Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Is immigration reform the answer to the Social Security and Medicare problems?

Proponents of immigration reform are still hoping this will be the year Congress will act, even though there's growing evidence that lawmakers and maybe the Obama administration are getting cold feet as critical midterm elections approach and anti-immigration forces ratchet up their efforts.

New AJC Survey: No Big Swings in American Jewish Public Opinion

I haven't had a chance to fully digest the American Jewish Committee's 2010 survey of American Jewish public opinion, released today without any warning to unsuspecting Jewish newspaper editors. We've posted a JTA story on the release here.

But one number jumped out at me. When asked about President Barack Obama's handling of U.S.-Israel relations, 55 percent approved, 37 percent disapproved.

No Netanyahu at Nuke Summit

A few weeks ago, I was wondering what was going through Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's head when he decided to attend next week's nuclear summit in Washington, where representatives of 47 countries, including many of heads of state, will gather to talk about nuclear terror, and in the process produce what local officials say will be some record-breaking traffic gridlock.

Obama's Christianity on display - not that it will quiet the rumor mongers

Over at the Spiritual Politics blog, Mark Silk, who heads the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, has an interesting and provocative analysis of President Obama's appearance at yesterday's White House Easter prayer breakfast.

Jews in Trouble on Capitol Hill

In the Jewish-legislators-in-trouble department, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis) could face his stiffest challenge yet, if current polls are accurate.

According to a survey conducted for Wisconsin Public Radio, Feingold, who is in his third term, trails former Gov. Tommy Thompson, a Republican who hasn't even announced his candidacy yet, by 12 points.

Here's a link to the survey.

An "imposed" settlement?

 Israeli newspapers are seething with rumors of an likely attempt by the Obama administration to “impose” a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That seems unlikely to me, if for no other reason than you can't very well impose a two-state solution when there are, in fact, three entities that are part of this equation, and one of them – Hamas – has no interest in anything resembling peace.

ADL applauds repeal of religious garb ban in Oregon schools

This just in: the ADL is applauding the repeal of an Oregon law barring teachers from wearing religious garb in public school classrooms.

That puts Oregon in line with most other states, which do not prohibit teachers from wearing head scarves, turbans, religious-themed T-shirts - or kippot.

ADL regional director Hilary Bernstein had this to say:

Drill, Baby, Drill: The (barely audible) Jewish response

The Reform movement, which really wants to like President Barack Obama even while some other Jewish segments bash him because of the diplomatic chill with Israel, isn't exactly happy with his newly announced energy policies, which some environmentalists say could turn East Coast beaches into a gooey mess and actually forestall genuine energy independence.

AIPAC letter reveals: Obama Israel policies making House members nervous

 So AIPAC has convinced some 327 members of the House of Representatives to sign a letter essentially telling the Obama administration to keep its criticisms of the Israeli government private.

Mazel tov; that's an impressive achievement for the pro-Israel lobby group, although it probably didn't take much arm twisting; there's a lot of unease on Capitol Hill about where this administration's Mideast policy is headed.

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