Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Worst Ever? Not Quite

There's much talk about how relations between the United States and Israel, especially between the two leaders, are worse than ever. 

Not quite.  For all the personal animus between Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu, and there certainly is a lot of it, they are at least still speaking to each other, which is more than could be said of George H.W.Bush and Yitzhak Shamir.  President Bush felt the prime minister had lied to him and refused to take his phone calls for quite a while.

Learning To Play Well With Others

When Bibi Netanyahu was in grade school, his teachers probably did not check the box on his report card where it said, "plays well with others."  He has a long history of clashes with political colleagues and others.  Two of his stronger critics and rivals inside his own Cabinet and are former senior aides who broke with him.

So it comes as no surprise that he also has a long history of difficulty in getting along with foreign leaders – French, German and British but most notably Americans.

A Long, Empty Campaign Ending -- Finally

Another long national nightmare -- the 2014 campaigns -- is almost over.  And it demonstrates once again, as H.L. Mencken said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."  One of the most amazing things about the record amount of spending in this campaign year is how little was devoted to substantive discussion of issues. 

No Billionaire Left Behind

By day he is warning fellow Democrats that if Republicans win control of both chambers in November they'll put the interests of billionaires ahead of the middle class, and by night he has been fundraising among the super-wealthy who pay tens of thousands of dollars a plate to dine with him.

How Did They Find Out: Obama Waging War On Whites

Barack Obama has been waging a “war on whites” since coming to office, with an aim to “divide us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”

That charge comes from the fertile mind of Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks. 

It is part of the Democratic strategy to keep Hispanics from voting Republican, he said, and he predicts it will cost the President’s party white votes. And that, in his view, is why he and House Republicans killed comprehensive immigration reform this year.

How Did They Find Out: ISIS Invading Via Mexico

Some Republican candidates in statewide and congressional races this fall are saying they oppose the bipartisan Senate-passed immigration bill because it would open the way for radical Islamists of the Islamic State (ISIS) to invade the United States from the south and bring in the Ebola virus.  They want to lock the doors, throw away the keys and build higher fences. Don’t forget the moats and alligators.

Rand Paul Flip-Flops On Israel Aid Again

Sen. Rand Paul has flip-flopped again on his goal of eliminating aid to Israel.  First he was for cutting it, then he was against it and now he’s back but with a caveat: not right away.

In an interview this week the Kentucky Republican with presidential ambitions repeated his goal of phasing out aid to Israel as well as every other country.

Slamming The Door To Peace

In a pair of dueling speeches at the United Nations, Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the door shut on future peace talks between two leaders who neither trust nor like each other. 

Setting The Stage For Third Intifada?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, unlike his predecessor Yasser Arafat, meant it when he renounced terrorism and publicly pursued negotiations as the path to peace with Israel, but sometimes his rhetoric makes you wonder.

Roosevelts

Watching Ken Burns' excellent PBS series about the Roosevelts pointed out how some things haven't changed over the past 80 years.

In the installment about the 1930s the Republicans were opposed to setting a federal minimum wage and maximum working hours while protecting the interests and influence of the wealthy at the expense of the workers.  The party is still anti-union and anti-immigrant.

They also opposed Social Security and still do but now they call it "privatization" of the program.

Some things have changed, however.

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