president. There is always a danger that presidents will become cocooned and out of touch after years in the White House, and certainly Barack Obama’s arrogance gave reason to believe that this might become an issue for him. And it has! The president recently granted an interview to Rolling Stone that confirmed an astonishing estrangement from the real world. Discussing Trump’s victory, he offered this theory: “Part of it is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.”

What, pray tell, is he talking about? “Hey, barkeep, can you turn off the game—Megyn Kelly is on,” is a statement we’re confident has not yet been uttered from any barstool in America. Occasionally in airports or hospital waiting rooms, the supposedly neutral CNN is inflicted on unsuspecting citizens, but opportunities to see Fox, much less any cable news, in public spaces are pretty rare. Fox may be the highest-rated cable news network, but its ratings are small potatoes compared to network news and minute compared with TV entertainment.

Also, how many times has Obama now singled out Fox News during his presidency? The White House even tried to shut them out of the press briefings at one point. Donald Trump has done the same sort of thing but with this key difference: Whenever Trump attacks, say, CNN, the entire media reflexively condemn him. Obama, to very little notice, has spent the last eight years pretending that the fact millions of people seek out media sources presenting views opposing him is an affront.

Rolling Stone also asked Obama about the challenges posed by a fracturing media landscape. In response, the president floated the crackpot idea of government subsidies for media—while also attempting to strike an optimistic note. “Good journalism continues to this day,” he said. “There’s great work done in Rolling Stone.” Perhaps he was being polite because Rolling Stone has put him on its cover an absurd 10 times. But we’re honestly not sure he’s even aware that the magazine just lost a staggering libel lawsuit.

source std, weekly std

The CIA, Post-Obama–What we don’t know can hurt us-

The CIA, Post-Obama–What we don’t know can hurt us—8eh.,b60

When the new casts out the old, an incoming administration has the opportunity to review its predecessor’s approach to the Central Intelligence Agency. When this is done, the focus is usually on the ethics of Langley and politically disturbing covert action. The Obama administration was prototypical in this regard: In conjunction with Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the president went after the most controversial parts of his predecessor’s war on al Qaeda. He accused George W. Bush of condoning torture and the CIA of devising the means required. The Senate committee staff released a scathing review of Langley’s post-9/11 detention and enhanced interrogation program (while largely ignoring the question of whether senior Democrats in Congress had known of and approved the unconventional methods).

Democrats also went after the Bush administration’s use of rendition. Its application under Bill Clinton, who started transferring real or suspected Islamic terrorists into harsh allied hands, and Barack Obama received much less attention. News stories about the unpleasant practice under Democrats were inevitably thin, revealing the political preferences of the leakers. Some Democratic officials even suggested that the CIA under Clinton and Obama had exercised a virtuous version of rendition: Agency operatives overseas ensured that air-lifted radicals weren’t abused in countries where street thieves, let alone jihadists, are routinely beaten.

Unless Donald Trump is serious about pushing the CIA back into enhanced interrogation—and the odds are high that the incoming director, Republican congressman Mike Pompeo, will just do what his predecessor and the Pentagon did when confronted with the interrogation/incarceration/trial conundrum as regards Islamic terrorists (kill them with drones or put them into foreign prisons)—Pompeo will not have to deal with the agonizing morality play that Obama’s CIA director John Brennan has faced since he moved into Langley in 2013. But as director, Brennan had to keep in tune with the president, if not the Democrats of the Senate Select Committee, some of whom gave the impression they wouldn’t mind seeing CIA officers prosecuted. He also had to work with senior operatives who knew him well and didn’t esteem his quick evolution on “torture.”

The bipartisan aversion to questioning the CIA’s espionage and analytical performance has held the high ground in Congress and the White House since 9/11. Obama was no different from Bush. So far as I can tell, based on conversations with several former and active-duty CIA officials, no one has systematically red-teamed the Directorate of Operations about its work against America’s most important intelligence targets since 9/11. Does the clandestine serv-ice achieve an acceptable minimum in its efforts opposing our primary foes?

