Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

And The Flag For Which It Stands

The Confederate flag was the symbol of insurrection and treason and the banner under which a war was fought to preserve slavery. Apparently that's OK with those running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

Every Republican presidential wannabe who's been asked about it has refused to join calls for removing the stars and bars from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.  Can't offend those good ole boys in the Klan, especially if they might be voting in the South Carolina GOP primary, I guess.

Shape Shifters

Three of the Democrats running for president in 2016 started their political lives as Republicans.  That says more about the GOP than it does about the candidates, writes Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post,

Don't Misread SCOTUS Jerusalem Decision

Today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry had little to do with Jerusalem and everything to do with separation of powers.  

At issue was the President's preeminence in foreign policy, not whether the United States considers Jerusalem Israel's capital but who makes that decision, the Congress or the executive.

Who Really Wants Palestinian Statehood?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to assure the Americans and Europeans that he still supports the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite a mountain of evidence that it is a case "that may be what I said but it's not what I meant."

He says he supports it in principle, but in practice there's a lot of contradictory evidence:


Don’t look for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), the only Jewish presidential candidate in the 2016 sweepstakes and only one who actually lived in Israel, to join the panderfest of candidates trying to out-Israel each other.  I doubt he’ll even make a photo-op pilgrimage to the Holy Land as so many, especially Republicans, are.

Jeb & Jerusalem

For a guy who boasted, "I am my own man," Jeb sounds an awful lot like he’s channeling his big brother George.

Going To White House Via Jerusalem

Here's one thing presidential hopefuls of both parties agree on: if you want to get to the White House plan to stop in Jerusalem for some photo ops with prominent leaders and religious landmarks.

And if you're like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was there last week, you won't wait till you get home to begin sending -- Tweeting -- those pictures to your friends and supporters.

Sloppy Pandering

Lara Friedman, the eagle-eyed legislative watchdog for Americans for Peace Now, found an example of some of the most amateurish bill drafting by any Congressional office that I've seen in more than 40 years on and around Capitol Hill.

One thing I learned early on was that there's a highly professional, non-partisan staff of attorneys in the Legislative Counsel's office that will take any idea coming from a Hill office and put it into the proper language and form. It helps keep staffers from embarrassing themselves and their bosses.

When Shalom Doesn't Mean Peace

You might say his name is an oxymoron.  Putting someone named "shalom" in charge of peace negotiations who opposes the two-state solution and instead wants to expand settlement construction on the West Bank, doesn't make much sense.

If you had any lingering doubts about Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to peace with the Palestinians, they should be eliminated by his decision to give the peace portfolio Silvan Shalom.

Israel's New Government And U.S. Jews

Israel now has the most right wing, religious, nationalistic, narrow and fragile coalition in its history.

It is shaping up as a government built on rejection of peace with the Palestinians, aggressive settlement construction, religious extremism, extortion, a disdain for democracy and huge payoffs from the national treasury.

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