President Obama has just presented the Democrats with a game-changing achievement in the foreign policy arena, and Democrats had better get out ahead on this accomplishment, or they will be defined as "appeasers" by Republicans.
No one expects that every Democrat has drilled down on the details that have emerged from the marathon negotiation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. They will just have to take it on faith that, when completed, this new Plan will be a singular achievement in foreign policy. The concessions wrung from the Iranians go far beyond critics expectations.
If this is understood by Democrats, they will have to gird their collective loins and start the counterpunch activities, because the warmongers in the Republican Party are going to be repeating the same litany that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been screaming from the ramparts, "nothing short of complete capitulation on the nuclear issue is acceptable." Failing to achieve complete surrender should put us on a war footing, and according to at least one of their wingnuts, John Bolton, former Bush appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, war is really the only solution.
The Republican leadership has made it clear that they are on a war footing and spoiling to have more troops and armaments sent into this troubled area. This transparency is demonstrated by their invitation to Netanyahu to speak before Congress, as is Senator Tom Cotton 's juvenile letter addressed to the Iranian Ayatollahs signed by 47 Republicans,, as well as House Majority Leader John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's visits to Israel, signifying that they are bent on scuttling any proposal that might emerge.
Democrats need to publicly define the Republicans for what they are, the War Party, created by the thuggery of the Bush-Cheney Era that invented the circumstances for invading Iraq. It has been the disastrous deficit spending Republicans have supported in pursuit of war that has created the levels of national debt we forced to support. It is the Republican Party that would gladly strip the financial safety nets created by Democrats in favor of fighting another war.
The fact that Republicans control both Houses of Congress places Democrats at a strategic disadvantage, which is compounded by their usual milquetoast responses. The lesson has not yet been learned that the Republican message machine will eat their lunch on this issue if they do not collectively and resoundingly bring a different message to the fore. Democrats need to state it boldly: the Republican Party wants war. The Republican Party will press for greater military involvement in the Middle East, boots on the ground, the arming of the Syrian resistance, providing guidance to Iraqis against their ISIS nemesis, drone strikes in Yemen -- or anywhere else for that matter, and backing Israel in defending against threats real or brought on by their own nationalist impulses.
Democratic Party leaders had better get their collective talking points agreed upon and distributed to make their message straightforward: Democrats want peace and to get us out of the Middle East mess that the Bush Administration left behind. The Republicans want war; they want to continue to destroy this country's reputation in the world. Currently, the US is considered the biggest worldwide threat to peace because our Majority Party is a War Party. Republicans want to send our troops into harm's way, and create more casualties for our warriors. For what? To install corrupt leaders and autocrats? That is downright un-American.
It doesn't matter that there might be moderates within the Republican Party who responsibly assess this latest agreement. It doesn't matter that Republicans may or may not ultimately concede that the nuclear disarmament deal with Iran is the best deal that we can get, one that alleviates the world's fear that nuclear war will break out in the Middle East. What matters are all those sound bites carried by Fox News that define the Democrats as wimps, appeasers, or who are simply too weak willed to provide leadership. Defining sound bites are what win elections, and Democrats are not, nor have they been, adept at creating and using succinct sound bites.
Somewhere in the depths of Democrat's strategy labs there may be someone who gets it, but we haven't seen it yet. Unfortunately, the "news" is, and has been for some time, broadcast in simplistic sound bites with politics reportage as no exception. The brief descriptions scarcely capture the public's already limited attention devoted to its citizenship. That reality requires effective, finite messaging that clearly defines the Good Guys.
The framework for an agreement with the Iranians provides an opportune platform for nailing
Republicans for the national and worldwide damage left by the Bush Era. At Bush's hand, the United States created an unholy mess in the Middle East, so this agreement is the best thing that could possibly happen, in that it allows us to step back without global consequences, to let the nations of the Middle East decide their own fate and the manner in which they choose to interact with the rest of the world. It is a message that has to be encapsulated into the Democrats' sound bites and beaten to death on every airwave they can access. The Republicans have led with their chin on this issue; Democrats need to clock them!
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