Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Obama Presidency Bleeds From Self-Inflicted Wounds

Barack Obama's presidency is in deep trouble, his signature legislative achievement is floundering and our friends, allies and enemies have the impression his administration is confused and in disarray.

And the worst part of all this tzoris is that despite their best (or worst) efforts, Republicans had little or nothing to do with it -- Obama is the victim of self-inflicted wounds

'Nuclear Option' Depends On Where You Sit, Stand

You can ignore the Republican crocodile tears about the end of bipartisanship in the Senate after Democrats invoked the so-called "nuclear option" Thursday to limit the use of filibusters.  There never was any. Bipartisanship ended long ago when GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell vowed to make sure Barack Obama's presidency failed and proceeded to put that into practice by blocking as much of the administration's agenda as he could.

Senate: No New Sanctions For Now

The U.S. Senate won't act on a House-passed bill expanding sanctions on Iran until senators have time to assess what emerges from the negotiations that begin later this week in Geneva between the Iranians and the international group known as P5+1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (United States, France, Britain, Russia and China) plus Germany.

Obamacare Bleeding From Self-Inflicted Wounds

The worst wounds a politician can suffer are usually self-inflicted.  Nixon had Watergate, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Bush 41 had "read my lips" and his son, Bush 43, had Katrina.

And now it's Barack Obama and "if you like your insurance plan you can keep it."

Does US Aid Pay For Settlements, Terrorism?

The answer to that question is Yes and No.

U.S. law prohibits spending any American aid money beyond the Green Line, the pre-June 1967 border, to make sure none of it goes to build or benefit settlements or those who live and work there, which every single administration has considered illegal.

US-Israel Feud Brings Smiles In Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry seemed overly anxious to sign an interim agreement with the Iranians in Geneva last week, and many in the Congress, in Israel and parts of the Arab world breathed a sign of relief when he left empty-handed.  Israel and America's Arab allies in the Persian Gulf were convinced that Kerry wasn't paying enough attention to the details.

That, and Benjamin Netanyahu's withering criticism, helped torpedo the first round of nuclear talks with the Iranians since the election of the Rouhani government this summer.  And that's a good thing.

Boehner Protects GOP Homophobia Reputation

Speaker of the House John Boehner has vowed to block the House from taking up Senate-passed legislation protecting gays from job discrimination because it's bad for business. 

He insists he's not a homophobe or a bigot, just looking out for business interests. Besides, he doesn't see any need for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA), which the Senate approved last week by a 64-32 bipartisan majority.

Toss Out The Bums But Save The Baby

Throw the bums out but don't toss out the baby with the bathwater.  That's the difference between elections and term limits.

Term limiting members of Congress is an inviting answer to a body deservedly held in record low esteem by the American public, but it is an arbitrary, ineffective and unconstitutional method of cleaning house.  

Kerry Off To Jerusalem Again

In an apparent confirmation that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are making little if any progress after three months and 15 sessions, Secretary of State John Kerry is going out next week to try to give them a boost that is expected to include a face-to-face meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  The Palestinians have been complaining that the only thing Israelis want to talk about is security, and the Israelis say that is the most essential issue and, besides, the Palestinian positions on other topics are unrealistic. 

Obama Calls Bibi; What Does It Mean?

It was one of those routine, periodic phone conversations between government leaders, but this one will make the Israeli papers because the recipient of today’s presidential call was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Presumably the NSA knows what was said, but the White House isn’t saying, merely issuing a news release – called a “readout” – saying:

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