Over at Vox, Zack Beauchamp tried to make sense of, What Americans Really Think About the Iran Deal. You see, some polls — like Pew — find that only 38% of Americans approve of the deal while 48% disapprove. But other polls — like PPP (pdf) — find that 54% approve while only 38% disapprove. What’s going on with that? Well, Beauchamp noted that the main difference between the polls is that when people are primed with some actual information about the Iran deal, they are much more in favor of it.
I think it is pretty simple. The US media is just terrible. So “Iran” is not the name of a particular country. It’s just a pejorative. So asking people if they approve of the Iran deal is like asking them if they approve of the Festering Maggot deal. But there is another aspect of it too: it is only the right that is making a big deal of it. On the left, it’s an important bit of diplomacy. But it isn’t our salvation. No one thinks that the world would have ended if the deal hadn’t been made. But on the right, it is presented as a big deal — as an existential threat.
Consider for a moment, Jade Helm 15. It is a standard military exercise — the kind of thing that the American military does all the time. But it wasn’t that on the right. Instead it was a prelude to marshal law! The United States was going to “take over” Texas — because apparently, a lot of conservatives think that Texas won the Civil War and thus isn’t already part of the United States. Regardless, Jade Helm 15 started almost two weeks ago, yet just a couple of days ago, I heard from a conservative about this great threat. When it is over on 15 September, I’m sure that I will still hear about it — but slowly the fever will lessen until the new Greatest Threat to America™ is announced.
The same thing is true with the Iran deal. Assuming that Congress doesn’t derail it — in a few years, the freak out will be a distant memory. Because this is what happens to everything that the right freaks out about. Nothing is just a matter of disagreement. It is that they are the last line of defense and the liberals are actively trying to destroy America as they have known it. So Obamacare is not a bad idea; it is the end of freedom. Wall Street reform is not a bad idea; it is the end of freedom. Increased fuel efficiency standards is not a bad idea; it is the end of freedom. And of course, the Iran deal is the end of freedom and literally the end of Israel.
But that’s the conservatives. For the rest of the American people, they are going to see that after this deal goes into effect, their lives are… exactly the same. So when they are asked about this in five years time, they will respond, “What Iran deal?” They won’t care about it then, just as they don’t care about it now. Sure, if you ask them their opinions, they will give it — the only thing in greater supply than American opinions is American ignorance. But regardless of their opinions, they do not care about the Iran deal.
The only question is whether this will be an issue in the 2016 presidential race. And it will be! It will be a very big deal to some people who would never vote for the Democrats. Being concerned about the Iran nuclear deal is like being worried about Jade Helm 15 in the 2016 election — there will be people it matters to. But even they aren’t going to change their votes based upon it.