What Should We Say to Democratic Congressmen about Iran?

 

demophoneCongress will have a recess period before it votes on the Vienna Agreement with Iran via the Corker bill. Anyone who has both Republican senators and a Republican representative will almost certainly have no need to convince them to vote against the agreement.

All the action is, therefore, with the Democrats. It was Milton Friedman who said that the secret of good government is “making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.” That is precisely the task at hand over the next seven weeks.

I’m a spectator because I live in a state with two Republican senators and my representative is a member of the Republican leadership. No need to worry about how they will vote!

What should people here who are less fortunate be doing in the next seven weeks to stop the Vienna Agreement?

I’m not sure I would know how to talk to a Democrat politician in a way that would convince him to do something I want him to do. Invoke the ghost of Scoop Jackson? Ask them what they think Jack Kennedy would do about this?

I am serious about asking this question because I would like to see a groundswell that moved the “persuadables” in the Democratic party into doing the right thing. A groundswell has to start somewhere.

Why not here?

Published in Foreign Policy, Politics
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  1. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    What should Ricocheti say to their Democratic Reps and Senators?

    You’re fired!  ok, ok, I know .. I channeled Troy about this comment and he was marginally ok with it ..

    • #1
  2. Mallard Inactive
    Mallard
    @Mallard

    The answer for me specifically is “nothing”. I live in Nevada & the answer to any missive sent to Senate Minority Leader Reid from me will be predictable – LOL !!

    I fully agree though. We must try to build a coalition with right-minded Democrats.

    • #2
  3. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    I’m in Virginia right now, and had actually been thinking about this.

    I assume overmuch eloquence is a waste of time.  Some staffer will probably skim it and put a check mark in the appropriate category — one more against the deal — and that’s it.

    But it was smart of Obama to go to the UN right away, because it makes congressmen feel as though what they say doesn’t matter.  This isn’t true for Republicans, of course: they want to send the message that this deal goes away the moment we have a new President.  The Democrats are stuck with Hillary Clinton, so there isn’t much in it for them to send that message.  It’s something of an empty protest, but it’s one that matters.

    So I guess the argument to them is: we vote against it to send a message about Congress’s authority, and to maintain the ability of a future President — Democrat or Republican — to ignore this bad deal and do what is best for American security.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    I know what I would like to say so therefore I will remove myself from consideration. The nuclear negotiations with Iran would have ended a long time ago if I sat at the table. On the second day of negotiations I would have had a crate of catchers mitts delivered to the Iranian delegation with a note stating: So you want enriched uranium, we will send it to you at 32 feet per second per second. Have a nice day.

    • #4
  5. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    I spent some time thinking about this very question last night.  Detailed reasoning would only confuse Boxer and her staff.  I will, however, point out that Gen. Martin Dempsey (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) testified to the Senate on July 7 that no pressure on Iran relative to arms trafficking and ballistic missile capability should be relieved, yet on July 14, the deal was announced that does exactly that!

    I will also point out that Obama has been wrong about Russia, ISIS, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and possibly Turkey, and there is no reason to believe he suddenly understands foreign policy now.

    I will point out that his weakness on security has been very damaging to the Democratic party and now is the time to switch allegiance to the party from Obama.

    I might also point out that effecting a major policy change with no bipartisan support has been shown to be problematic.

    What do you think?

    • #5
  6. Lensman Inactive
    Lensman
    @Lensman

    Retail Lawyer:I spent some time thinking about this very question last night. Detailed reasoning would only confuse Boxer and her staff. I will, however, point out that Gen. Martin Dempsey (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) testified to the Senate on July 7 that no pressure on Iran relative to arms trafficking and ballistic missile capability should be relieved, yet on July 14, the deal was announced that does exactly that!

    I will also point out that Obama has been wrong about Russia, ISIS, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and possibly Turkey, and there is no reason to believe he suddenly understands foreign policy now.

    I will point out that his weakness on security has been very damaging to the Democratic party and now is the time to switch allegiance to the party from Obama.

    I might also point out that effecting a major policy change with no bipartisan support has been shown to be problematic.

    What do you think?

    Sen. Boxer’s reputation for doing anything smart is pretty poor. Fortunately, she is likely to follow the lead of her fellow Californian, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Therefore, all the arguments above would be excellent points to make to Sen. Feinstein through her web page and at any townhall meeting she might hold during the recess.

    It should be interesting to see if many Dems hold any townhall meetings during the recess. The Democrats are not strong believers in democracy when the people are telling them something they don’t want to hear. As I recall, Nancy Pelosi forced a quick vote on a Friday on ObamaCare back in 2010 because she did not want the Dem Representatives to get an earful from their constituents during the weekend.

