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January 15, 2014 10:04 AM Time to Yell at Senate Democrats Who Support the Iran Sanctions Bill

By Mark Kleiman

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.

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.

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

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.

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