Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

For Success In Politics: The Right Opponent

Sometimes a Member of Congress is blessed with an opponent who becomes an asset to his or her reelection.

The Unkindest Cuts Of All: Self-Inflicted Wounds

The evidence keeps piling up that the worst wounds in politics are self-inflicted.  The latest cases come from Washington and Jerusalem this week.  There's the congressman who preferred cocaine over Congress, another who threatened to toss a reporter off a balcony and an Israeli cabinet minister whose mouth runs faster than his brain.

State Of The Union Observations

First Responders -- As a sign of how deeply divided Republicans are, they had four separate responses, two of which came from the Tea Party wing.

The GOP leadership's designated responder, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, was clearly the most personable and effective. Her presentation seemed like an extended biography (ala Chris Christie's keynote speech at last summer's Republican convention), and when she got around to the issues the big question was Where's the beef?"

Bridgegate: Another Self-Inflicted Wound

The worst wounds in politics are self-inflicted.  Nixon and Watergate.  Clinton and Monica.  Reagan and Iran-Contra.  Bush 41 and Read-my-lips, Romney and 47 percent, Anthony Weiner and Twitter. 

Gov. Chris Christie may not have directly ordered the fiasco at the George Washington Bridge, but he is responsible for the atmosphere that made it possible. 

Bread & Circuses & de Blasio

NY Mayor Bill de Blasio was slammed by the media for giving a closed-door speech to an AIPAC dinner in his town last week and barring the media. He said the secrecy was at AIPAC’s request. Of course it was; otherwise who’d have noticed?   

The unannounced speech included all the usual pandering, and by all accounts he said nothing particularly interesting and nothing he hadn’t said many times before.

Retirement: Glad To See Some Go

Among the many Members of the 113th Congress who’ve announced plans to retire this year, some will be sorely missed, like Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), chairman of the Armed Service Committee, a leading supporter of Israel and Jewish causes and one of the most respected members on either side of the aisle.  But some won't be.  Two who top my list are Michele Bachmann (R-Wisconsin) and Jim Moran (D-Virginia).

Adelson Wants GOP Convention In His Town

Billionaire casino mogul and one of the GOP’s biggest contributors, Sheldon Adelson, wants the 2016 Republican convention to be held in his town, Las Vegas. 

The self-proclaimed richest Jew in the world is a prominent player in a group of Las Vegas civil leaders and Republican donors campaigning hard this week in Washington to convince the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting to pick their city’s famed Strip as its next convention site.  Sin City has never hosted a national convention of either party.

Hoover Belongs On History's Trash Heap

This week’s celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s contribution to civil rights and freedom for all Americans is another reminder of the necessity to remove from the FBI headquarters building the name of the notorious racist, bigot, human rights abuser and blackmailer who used that institution in his long campaign to demonize and destroy the civil rights icon. 

Gates: Bibi Is ‘Ungrateful Ally’

Add former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the list of world leaders who consider Bibi Netanyahu insufferable.

The list includes at least two American presidents, a British prime minister, a German chancellor and a French president.

Those countries are Israel’s closest allies, and the problem can’t be shrugged off by dismissing those leaders as anti-Israel or insensitive to Israel’s concerns, as Netanyahu’s defenders do so reflexively. Instead, they should be asking why their guy has so much trouble getting along with so many foreign leaders. 

Incitement: Obstacle To Peace Or Excuse?

If incitement were the major barrier to peace that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims it is, there would never have been peace with Egypt.

Incitement is the work of hatemongers and ideologues seeking to prevent peace, and those who let them get away with it do so either because they are looking for excuses to fail or because they are too weak to lead.

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