    I have seen some speculation that how Sen. Feinstein comes down on the Vienna Agreement will sway a lot of Democrat Senators and Representatives.

    So anyone here who hates the agreement and lives in California has a duty to scream bloody murder to Feinstein’s office — in a polite way of course.

    • #6
  7. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Lensman: I have seen some speculation that how Sen. Feinstein comes down on the Vienna Agreement will sway a lot of Democrat Senators and Representatives. So anyone here who hates the agreement and lives in California has a duty to scream bloody murder to Feinstein’s office — in a polite way of course.

    This seems about right.

    • #7
  8. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Retail Lawyer:I spent some time thinking about this very question last night. Detailed reasoning would only confuse Boxer and her staff. I will, however, point out that Gen. Martin Dempsey (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) testified to the Senate on July 7 that no pressure on Iran relative to arms trafficking and ballistic missile capability should be relieved, yet on July 14, the deal was announced that does exactly that!

    I will also point out that Obama has been wrong about Russia, ISIS, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and possibly Turkey, and there is no reason to believe he suddenly understands foreign policy now.

    I will point out that his weakness on security has been very damaging to the Democratic party and now is the time to switch allegiance to the party from Obama.

    I might also point out that effecting a major policy change with no bipartisan support has been shown to be problematic.

    What do you think?

    Boxer is too stupid to find Iran on a map.  Focus your efforts on DiFi.

    • #8
  9. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Jetstream isn’t far wrong.  I’d expand on it a skosh, though, if I had a Democrat Congressman or Senator:

    “You’re fired.  Don’t even run; you’ll be wasting your party’s spot on the ballot.”

    I’d try to maximize the press’ presence when I said it, too.

    Eric Hines

    • #9
  10. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Leigh:

    Lensman: I have seen some speculation that how Sen. Feinstein comes down on the Vienna Agreement will sway a lot of Democrat Senators and Representatives. So anyone here who hates the agreement and lives in California has a duty to scream bloody murder to Feinstein’s office — in a polite way of course.

    This seems about right.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been back in California for about 36 hours and I’ve already seen TV ads vehemently urging opposition to the deal probably half-a-dozen times. I think the interest groups on this issue are fully cognizant of how big a target she is.

    • #10
  11. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    I once wrote a letter to Maria Cantwell.  She wrote me a nasty gram back telling me how wrong I was.  So…you know.  I could try again I suppose.  Maybe she’s forgotten about me.

    • #11
  12. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    I tried talking to my congressman once. He responded to my concerns that he was only a rubber stamp for Obama by promising to continue being a rubber stamp for Obama.

    There really is no point.

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @JoelB

    Maybe we should keep it short and simple, like, “Please vote down this horrible agreement for the sake of the children of our nation.” I’m not good at making up these things, but it needs to be memorable and strike an emotional chord in few words. These are Democrats we are writing to, right?

    • #13
  14. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Looking for the magic words that will convince Dick Durbin to vote against The Obama. Hoping someone in this thread will come out with them.

    [Several hours later, it occurs to me:

    “Don’t go down in history like Neville Chamberlain, vote NO on the Iran Deal”

    Even though it actually is unfair to Neville Chamberlain for reasons previously discussed to compare the Iran Deal with his Munich Agreement].

    • #14
  15. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Anyone considered reverse psychology?  We should find the worst people advocating for the deal and make them the face of the deal.  There are probably people supporting the deal that the average Democrat would want no part of.

    • #15
  16. user_1014703 Inactive
    user_1014703
    @Topher

    Yesterday, I asked my Congressman, Joe Pitts, what we could do. Yes, call your representatives every single day. But what “moves mountains” (his words) is personal meetings. Get together with people who have READ THE AGREEMENT, and can speak cogently, and meet with your representatives in person.

    This is a long shot, but we absolutely have to to it.

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Democrat representatives and senators won’t listen to any conservative arguments – my personal experience.

    Unfortunately, more and more Republican representatives and senators are doing the same thing.

    • #17
  18. Lensman Inactive
    Lensman
    @Lensman

    Topher:Yesterday, I asked my Congressman, Joe Pitts, what we could do. Yes, call your representatives every single day. But what “moves mountains” (his words) is personal meetings. Get together with people who have READ THE AGREEMENT, and can speak cogently, and meet with your representatives in person.

    This is a long shot, but we absolutely have to to it.

