Opinion

Manchin faces critical task

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin is doing the right thing regarding a proposed deal with Iran. A few weeks ago, he described making the decision as the toughest task he had faced in public life.

For weeks, Manchin said he was undecided about whether to vote in favor of President Barack Obama’s proposed agreement with Iran. The White House insists it will block Iran from developing nuclear weapons for at least a decade.

Manchin has revealed he will vote against the deal. He believes it will not serve the cause of peace.

By the end of the day Tuesday, 41 of Manchin’s fellow Democrat and Independent senators had agreed to vote for the deal. Just three other Democrat senators agreed with Manchin.

But 41 is a critical number in the Senate. It is enough strength to block a Senate vote on the Iran deal by using the filibuster technique. Blocking such a vote is important to Obama because if one occurs, it will be to disapprove of the proposal – forcing him to veto the measure.

Such a veto would send an important – perhaps critical – message to Iran’s “death to America” leaders. It would inform them the people of this country and many of our elected representatives do not intend to follow Obama’s lead and, in effect, trust Tehran. It would tell them most Americans want something decisive done to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power and from sponsoring terrorists.

Clearly, Manchin has decided sending a message to Tehran is important – worth opposing Obama over a measure on which the president wants badly to win.

All of the 41 senators who have said they support the deal are under pressure now to allow a filibuster to block any vote.

Whatever the tactics Obama uses to keep the 41 in line, they will be powerful. That places a new burden on Manchin and the three other Democrat insurgents, to convince at least one of the 41 pro-deal senators to block a filibuster – to allow the Senate to at least vote on the deal.

Late last month, Manchin said of the deal with Iran, “If we get this wrong we could light the fuse for the third world war.”

It now is up to Manchin and the three other rebellious Democrats to persuade at least one of the 41 pro-deal senators to allow a vote on the matter – to make Iran hesitate about lighting that fuse.

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