Sometimes, I think, liberals have trouble recognizing the possibility that public opinion might be on our side in a controversy. Check out, for example, the results of the Foreign Affairs / Public Agenda poll regarding the use of force against Iran:
In dealing with Iran, 44 percent prefer diplomacy to establish better relations and 28 percent favor economic sanctions. Support for military action is in the single digits and so is even threatening military action. This preference for non-military solutions cuts across party identification. Republicans are more likely to favor sanctions than improved diplomatic relations, but they still prefer non-military options (68 percent of Republicans, compared to 78 percent of Democrats).
Under the circumstances, there’s absolutely no reason for Democrats to feel that it’s necessary to include gratuitous threats of military action in their public comments on this subject.
What’s more, as you’d expect, this isn’t some idiosyncratic opinion about Iran that people have developed. Just as 9/11 and what appeared to be a surprisingly easy victory over the Taliban made a lot of people much more willing to believe in the efficacy of military solutions during the 2002–2003 period, the public has become much more generically skeptical that military action is the best way to combat nuclear proliferation:
The skepticism about the use of force applies in general terms as well. A plurality of the public, 43 percent, says attacking countries that develop weapons of mass destruction would enhance national security “not at all” — a 14-point jump in six months. Those who say it would enhance security “a great deal” dropped 19 points, to 17 percent.
All-in-all, it’s a good public opinion context for this whole Pelosi-in-Damascus fight to play out in.