    I have heard the same wisdom from other people in politics. If a Dem Rep. or Sen.  is holding a “town hall” in August, all Ricocheti (and friends) who are constituents should show up. Calling his or her office to inquire about the town hall meeting will give one a chance to ask for a one-on-one meet-up in the absence of a town hall.

    One of the best sources for factual arguments is the Powerline blog. For example, this post about the pie-in-the-sky verification procedures should convince anyone with half a mind, that this is a deal designed to give Iran a nuke. Go back through the archives at Powerline and you will learn enough about the Vienna Agreement to talk intelligently about it. The “dispatches” from Omri Ceren have chapter and verse with footnotes about this travesty.

    The lead State Depart. official for the deal with Iran was the woman who led the negotiations with North Korea during the Clinton Administration to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. We all know how well that worked out. Only in the government do you get promoted for failure.

    The argument against the Vienna Agreement is overwhelming if one is concerned about the security of Americans in the next few decades. This agreement is a giveaway of over $100 billion to people who swear Death to America. We may not be able to stop the giveaway, but every Dem in Congress has to learn that the voters want no part of this deal and that the 2016 election is going to be a “foreign policy” election because of it.

    • #18
  19. Lensman Inactive
    Lensman
    @Lensman

    Stad:Democrat representatives and senators won’t listen to any conservative arguments – my personal experience.

    Unfortunately, more and more Republican representatives and senators are doing the same thing.

    It’s not a conservative argument here. It’s a factual argument. There are no conservative principles involved in an argument about the empty verification procedures that a former arms control official from Sweden (!) has criticized. (See my link in the comment above to the post at Powerline.)

    The number of people objecting to a Dem rep or senator is what really matters here. The voters in Democrat districts or states where Bush won in 2008 or Romney carried in 2012 have the ability to scare those politicians into doing the right thing.

    If you have Sheila Jackson Lee or some other blithering idiot as a Representative, it’s hopeless for you. However, there are enough intelligent and semi-intelligent people in office that people can get through to them if it’s a factual and polite presentation.

    • #19
  20. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Lensman: The number of people objecting to a Dem rep or senator is what really matters here.

    Democratic congressmen aren’t always all that thrilled with the President’s treatment of Congress.  They’ll swallow it when it furthers their agenda.  But a lot of them aren’t on board with this particular agenda.  There seems to be reason to think some are genuinely concerned about its impact on national security. Give them reason to think they’ll be better off politically for opposing him too, and you might just find them with you.

    Seems worth the effort, anyway.

    • #20
  21. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    Leigh:

    Lensman: I have seen some speculation that how Sen. Feinstein comes down on the Vienna Agreement will sway a lot of Democrat Senators and Representatives. So anyone here who hates the agreement and lives in California has a duty to scream bloody murder to Feinstein’s office — in a polite way of course.

    This seems about right.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been back in California for about 36 hours and I’ve already seen TV ads vehemently urging opposition to the deal probably half-a-dozen times. I think the interest groups on this issue are fully cognizant of how big a target she is.

    DiFi talks a good game, but never casts a critical vote against her party.

    • #21
  22. Look Away Inactive
    Look Away
    @LookAway

    I live in Virginia also. I have written and phoned to both Democratic Senators Warner and Kaine that they should vote no to this deal for all of the obvious reasons. I also reminded them of their duty to all of the military personnel domiciled in their State and the purported numbers of US causalities caused by Iranian sponsored terrorists and arms. I reminded them that they and their Party owned this issue like so many others and that I, as well as others, would remind the public of this through letters to the editors and other means.

    Finally, I took them to task for failing to insist the flag be flown at half-mast for the TN dead. Looks like I was not the only one to complain.

    I am proud to day that while respectful, I did manage to get hung up on by both offices.

    • #22
  23. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Well, let’s see. My senators are Patty Murray, you know, the genius Obama put in charge of budget negotiations a few years ago. Her IQ is about my shoe size, and she’s joined to Obama at the hip, so she’s a lost cause.

    My other Senator is her mini-me, Maria Cantwell, whose top priority seems to be crucial Republic-saving issues like whether the Washington DC football team drops Redskins as its name.

    Whenever I have taken the time to send carefully articulated messages about policy  to these two, I have received either a condescending reply lauding the President’s position (on whatever) , or silence.

    I think I’ll just say, vote no on the Iran deal. Saves time.

    • #23
  24. Lensman Inactive
    Lensman
    @Lensman

    Fritz:Well, let’s see. My senators are Patty Murray, you know, the genius Obama put in charge of budget negotiations a few years ago. Her IQ is about my shoe size, and she’s joined to Obama at the hip, so she’s a lost cause.

