There is one thing that unites Americans.
We are baffled and a little envious of the people who live in countries where entire populations take a month off of work. It’s hard for us to comprehend.
Most Americans, if they get vacation, get 10 days off with pay.
It’s unimaginable to take enough time to actually unwind, unless you are a member of Congress.
They take a “summer recess”.
It’s usually about five weeks beginning in August. They say they are “working” in their districts. Many of them do meet the constituents, attend ground breakings and meet community groups.
This year, this period at home could matter more than others.
There is one thing that most politicians have in common, they want to keep their jobs.
If they hear a lot of their voters say the same thing, they tend to listen.
They will be waiting to hear what the electorate thinks of the Iran deal.
This is why you have seen both sides putting so much emphasis on trying to set the narrative before the beginning of the break.
This is one of those times that public pressure could make a difference.
Obama has been all over the airwaves, talking about why he thinks this nuclear deal is a good one [Reuters]
So let’s take a look at the two sides.
President Barack Obama is obviously pushing for the nuclear agreement. On his side, the bully pulpit.
He has been all over the airwaves, talking about why he thinks this deal is a good one.
He’s hosting conference calls with the supporters from his campaign. He is trying once against to get his grassroots supporters mobilised. He sent them this blunt warning on Thursday evening.
“Because the lobbying that’s taking place on the other side is fierce, it is well-financed, it is relentless. And, in the absence of your voices, you’re going to see the same array of forces that got us into the Iraq War leading to a situation in which we forgo a historic opportunity, and we are back on the path of potential military conflict.”
He’s worried that members of his own party are getting “squishy”.
On the other side, those against the deal have a ton of money.
It’s hard to look at Twitter, turn on the TV or open a newspaper without a very slick ad telling me that approving the deal is the equivalent of signing up with Satan and an eventual fiery painful death.
So polls matter. Congress was given just 60 days to decide if US sanctions should be lifted and so time is limited.
So the politicians against the deal were delighted to see the headline “Americans overwhelming want Congress to reject the deal.” I thought that could be a signal that the money was beating the bully pulpit so I read the poll.
The media wars
Here is the way the CNN/ORC poll phrased the question:
“As you may know, the US Congress must approve the agreement the United States and five other countries reached with Iran that is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons before it can take effect. Do you think Congress should approve or reject the deal with Iran?
The result 44 percent say approve, 52 percent say reject. Here is the problem with that, it’s factually incorrect.
The US Congress does not have the power to stop the agreement.
They have the ability to prevent the president from waiving certain US sanctions. We don’t know what would happen after that.
I found another poll that I think was actually more interesting. It was from the Washington Post and ABC news.
This is how they phrased the question:
“The US and other countries have announced a deal to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran agreeing not to produce nuclear weapons. International inspectors would monitor Iran’s facilities, and if Iran is caught breaking the agreement economic sanctions would be imposed again. Do you support or oppose this agreement?”
When asked that way, 56 percent support the deal 37 percent were opposed. This is a complicated issue and the media doesn’t tend to ‘do complicated’ very well.
The President is being outspent on this issue by overwhelming margins.
If he is going to have any chance of keeping Congress on his side, he is going to have to convince the American people to get involved.
His mission: make sure members of Congress fear the voters more than the powerful and well-funded pro-Israeli government lobby.
Source: Al Jazeera