Barack H. Obama needs to channel Lyndon B. Johnson.
In a big way.
President Obama’s negotiating team — led by Secretary of State John Kerry — has just brokered a deal that cuts off Iran’s path to obtaining a nuclear weapon.
But not only are congressional Republicans opposed to the deal — which is no surprise in the least — but congressional Democrats appear to be skeptical of the deal.
How does LBJ play into this? I’m trying to imagine congressional Democrats bucking ol’ Lyndon, who was legendary in his ability to cajole his former congressional colleagues into seeing things his way.
Vote with me, or else I’m going to make your life holy hell, he would tell friend and foe alike. There was not disputing LBJ’s sincerity. When he said he’d make congressmen and women’s lives uncomfortable, he meant it.
Former Amarillo College President Paul Matney, who is no slouch as a political observer, once told me he thought Obama’s greatest weakness as president was his lack of congressional relationships. He served only three years in the Senate before being elected president in 2008 and hadn’t built a large cache of friends on Capitol Hill upon whom he could depend when the going gets tough.
It’s going to get quite tough in the weeks ahead as the president seeks to sell the details of his Iran nuclear deal to members of both parties.
Imagine Democrats telling Lyndon Johnson that they’re skeptical of a deal negotiated by a presidential team of the same party.
As for President Obama’s efforts to sell this deal — which I believe has the potential for bringing a more comprehensive peace to the Middle East — well, good luck, Mr. President.