Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Jews in the (Political) News: Waxman and Pritzker

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 James Besser in Washington A leading Jewish congressman has won his battle for control of a committee that could play a major role if lawmakers decide to get serious about energy independence, health care reform and a host of other issues. After a nasty inside battle, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) shoved aside the current chair of the Energy and Commerce  Committee, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).  Waxman won the post by a 137-122 margin in a poll of Democratic House members.

Hillary at State? Not so Fast

Sunday, November 16th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Will  President-Elect Barack Obama pick Sen. Hillary Clinton, his vanquished rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, as secretary of state?  Two weeks ago, experts scoffed at the idea, but a meeting between the two in Chicago on Thursday has set political tongues wagging.

Emanuel Senior Speaks, Junior Apologizes

Friday, November 14th, 2008 James Besser in Washington When Rep. Rahm Emanuel was named chief of staff to President elect Barack Obama, some predicted the volatile, outspoken lawmaker, former Bill Clinton aide and dead fish message sender would get himself in trouble with some kind of outrageous outburst.

Misperceptions About the Jewish Vote

Thursday, November 13th, 2008 James Besser in Washington At a party the other night, I was pressed to talk about the election (actually, after more than a year, it might be nice to talk about something else for a change, like the changing leaves or the stock market…well, scratch the stock market). This was a gathering mostly of liberal non-Jews who were delighted with Barack Obama’s election. And to a person, they had a wildly inaccurate view of how Jewish voters voted on November 4.

Joe Lieberman: Down as a Dem, But Not Out, and Maybe Not So Down

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Remember all those stories about how Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would be booted from the Democratic caucus once the party no longer needed him to hold on to their razor-thin majority in the Senate? It’s looking less and less likely that’s going to happen, despite the fury of some Democrats and  a major “Netroots” campaign to have the three-term senator ousted from his position as chair of the Homeland Security Committee.

Dean Leaving DNC Post After Successful Jewish Outreach Effort

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Howard Dean is calling it quits as chair of the Democratic National Committee after an election that restored his party to the White House, increased its majorities in both Houses of Congress – and solidified a Jewish vote that analysts once believed was getting soft around the edges.

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.
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