The Truth about Netanyahu's Intentions UPDATE

How many times have we heard complaints from Israeli politicians about the evils of the Hamas Charter or even the PLO Charter of past days, proof pudding that the Palestinians do not wish peace, but wish to throw Israel into the sea? It's just plain terrorism.

But how many of us appreciate that there is also a Likud Charter that is no less evil, if by that we understand that it is not a pathway to peace, but prescribes a formula for dissolving Palestinian aspirations for statehood, of obliterating the Palestinians as a people.

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Guys, cheer up! Obama's off to a pretty good start

In the view of this primary Clinton supporter, it is way way too early to start crying over the demise of health care reform or the failed Obama Administration. We can all point to something disappointing about any politician, but I cannot say things would be better off if Hillary had won the primary and been elected President. No doubt things would be better in some areas, probably worse in others, but largely the same.

For perspective, lets just remember: at this point in the previous administration, President Bush's one accomplishment was a giant tax cut for the wealthy with no attempt to pay for it, and W himself was finishing up a month-long vacation at the "ranch" in Texas, cutting some brush, riding bikes, and ignoring his National Security briefings. "OK, you've covered your ass, now you can go back to Washington." In other words, we can - and have - had much worse leadership.

For all the defeatism of my fellow lefties on health care reform, let's keep in mind that there is still an decent chance we will get a good bill in the end. The Obama team seems to finally be engaging, and the bully pulpit is a very powerful tool.

And if we get a crappy bill? Or no bill at all? I guarantee that health care costs are not going away as an issue. We just go back to work on raising consciousness, educating the public, and pressing our representratives for action. If the insurance lobby succeeds in killing real reform this time, the issue will be back with more momentum in a few years. The current system is flat out unsustainable. It would be best to fix it before a total collapse, but it simply cannot continue as it is.

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It's Now or Never for Obama and Democratic Governance

Roosevelt considered it.  Truman tried it--and failed. Kennedy was blocked, Johnson succeeded in part, Nixon nearly did it, Clinton was nearly destroyed in trying to do it.  Now President Barack Obama wants to undertake the most radical act of his presidency, and bring us universal health care.    If he succeeds, it will reinvigorate our society, ending a fundamental injustice in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.    If he fails, it will spell the end of the yet short lived Democratic dominance of Washington.  

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Obama and Clinton: Work it Out

Although it's impossible to write anything on this subject without re-igniting the bonfire of primary cliches, any democrat concerned with foreign policy must be attentive to the relationship between the President and Secretary of State.  And it appears to me that something is amiss, particularly from the Oval Office side of things.  I, like many who supported Obama over Clinton for President, voiced enthusiastic support for Clinton's appointment as Secretary of State, despite recognizing that Obama would be losing a key player in the Senate on domestic issues such as health care reform.  

Some of us thought the trade-off worth it due to her proximity to the Northern Ireland process that resulted in the Good Friday agreement.  A historical breakthrough that has proven a stable and productive framework, it represents a signal post-war foreign policy triumphs.  Some thought this would be particularly helpful, together with her established credibility with both Israeli and Palestinian constituencies, in moving things along here (I write from Jerusalem at the moment).  When Obama added George Mitchell to the team, things looked even stronger.  Personally, I thought HRC's appointment a fabulous idea because of her signature "Women's Rights are Human Rights" moment in Beijing.  Clinton as Secretary of State is in an unprecedented position to address the situation of women and girls around the world, an end in itself but also crucial for processes of liberalization and democratization we should be supporting.  

Yet as the health care debate is heating up, the trade-off is looking bad.  For unless HRC is fulfilling a quiet coordinated role on foreign policy, Obama seems to have relegated one of his most talented players to a bench role.  As in the general election campaign, with an ability she had already demonstrated in the Senate, HRC has been a "loyal soldier" and impeccable "team player." But maybe a little too much of one.

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Not schadenfreude at all...

Some have suggested that the recent discovery that both South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign were having extra-marital affairs would be schadenfreude (joy at the suffering of others), and I have to disagree.  Likewise, the exposure of New York Democratic Governor Elliot Spitzer's visits with prostitutes is no cause for schadenfreude either.

There is no joy in the broken hearts and damaged relationships.  No joy in the dishonesty, the deceit, the contempt, the lack of respect for their partners and voters.  No joy in the hypocrisy that both of these Republicans pilloried then Democratic President Bill Clinton when he was caught having an affair in the 1990s, and now both have participated in the very same activity that they themselves claimed was reprehensible and grounds for impeachment.

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