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Organizing And Covering The Debate Over The Iran Deal

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The Iran “deal” is so bad and the consequences so extreme –a nuclear Iran, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, massive funding for a rogue regime and the lifting of the conventional arms embargo which means more money and weapons for the killing fields of Syria and the arsenals of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Houthi militias— that the odds are that the deal will be voted down on the first round of voting but that the veto override will be the real battle. (Even the New York Times cannot hide how much the president gave Iran and collapsed on his “must have” demands.)

The Senate should not go on recess for four weeks but rather stagger its members’ trips back home with ongoing hearings.  Leader McConnell should lay out the schedule of the debate soon so that media and anti-deal forces can target the key dates and votes.  Canceling the recess for the Senate will underscore in a stroke the seriousness of the president’s deeply desperate and dangerous play for historical significance in his own mind and the Iranians’ perfect manipulation of his and Kerry’s dreams of glory.  The House should vote soon to get a list of Democrats who need to hear from their voters (and for whom primary challengers may need to be identified.)  Speed in the House to the first vote, but a measured walk in the Senate to the first vote seems the best path.

The debate needs to focus in the Senate where the Senate’s warriors –Cotton, Ernst and Sullivan– need to have featured roles as they are the ones who have fought this particular evil regime and who have served alongside men and women killed and wounded by Iran’s forces. Different committees have different roles so six weeks of hearings means 24 different hearings and surely there are between two and four dozen witnesses to parade in sequence before those committees to provide daily content and messaging on the specifics of the deal’s many and terrible flaws.  A story has to be told and that requires planning and execution.  It is Mitch McConnell’s most important moment.

The hearings have to crystalize in the public’s mind just how dangerous the regime is, how utterly without restraint it is, and how it cannot be trusted.  If Leader McConnell puts together the right set of hearings, running Monday through Friday through the completion of the first vote in early September, there will be daily material for the public to absorb and then contact their senators about.  Democratic senators have to understand how this vote will haunt them –far more than Obamacare, far more than TARP.  The debate has to be organized so that senators become known for –and perhaps only for– their position on the appeasement proposed by the president.  There needs to be established a scorecard of the senators and the representatives that clearly marks out their statements on the deal and the votes they take.

All the while the media has to find and elevate the voices of the most expert critics.  On yesterday’s show I featured 13 guests, and the audio and transcript is available below so that everyone can see how to interview a guest about Iran.  The key is to focus not at all on President Obam,a and his delusions of grandeur or John Kerry’s flights of fancy, but the actual on-the-ground-consequences of this disaster.  Here are the links to the interviews in order of their posting:

Carly Fiorina

Senator John Thune

Senator Lindsey Graham

Former Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer

Senator Cory Gardner

Senator Tom Cotton

Governor Bobby Jindal

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan

Former Israeli Ambassador Dr. Michael Oren

Robert C. O’Brien




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