The breaking news that Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski is the thirty-fourth member of the Senate to back the Iran nuclear deal means that it's now a done deal.
Like the president's signature health care reform, which also became law through novel legislative maneuvers, the approval of this deal is likely to be a pyrrhic victory.
Congress failed to muster the courage to treat this deal as a treaty–which it is–and that made approval a cinch.
ObamaCare remains unpopular and approval in the Senate is not likely to make the American public less worried about the results of the Iran deal. Facing an existential crisis at the hands of the mullahs, Israel is not likely to be mollified by passage either.
But as Michael Rubin points out at Commentary, the deal was always going to pass, in part because of the way American politics have developed over the last decade or so:
While the Iran deal’s proponents and detractors can debate the merits of the deal, the sharp partisan lines on assessment of the deal affirm what a partisan football U.S. national security has become.
That is unfortunate, and a relatively recent development (while controversial, Congressional votes to engage militarily in Afghanistan and Iraq were bipartisan), all the more so because President Obama might have had bipartisan support had he consulted more broadly to strengthen the accord during the period of negotiation.
Instead, he and Secretary of State John Kerry engaged in a Catch-22: There could be no fair criticism of the accord until all the details were known, and then once negotiators reached an agreement, it was too late to criticize.
It is a weak deal and it won't do anything to prevent Iran from going nuclear but in the meantime will make available to the mullahs billions of dollars to spend on spreading terror, most particularly beefing up attacks on Israel. It didn't have to be this way. We could have held out for a better deal or walked away without a deal, preserving economic sanctions on Iran. As Rubin points out, however, "every time negotiators hit a brick wall, the United States acquiesced."