There’s something surreal about watching the intricate complexities of Middle East foreign policy boiled down to two-minute speeches at a tea party rally. That was the scene on Capitol Hill Wednesday when the Tea Party Patriots organized a rally to protest President Barack Obama’s deal with Iran to limit the country’s development of nuclear weapons. While lawmakers debated the agreement inside the Capitol, 50 speakers braved the sweltering heat—including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, GOP presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Donald Trump, and media personality Glenn Beck—to call on Congress to kill the deal.
Here are a few of the alternative proposals that these nuclear proliferation experts offered:
Lawsuits: Cruz, the former Texas solicitor general and famed trial lawyer, suggested a fleet of lawyers could defeat both Iran and any effort by the president to lift sanctions. “Any bank that listens to this president and hands over billions of dollars to a terrorist will face billions of dollars in civil litigation,” he said.
Stick to Theology: Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson told the crowd that, unlike Obama, he would never make deals in the first place with anyone who was “hollering at the top of their lungs when I walk out of the place, ‘Death to you. I’m going to kill you.'” Besides, he said, when God decided to become flesh, “What kind of flesh did he become? Jewish flesh!” So it was important, he said, to help the Jews. “They wrote the Bible, for crying out loud,” he explained. “Therefore, you never want to put them in unnecessary danger.”
Cheerleading: Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, an organization that attempts to “bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy,” said her recent trip to Israel persuaded her that the Iran deal was an “Esther moment” for women in the crowd (a biblical reference to Queen Esther, who is credited with saving the Persian Jews). Nance pointed out that while those who had gathered might not know what they would have done during the Holocaust when FDR was in office, now they have a chance to step it up for Israel and, as Esther did but FDR didn’t, prevent the destruction of Jews. She led the crowd in cheers of “Is-ri-al! Is-ri-al!”
Declare Victory: Palin, the former vice presidential candidate, provided a characteristically nuanced analysis of how the country should handle the “braggadocious No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism.” She said, “It’s up to us to tell the enemy, ‘We win, you lose,’ just as Ronald Reagan would have told them.” Simple as that. And if calling the Iranians doesn’t get the job done: “You cut off their oil and drill, baby, drill for our own.”
Negotiate Like a Boss: Describing the entire negotiation of the Iran deal as incompetent, Trump first insulted the Obama administration, calling the president’s team “very, very stupid people.” He then pointed to his tested and proven skill in negotiation, assuring the crowd that a deal with Iran is like any deal. Echoing Palin’s argument, he said, “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning.” He did not suggest that the Iranians might get bored with losing.