Iran sanctions and the awesome power of the RBC

Senate Democrats no longer rattling sabres at Iran.

Due, no doubt, to the flurry of emails, phone calls, and faxes generated by my earlier post, it now appears that Senate Democrats are backing away from the Kirk-Menendez bill. (I refuse to entertain the notion that this is simply common sense settling in, without any help from RBC readers.)

Ben Cardin, for example, says that he’s willing to leave the timing of a vote up to Harry Reid, who has made it clear he intends to bring the bill up on the Twelfth of Never. Michael Bennet and Joe Manchin say they co-sponsored the bill so the threat of its passage could strengthen the President’s hand in Iran negotiations, not with the intention that it actually pass.

Now are we going to hear Ben Cardin denounced as insufficiently pro-Israel? Probably. (At least Commentary, which misrepresents the earlier post by suggesting that I had called on only, rather than especially, those with “Jewish-sounding names” to call for sanity, states my reason correctly: “these calls would seem to carry extra weight and legitimacy if they appeared to be coming from those who are assumed to be pro-Israel.”)

Footnote Now that the Reality-Based Community has demonstrated its power to shape national policy, all of us – however we spell our last names – must be careful to use that power responsibly. Let us astound the world with our moderation! For example, rather than demanding a return to Eisenhower-era tax rates on high incomes and large estates, we should be prepared to settle for the Reagan-era rates, along with Nixon-era policies on drug sentencing.


Iran: Time to say “enough, already!”

If your Democratic senator co-sponsors the Kirk-Menendez war-with-Iran bill, ask him or her to back off.

If you’re a constituent of, of contributor to, Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Cory Booker (N.J), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Mark Pryor (Ark.),Charles Schumer (N.Y.), or Mark Warner (Va.), please consider making a phone call or sending a fax or email telling that Senator to back off the lunatic piece of warmongering legislation known as the Kirk-Menendez bill, designed to torpedo the nuclear deal with Iran. As of now, they’re all co-sponsoring it. Please consider making your voice heard especially strongly if you’re Jewish, or have a Jewish-sounding name.

When I see Ben Cardin’s name on the list, I want to weep. As a young political junkie in Baltimore, I admired Cardin intensely. He was a great state legislator and has been a fine Congressman and Senator. And maybe – I hope – his support for the bill is just for show, or for tactical advantage, or because he’s afraid of Sheldon Adelson and the AIPAC goon squad. Surely he must be smart enough to figure out that war with Iran is as much of a losing proposition for Israel – not for Bibi, but for the Zionist project – as it is for the U.S. He, and his weak-kneed colleagues, need to hear from the rest of us, loud and clear.

I don’t think the message needs to be very complex. How about:

Dear Senator X:

President Obama and Secretary Kerry seem to have pulled off a diplomatic miracle by negotiating Iran out of its nuclear-weapons progam. Please refrain from making their job harder.

Very truly yours,

Every Senator’s website has a fax number on it. I’m told that makes a bigger impact that email. But email is better than nothing. (Snailmail is almost worthless; since the anthrax scare, it gets held up forever.) Phone calls are also good. Be direct, but polite and respectful. Don’t give the staffer on the other end of the phone a hard time. If you’ve been a supporter in the past, say so, and say why. And make it clear that this issue is a priority for you.

Update Cory Booker’s co-sponsorship is especially heartbreaking. If, like me, you once looked forward to voting for Booker for President, and if, like me, you’re deeply unhappy about what he just did, you might want to tell him so. Kirsten Gillibrand might be in the same category.

Second update On the other hand, if you’re a Californian you should let DiFi and Boxer know you’re proud of them.