Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Wrong Way to Sell the Iran Deal
By David Gilfix

Supporters of the Iran deal are trying to convince Americans that everyone else supports it too, except for a few renegades who are either war mongers, America haters, Israeli supporters who don’t care about the United States, or simply inferior analysts – depending on who is making the accusations.  Chuck Schumer has been accused of all four and more, in retaliation for declaring that he will vote his conscience rather than his Party.

But simple logic should tell us that not only are those who oppose the deal not an exception; they might actually be close to the majority.  Obama and Kerry must know this.  That is why they are selling this deal as an “Agreement” rather than a “Treaty.”   A “Treaty” requires the ratification of two-thirds of the Senate, and is binding on future presidents.  Clearly, this deal would have been presented as a Treaty if Obama believed he could win the two-thirds approval.  He didn’t.

Instead the deal is being submitted as an  “Agreement,” under the terms of the recently passed Corker Bill, which requires only a majority approval to pass.  As an Agreement, President Obama would be able to veto a majority rejection of the deal, providing he gets at least one-third plus one members of either the Senate or the House or Representatives to support the deal.  

So Obama is fighting to get one-third plus one votes in either house of Congress in order to pass the Agreement.  Those opposed to the Agreement are fighting to get two-thirds of both houses of Congress to disapprove the deal in order to reject it. 

And it is a fight.

Which means that not everyone approves the deal, despite the smug assumptions of some of its supporters. 

Not only is there disagreement among elected representatives, but also among voters.   Recent polls show mixed results.  According to data provided in an article posted on, the most recent Quinnipiac University poll indicates that 57 percent of Americans oppose the deal, while just 28 percent supported it (presumably the rest are undecided).  A July 20th ABC/Washington Post poll indicated the opposite, that 56 percent of Americans support the deal, while 37 percent oppose it. However, a Pew Research Center poll, released at the same time, of people familiar with the deal indicated that 48 percent rejected it and only 38 percent accepted it.

It is possible that, as the vote nears, some Democratic representative who are ‘on the fence’ about the deal will jump on the “support side” if they believe that Obama will get his needed one-third plus one votes either way.  But right now I think it is accurate to say that neither a majority of representatives or a majority of Americans clearly support the Iran deal.

Of course, none of these polls address the actual issues around the deal.  They simply demonstrate that the argument that ‘you should support the deal because everyone else does’ – which is a stupid method of decision making, anyway – is factually wrong.   

1 comment:

abe c said...

David- I think you are correct...the agreement is not being presented as a Treaty because it has a better chance of passing this way.

I posted a link on Facebook today- 340 American rabbis have signed a statement in support of the Agreement.
I sense that America, and American Jews, are divided on this issue. Those who say there is one voice on this issue are mistaken.