The worst wounds a politician can suffer are usually self-inflicted. Nixon had Watergate, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Bush 41 had "read my lips" and his son, Bush 43, had Katrina.
And now it's Barack Obama and "if you like your insurance plan you can keep it."
U.S. law prohibits spending any American aid money beyond the Green Line, the pre-June 1967 border, to make sure none of it goes to build or benefit settlements or those who live and work there, which every single administration has considered illegal.
Secretary of State John Kerry seemed overly anxious to sign an interim agreement with the Iranians in Geneva last week, and many in the Congress, in Israel and parts of the Arab world breathed a sign of relief when he left empty-handed. Israel and America's Arab allies in the Persian Gulf were convinced that Kerry wasn't paying enough attention to the details.
That, and Benjamin Netanyahu's withering criticism, helped torpedo the first round of nuclear talks with the Iranians since the election of the Rouhani government this summer. And that's a good thing.
Speaker of the House John Boehner has vowed to block the House from taking up Senate-passed legislation protecting gays from job discrimination because it's bad for business.
He insists he's not a homophobe or a bigot, just looking out for business interests. Besides, he doesn't see any need for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA), which the Senate approved last week by a 64-32 bipartisan majority.
Throw the bums out but don't toss out the baby with the bathwater. That's the difference between elections and term limits.
Term limiting members of Congress is an inviting answer to a body deservedly held in record low esteem by the American public, but it is an arbitrary, ineffective and unconstitutional method of cleaning house.
In an apparent confirmation that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are making little if any progress after three months and 15 sessions, Secretary of State John Kerry is going out next week to try to give them a boost that is expected to include a face-to-face meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians have been complaining that the only thing Israelis want to talk about is security, and the Israelis say that is the most essential issue and, besides, the Palestinian positions on other topics are unrealistic.
It was one of those routine, periodic phone conversations between government leaders, but this one will make the Israeli papers because the recipient of today’s presidential call was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Presumably the NSA knows what was said, but the White House isn’t saying, merely issuing a news release – called a “readout” – saying:
In their inept and failed effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by holding the federal government hostage for 16 days, Republicans actually succeeded in making the President's health reform law more popular. The badly bungled rollout of the program's website was overshadowed by the shutdown, but with government back in business, that is changing.
But if the past is prologue, look for Republicans to go overboard once again. The rollout was poorly done and those responsible should be held accountable and the reasons why exposed to public scrutiny.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry next week in Rome "to discuss ongoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians, along with Iran, Syria and other issues of mutual concern," the State Department announced this afternoon.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is apparently not on Kerry's schedule but the secretary will be meeting in Paris with representatives of the Arab League's Arab Peace Initiative Follow-up Committee to update them on Israeli-Palestinian talks.