Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Emanuel Appointment and Obama Administration Mideast Policy

Monday, November 10th, 2008 So what, exactly, does it mean that Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the son of an Israeli who served in the Irgun, has been named White House chief of staff under President-elect Barack Obama? It means a lot, in terms of White House management and policy; the hard-charging, experienced, hyper-aggressive Emanuel will undoubtedly  keep the incoming administration organized, deal effectively with Congress and serve as an effective gatekeeper to a new president who will be besieged by those seeking influence and jobs.

Jewish Republicans: Lemonade from Lemons?

Sunday, November 9th, 2008 James Besser in Washington You have to hand it to Jewish Republicans; they know how to make lemonade out of lemons.

Feingold to Get Foreign Relations Chair?

Friday, November 7th, 2008 James Besser in Washington The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reported today that Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) could be a candidate for the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations, now that the current chair – Sen. Joe Biden – is headed to the Vice President’s mansion.

McCain, Obama and the Wright Factor

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 James Besser in Washington Over the weekend the blogosphere was filled with speculation about this question: would Sen. John McCain now be leading Sen Barack Obama if he had more actively raised the issue of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Democratic nominee’s former pastor? Opinion is divided, with many analysts saying that  the issue of the sinking economy would still trump all others,  but one question has not been actively raised: what about the Jewish community?

It’s Almost Over: McCain and Obama Hunt the Elusive Jewish Swing Voter

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 James Besser in Washington In the closing days of a  presidential election that seems to have dragged on for years, maybe decades, the fight for Jewish votes has gotten even nastier.

Why Obama’s Jewish Numbers are Improving

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Why have Sen. Barack Obama’s Jewish numbers surged, at least according to two polls released last week?  The pollsters don’t answer that question in detail,  but several likely explanations jump out from the numbers. *  The economy.

New Polls: Obama Surging Among Jewish Voters

Friday, October 24th, 2008 James Besser in Washington For months, Jewish Democrats have argued that Sen. Barack Obama’s relatively weak lead among Jewish voters – at least compared to other recent Democratic nominees – would evaporate as the election neared. With less than two weeks left until November 4, there  was evidence this week that they were right. Two polls released on Thursday showed the Illinois Democrat steadily winning over Jewish voters.

McCain Teleconference: Give and Take, or Staged Campaign Event?

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 James Besser in Washington It was billed as a “tele-town hall with Jewish leaders nationwide,” but Sen. John McCain’s electronic meeting on Sunday sounded more like a staged campaign event than a give-and-take with community leaders.

Jesse Speaks, The World Yawns

Friday, October 17th, 2008 James Besser in Washington The Rev. Jesse Jackson may have nothing to do with the Barack Obama presidential campaign, but that isn’t stopping the Republicans from using Jackson’s latest bizarre outburst to tar the Democratic presidential nominee.

The VP Debate: Change the Subject, Please

Friday, October 3rd, 2008 James Besser in Washington Jewish voters hoping to get a better idea how John McCain and Barack Obama might approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict got precious little in Thursday’s vice presidential candidate debate.
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