Barack Obama

In A Divided Government, Forging A Centrist Agenda

11/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The tectonic plates of power underneath the nation’s capital are radically shifting in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. Everyone in Washington — from the White House to industry associations to public interest groups and more — is still assessing the fate of the issues they care about in light of the new lay of the land, and the Jewish community is no exception. The good news is, for many of the issues that we care about, the shift from one-party rule to divided government offers opportunities, albeit with challenges, too.

East Jerusalem housing, the State Department and the Three Stooges

What is it about Joe Biden and East Jerusalem housing announcements?

The Israelis did it again on the eve of the Vice-President's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the results were as predictable as a Three Stooges script: the Israelis announced plans for more than 1300 new apartments (the bonk on Biden's head), the State Department  reflexively emitted a shopworn protest (the poke in the eye), commentators commented (picture Curly woob-woob-woobing) and then everybody went about their business.

Cheap talk about an expensive Iran war

While Iran is signaling once again that it's interested in talks about its nuclear program, a prominent U.S. senator thinks he has the answer for dealing with the threat: bomb the heck out of them.

After Electoral ‘Shellacking,’ Obama ‘Unwavering’ on Peace

11/05/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama’s commitment to Middle East peace talks is “unwavering,” even after crushing midterm elections, a top aide said.

More on Tuesday's election, the expected GOP wins and Obama Middle East policy

Since last week's story on the issue I've had a lot more conversations about the impact of tomorrow's election and likely GOP gains on the Obama administration's Middle East agenda. But talk doesn't necessarily lead to illumination.

Jewish hawks and doves are pretty much divided in parallel ways.

A most un-illuminating election

Question: what have the congressional election campaigns told us about the state of the debate over U.S. Middle East policy?

Answer: Nothing good.

The fierce, bitter midterm campaigns have demonstrated once again that a small but vocal minority in the Jewish community thinks only of partisan concerns – partisan support for a political faction in Israel, or for the Republican party in this country – and not much about the need to strengthen U.S.-Israel ties or to ensure support for Israel is a bi-partisan affair, not just another partisan wedge issue.

Significant GOP gains in the Nov. 2 elections will make President Obama:

GOP Gains May Cloud Mideast Picture

Republican wins could produce domestic gridlock, uncertainty for Obama peace plans.

10/27/2010
Washington Correspondent

 A big Republican victory on Nov. 2 could bring the Obama administration’s troubled domestic agenda to a dead stop — but it is unlikely to do the same for its faltering Middle East peace efforts, which some Israelis argue favor the Palestinians.

In fact, it could have the opposite result, said Kenneth Wald, a University of Florida political scientist and director of the school’s Center for Jewish Studies.

Will President Obama turn his focus to foreign policy with Republicans poised to pick up many seats in Congress? Getty Images

Bleak assessment of the next Congress: more gridlock ahead

Think Washington is gridlocked today? Wait until January, when the new Congress takes over.

Bitterly polarized politics and an environment in which compromise is a four letter word promise even more paralysis when the next Congress convenes and President Obama starts the second half of his term with even more Capitol Hill tsuris.

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