Gov Sununu: ‘From the Day They Announce, Every Politician Is Lobbied on an Issue that Has Nothing to Do With Their District’ (Guess the Issue)

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 8 Comments

Whatever you think of his conservative politics (and I don’t like ’em), John Sununu, Bush 41’s chief of staff and the former gov of New Hampshire, is a brilliant guy.  Sununu is a nuclear engineer, a self-made man, and one tough politician.

Sununu is also an Arab-American. I’ve always wondered what Sununu has to say about the Israel lobby. Well here he is, on the website of the new book, The Much Too Promised Land, by Aaron David Miller, talking about the Israel lobby:

It’s like a handful of pebbles in the shoe. It’s there all the time, and this process of not permitting anything that’s trying to tug in the other direction, to gain root and thrive, is almost automatic. And it’s not just AIPAC, it happens all the time, everywhere. Every congressman, every senator, before they win, is being soft lobbied on the issue. Whether it’s their friend that owns 40 acres down the street whose grandfather happened to have come from Kiev, goes in and talks to him about helping him, developing a social relationship on an issue that has nothing to do with the district, begins to communicate their interest. And rightly so– pulling on their end of the rope. It happens almost invisibly. But across the board. There is nobody who has run for office in this country who has not been soft lobbied the day they announce that they are going to run and not been hard lobbied after they win.

Astute, nuanced, and frank, these statements absolutely confirm what I observed more impressionistically when I reported that a friend who was thinking of running for Congress in my district faced an immediate test from New York money people on the Israeli "settlements" issue. And it is consistent with my own experience in political journalism. From the beginning, there has been pressure to hew to the line on Israel. And any effort to grow a different point of view? Discouraged….

But our culture is changing. The natives are restless! We are two years into the Era of Walt and Mearsheimer… And one day soon there is sure to be journalism on this question at last…

8 Responses

  1. jonathan ekman
    March 4, 2008, 11:49 am

    I fear that the restless natives are few
    in number and politically powerless, but they
    should be encouraged to read The Transparent
    Cabal by Stephen Sniegoski, to be published
    in June 2008.

  2. Richard Witty
    March 4, 2008, 11:54 am

    What specific question are you asking, Phil?

    "The Walt/Mearsheimer" question is not a question.

  3. Richard Witty
    March 4, 2008, 11:56 am

    From Sununu's comments, I didn't get that he resented the lobbying, soft and all.

    If I were running for office, I would assume that a gamut of perspectives would be brought to me.

    Why shouldn't people's perspectives on Israel be brought to a representative?

  4. bill
    March 4, 2008, 12:09 pm

    Richard, you coveniently miss the point. It's very expensive to run for office, but I will provide the $'s if you agree to ….
    in olden days it used to be called bribery!

  5. Michael Blaine
    March 4, 2008, 1:50 pm

    "Sununu is a nuclear engineer."

    "Sununu is also an Arab-American."

    Hey, I thought Arabs were innately unable to handle tough academic subjects!

    (At least, that's what was asserted here a few weeks ago by a handful of commenters.)

  6. Michael Blaine
    March 4, 2008, 1:52 pm

    "I fear that the restless natives are few
    in number and politically powerless."

    I agree.

  7. Jim Haygood
    March 4, 2008, 3:02 pm

    "There is nobody who has run for office in this country who has not been soft lobbied the day they announce that they are going to run and not been hard lobbied after they win." – John Sununu

    This is exactly what Paul Findley said 23 years ago in "They Dare To Speak Out." Nothing has changed. The stories remain consistent. What also never changes is that only retired politicians tell these frank stories. Serving ones can't, because the money sources who wanted to grill Phil's friend on settlements would run a primary challenger against them — as Paul Findley found out.

    Isn't it SHOCKING that plutocratic billionaires want to fund West Bank settlements? Ongoing settlement expansion, for another forty years, implies some kind of Final Solution in which the Palestinians are starved or driven out entirely. Occasionally the Israeli right wing actually blurts out such sentiments.

    Nuclear-armed Israel is surely the world's most dangerous rogue state. One can only describe its billionaire backers in New York as gangsters. Oops, my phone's ringing; it's Abe Foxman on the line, and boy is he pissed …

  8. Charles Keating
    March 4, 2008, 3:20 pm

    Our top military leaders also wait until they are retired to blow
    the whistle on Israel pandering–Bill is correct, Witty missed the point; he does so, so often it makes one think it's intentional.

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