James Besser's blog

Presidential Tidbits: is Romney the frontrunner who can't win?

It was a lively week in presidential politics, a welcome relief from stories about killer tornados, the debt ceiling crisis and other natural disasters.

There was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's motorcycle appearance at Rolling Thunder on Washington's Mall and her East Coast bus tour, and the strange rise of pizza king Herman Cain in the GOP standings (just weeks after Donald Trump rose to the top of the heap and abruptly folded).

It's the economy, stupid - again

 I write about Jewish politics for a Jewish newspaper, so it's hardly surprising I tend to look at things through the lens of the issue that preoccupies most major Jewish groups: Israel.

But if I was working on President Obama's reelection campaign, Israel would be the least of my worries. Even among Jewish voters, he faces a much bigger danger in the months ahead: the sputtering economy.

Hasner backs Ryan Medicare plan; will that fly with Jewish voters in Fla.?

Adam Hasner, the former Majority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives, is considered a comer in GOP circles and a genuine Jewish Republican all star.

He is also a strong defender of Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial proposal for overhauling Medicare – a proposal that has many Republican candidates running for cover and which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called "right-wing social engineering.” .

Yoffie: For Israel, casting blame is not a plan. Miller: bluffing won't improve Obama's hand.

I was struck by the good sense of Rabbi Eric Yoffie's blog in Sunday's Jerusalem Post headlined “The Palestinians are at fault, but so what?”

Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, argues that although the Palestinians are “responsible for the absence of peace,” ultimately what matters is whether Israel has a plan for dealing with that reality – a plan beyond simply clinging to the current status quo and saying it's the other side's fault.

Maybe it's not a good time for an Obama visit to Israel, after all

An interesting item yesterday by Jerusalem Post blogger Shmuel Rosner, who  analyzes some of the wreckage of last week's Netanyahu-Obama meeting.

Moving the goalposts on Palestinian statehood

Republican lawmakers and some pro-Israel groups are in an snit about President Obama's call for Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations, with the starting point being the 1967 borders – with negotiated land swaps.

Is what they're saying that there should never be a real Palestinian state? Because if you reject the idea of starting with the 67 borders and negotiating from there, that may be what you're advocating, intentionally or not.

Doomsday talk about Obama and Israel

Like so many others, I've been intrigued by the California radio preacher and his gullible flock who predicted doomsday on May 21, and are now engaged in furious rationalization to explain why they were right even though the world seems to be continuing on its merry way.

Inside look at AIPAC policy conference logistics

AIPAC, which wrapped up its 2011 Policy Conference on Tuesday, is always closed mouthed about what the huge and lavish event costs.

Who won the Netanyahu-Obama showdown? How about 'nobody?'

 People keep asking me: in a frenzied few days of speech making, lobbying and diplomacy in Washington, who came out on top – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or President Barack Obama? (see my story on the week's events here.)

Netanyahu's real message to Congress: I'm like you, Israel is like America

Minute after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left the House dais to rapturous applause, I had a call from a friend who also watched the long-anticipated speech to a joint meeting of Congress.

“He looks so smug, almost lounging against the podium,” my friend complained. “It creates a bad impression.”

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