Counterterrorism has replaced the Soviet Union as Langley’s fail-safe raison d’être. This is in so many ways an easier target for the operations directorate since the most important work is done through liaison channels. Information supplied by others, not information that Langley obtains by itself through “unilateral” human-intelligence operations, is where its bread is now buttered. CIA-driven drones also help to obscure where Langley collects human-intelligence well and where it’s just lethal. Collecting intelligence for a drone strike, which can be data- and intercept-driven, is an entirely different undertaking from recruiting and running agents inside the Islamic State, al Qaeda, the Lebanese Hezbollah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

How good the CIA is against the Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, which is certainly the agency’s oldest and consistently most threatening and powerful target in the Middle East, has never drawn sustained attention. Iran-contra percolated a bit of outsider curiosity, but again, that attention focused on what congressionally unsanctioned covert action the agency—specifically the director of central intelligence William Casey and his selected officers—was taking. Whether Casey’s minions were actually gathering good intelligence inside Iran and whether their analysis about “moderates” within the regime was correct were never particularly compelling issues for angry outsiders looking in.

But the agency’s Iran competence ought to gain more attention now that the clerical regime is driving most of the big issues of the Middle East, which President Trump will no more escape than his anti-interventionist predecessor did: Iran’s ongoing nuclear and ballistic-missile programs; sectarian war, which was the major catalyst in the rise of the Islamic State; the accelerating clash between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic; the god-awful slaughter in Syria, which is being run on the ground by the clerical regime’s Revolutionary Guards; and the growth of Shiite expeditionary militias, which the Revolutionary Guards and their first-born foreign children, the Lebanese Hezbollah, are creating and training. It’s not just Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin who provoke and control Europe’s refugee waves coming from Syria and Iraq; the clerical regime and its foot-soldiers are equally disruptive.

What has transpired since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was concluded last summer has done little to assuage the concern that Washington—chiefly the CIA—lacks the capacity to properly detect Iranian nuclear research that doesn’t take place inside the facilities monitored by the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency. The “self-inspection” of the Parchin Revolutionary Guard base, where the IAEA and the American intelligence community know the clerical regime once worked on nuclear weaponization, really should have made serious people in Washington—especially Director Brennan—laugh. The amusement appeared to be strictly partisan: Serious foreign-policy Democrats largely remained silent, hanging with party orthodoxy to cast no doubt on President Obama’s nuclear diplomacy.

The weaknesses of the nuclear deal will only become more manifest with time, as we count down the agreement’s sunset clauses. The Iranian ballistic-missile program, which is unconstrained by the JCPOA and unintimidated by U.N. Security Council sanctions, continues to advance as European money gradually returns to Iran and the Islamic Republic’s aggressive, hegemonic behavior in Syria and Iraq moves forward. If President-elect Trump decides to keep the accord, he may want to review the intelligence procedures that the Obama administration put into place to monitor Iranian activity outside the JCPOA.

If President Trump is determined to be more demanding than Obama on the nuclear question, if he intends to stop the development of Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles and counter the mullahs’ nefarious nonnuclear activity, then it’s obvious that the United States would benefit from having a CIA capable of running a wide variety of assets into the Islamic Republic and Iranian-held and Iranian-friendly territory in the Middle East. A new director free from the categorical imperative to preserve the nuclear deal would want to know if Langley actually has valuable agents inside the country—within the clergy, the Revolutionary Guards, the internal-security Basij forces, the military, the business community, the oil industry, and the nuclear program. He might want to look at CIA intelligence reports on the Islamic Republic over the last year and tie them back to their sources. This is detailed work, but through such details comes illumination. Not just on Iran but about how the entire agency really works. What is true about unilateral CIA operations against the Iranian target—its successes and failures—is likely true of unilateral CIA operations against al Qaeda. Mutatis mutandis, it is also probably true for CIA operations against Russian and Chinese targets.

Iranian victories in Syria and Iraq will unquestionably fuel the clerical regime’s pride, which will likely translate into greater Iranian willingness to challenge the JCPOA and Trump, assuming the president-elect intends to maintain the agreement.

In any case, the CIA would certainly benefit from having a director who spends time thinking about the nuts and bolts of American intelligence collection and analysis against hard targets. A director who focuses laser-like on just a few problems might push the entire organization globally to do better. Congressman Pompeo already knows that Iran is one of America’s most determined foes. Unlike so many in Washington, he doesn’t need to be tutored on the fundamentals. Pompeo may also already know that President Trump’s handling of the Islamic Republic is bound to tell us how the president will handle the rest of the world.

source-weekly std, reuel marc gerecht, angelo codevilla, taylor lawrence