Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Primary roundup: Sen. Arlen Specter loses; will Rand Paul's civil rights stance turn off Jewish voters?

It's going to be real interesting to see how conservative Jewish voters react to the remarkable ascendance of Rand Paul, who won the Kentucky senatorial primary last week.

Unlike his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rand is a supporter of Israel and sometimes sounds like he's reading from AIPAC talking points.

But he shares the libertarian hostility to most government programs and the Federal Reserve system, and he managed to stir up huge controversy this week with this comments about civil rights. While he says he doesn't favor repeal of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, he doesn't support federal civil rights legislation, and he doesn't support laws that ban discrimination by private businesses, such as restaurants.

The Blumenthal Follies

It's starting to look as if Connecticut may not have two Jewish U.S. senators after all, thanks to yet another politician who believed voters are dolts and journalists are lazy.

Wisdom and foolishness as Israel bars Noam Chomsky

The best line on the Noam Chomsky affair?  It comes from Atlantic blogger Jeff Goldberg, who came up with this gem:  "Real democracies aren't afraid of ridiculous men like Noam Chomsky." 

The Jerusalem Gambit, The Presidents Conference And Peter Beinart

The more I think about it, the more I see why left-of-center pro-Israel groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now are bouncing off the walls about last week's ad on Jerusalem by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Libya elected to UN Human Rights Council; you can't make this stuff up

A year ago, the Obama administration decided to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council, the ridiculous panel that seems to believe Israel is the only human rights problem in the world, on the theory that it could reform the group from the inside.

Some reform; last week Libya was elected to the Council.

Blasphemy alert: Alon Pinkas, former Israel diplomat, calls for a U.S. peace plan

American pro-Israel groups, mostly an echo chamber for the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem, have jumped on the “don't present a U.S. peace plan” refrain like ants jump on picnic scraps. But a longtime Israeli diplomat has different ideas.

The perils of Arlen: does Specter have an Elena Kagan problem?

As if he needed more tsuris in in his fight for a sixth term – this time as a Democrat – Sen. Arlen Specter, the veteran Jewish lawmaker,  now may have a major Elena Kagan problem.

Kagan is President Obama's nominee to fill the seat of the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, and Specter – back when he was a Republican, which was after he was Democrat – voted against her last year when Obama appointed her solicitor general.

Bizarre twist in Mojave cross case: it's gone

Will the Mojave Desert cross controversy ever end?

You may recall that last month the Supreme Court ruled that the 7 foot Christian symbol, erected in 1934 to honor fallen U.S. servicemen, was not necessarily a violation of church-state separation just because it was erected on federal land, a ruling that disturbed groups like the American Jewish Committee.

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