    My other Senator is her mini-me, Maria Cantwell, whose top priority seems to be crucial Republic-saving issues like whether the Washington DC football team drops Redskins as its name.

    You have my sympathies. It’s like not having a Senator.

    However, don’t forget the House of Representatives. Your Congressman has to worry about 2016 more than a Senator who only has to run once every six years.

    There is a lot of speculation that getting to 290 votes in the House to sustain the threatened veto may be more difficult than getting to 67 votes in the Senate.

    I can envision a scenario where, before this is over, there are demonstrations in Washington against Obama’s sell out. But that is probably a dream.

    I may sound like a cockeyed optimist, but I never like to give up on a fight. There are no totally lost causes because there are no totally won causes. Now we have an idea of what Winston Churchill felt like on September 30, 1938, the day after the Munich agreement.

    • #24
  25. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Lensman: What Should Ricochetti Say to Their Democratic Congressmen?

    I decline to answer on the grounds that it would get me banned for violation of the Code of Conduct.

    • #25
  26. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Like Spin, I am (NOT) represented by Can’t-vote-well, and the Mom in Tennis Shoes who is the dumbest Senator to ever warm a seat in DC.  It is beneath my dignity to say even a word to those low-lifes, who I know hold me in contempt. And my Congress-person is the guy with the perpetual sneer on his face.  Not one word I could say to any of them would penetrate, so I won’t waste my breath.

    • #26
  27. dblaiseb Inactive
    dblaiseb
    @dblaiseb

    I’ll call Schumer’s office every day, or thereabouts.

    I’ll remind him how Argentina and Brazil came around to the wisdom of non-proliferation; Iran’s intransigence is evidence of bad faith.

    And how bad faith, in that bad neighborhood, can only be a walk down the path of disaster and that lots of people will die.

    ~ Schumer doesn’t owe Obama; it’s the other way around.

    • #27
  28. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    All Republicans and supposedly all conservative.  No Democrat to convince or gore.

    • #28
  29. Lensman Inactive
    Lensman
    @Lensman

    Jim Kearney:

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    Leigh:

    Lensman: I have seen some speculation that how Sen. Feinstein comes down on the Vienna Agreement will sway a lot of Democrat Senators and Representatives. So anyone here who hates the agreement and lives in California has a duty to scream bloody murder to Feinstein’s office — in a polite way of course.

    This seems about right.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been back in California for about 36 hours and I’ve already seen TV ads vehemently urging opposition to the deal probably half-a-dozen times. I think the interest groups on this issue are fully cognizant of how big a target she is.

    DiFi talks a good game, but never casts a critical vote against her party.

    The point people might make to DiFi is that the future of her party and Obama’s prestige from shoving through this deal are now diverging. The Democrats are now tying their possible fate as the “Party that Can’t be Trusted on National Security” to the Mad Mullahs in Tehran. If Khamenei does what we conservatives expect him to do, Americans will realize that Obama helped him do it AND that the Democrats helped Obama.

    In the past forty years whenever national security was the dominant issue the Dems lost the White House. The flip side is equally true. The end of the Cold War and victory in Iraq brought us Bill Clinton in 1992. His risk avoidance approach to foreign policy involved acquiescence to the massacre of millions in Rwanda, the rise of Al Qaeda and nuclear weapons in Pakistan and North Korea.

    Obama won’t help them in the 2016 election. For Obama it’s always all about him and he’s not running. So he doesn’t care about the party. DiFi, Schumer, et al should reciprocate.

    It requires a long term view of things (all the way to Nov 2016), but some of the Dems are capable of that.

    • #29
  30. Boomerang Inactive
    Boomerang
    @Boomerang

    Thank you for this post, Lensman! I am preparing to communicate with Patty Murray and Cant-think-well, and appreciate the help.  As you said, Fritz, both are masters (mistresses?) of the condescending reply.

    As for our Congressman  – Jim McDermott — he is not as smart as Boxer.  He may not know that there has been an agreement with Iran.

    RushBabe, I know it seems pointless to contact them, but if we keep it simple —

    “Please vote against the Iran deal.  Please do not put nuclear weapons and Intercontinental  Ballistic Missiles into the hands of those who have pledged Death to America.  Americans are shocked at how dangerous this deal is for us, and for the Middle East. It will start a nuclear arms race in the region! Give the people a voice.  The people say NO.”

    (first draft. feel free to edit.)

    Even when Patty and Maria and Jim do nothing, I want them to have one small moment at 3 in the morning when they think – “intercontinental…hmmm…” and “sure am getting a lot of pressure to vote against this thing.”

    • #30
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