For those who still had faith in the media or in politics and have been paying attention this week has now been forced into the majority camp of the skeptics. The more obvious one, once it has been revealed to the public, was actually in Israel and had nothing to do with any debates anywhere in the United States. Last year much of the coverage attempted to sell the story line that the tent protests and related events were a popular uprising and had absolutely nothing to do with Israeli politics. They were sold as protests supported by the every-man and had nothing to do with protesting the Netanyahu government coalition. These were real people with real problems that the government needed to address seriously and immediately because the entire of Israel was represented by these protests which strangled downtown Tel Aviv for weeks. Well, something very unfortunate for this theory and the people who were selling it in Israel, they lied through their teeth. The list of candidates for the Knesset by the Labor Party was released today and surprise, surprise, former student leader Itzik Shmuli, well known protester Stav Shafir and journalist Mickey Rosenthal who had covered the protest giving them glowing approval in every article. Short note to the Labor Party, we understand that you need to do what you need to do to unseat the Likud Party and Netanyahu along with his coalition from control of the Knesset. We even understand that you might choose to go to great lengths in order to accomplish your goal. Next time you basically sponsor, granted, not officially, but veritably sponsor protests to make the sitting party in power look unpopular and merciless and unfeeling towards the people of the nation of Israel, try and refrain from placing the leaders and key people or their in the bag journalist onto your candidate list for the Knesset in the elections a little over a year later. The reason should be obvious, even to the most blinded ideologue.
The other confirmed suspicion was not really all that surprising. We were treated to exactly how closely aligned with the Democrat Party some, nay, most of the mainstream press is and how far one member of the elite in this club was willing to go in front of the likely largest audience they had ever had watch them. This was the confirmation that second Presidential Debate moderator Candy Crowley produced in spades with her performance this week. Her performance stood in stark comparison to the impressive performance and ability to be almost invisible by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer turned in at the first Presidential Debate. The lowlight of Ms. Crowley came when she scolded Mitt Romney, sounding like an out of control old fashion schoolmarm scolding a petulant child, over his stating that the President had misspoke about the Benghazi, Libya Embassy attack claiming he had called it a terror operation the next day. As it turns out, fact checkers have since reported that Mitt Romney was correct, Ms. Crowley was incorrect in her damning accusatorial correction and President Obama had indeed misrepresented his next day reaction of the horrendous terror attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other American embassy personnel. If that had been the sole act of bias committed by Candy Crowley she could easily be forgiven for making a bad call and even doing so a little over the top emotionally, but that was just the icing on the cake of a night replete with one slight after another with virtually all were slanted in favor of the President. Ms. Crowley also allowed President Obama to speak for ten minutes more than was challenger Mitt Romney. It has been reported that at CNN there was a memo that revealed that this apparent favoritism was actually done to allow the slower speaking President Obama and Mitt Romney to use the same number of total words during the debate. I have yet to hear of anybody who has gone back and counted the word count for each candidate thus cannot comment about this claim other than to ask; really, equal word count and you expect anybody to say, “Yes, sure, that was the reason.” Then there was the count of interruptions which Ms. Crowley was very generous in handing out, not what many, myself included, desire from a moderator. The problem here was of the over fifty total interruptions were not exactly evenly handed out. The interruption count showed that Ms. Crowley generously gave Mitt Romney three, some even say four, interruptions per interruption she showered on President Obama. What was the worst was that for those who tuned in to watch and listen to the two candidates were treated to a debate which had three participants, two for President Obama and Mitt Romney for himself. Let us hope that we get a performance that is more like the professional performance turned in by Jim Lehrer and Ms. Crowley will be the exception and not the rule.
Beyond the Cusp
It is almost universally accepted that Mitt Romney pretty much beat President Obama mercilessly in the first of the three Presidential debates. Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate which usually would garner little interest except for the hard core political hounds like us, but this one has had a larger build-up. Some are predicting a bland though fact and number filled performance by Congressman Ryan and others are calling for a count the Uncle Joe gaffes. Either way, this may be an exception for Vice Presidential debates, but I am not expecting anything near to the reactions to the results from the first Presidential debate. What is a promise is that the remaining two Presidential debates will likely draw even closer scrutiny from an even larger television viewing audience that even the near record setting first debate. The first of the remaining Presidential debates will cover domestic and foreign policies and be of a general nature with the final third debate focusing solely on foreign policy. That final debate could very well also be a must win, crucial, last chance for the Obama campaign if the numbers continue on their recent trending and the debates continue to showcase a side of Romney which belies all the accusations and denunciation thrown at him by the Super PAC advertisements. This may place President Obama needing a complete knockout performance in the final debate which is in an area where he is extremely vulnerable.
Yes, I am aware that President Obama single handedly went in and took out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but that one decision and action does not a foreign policy make. With all the dust-ups between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as almost anything that concerns Israel will be examined and used to exemplify President Obama’s foreign policy shortcomings. One can be pretty sure that every single time President Obama has bowed before another World Leader or misspoke or things did not go as well as we were led to believe will all be run in loops in political commercials. What this writer fears is that President Obama may feel that before the final debate, which will concentrate on foreign policy, he might try to find a decisive foreign policy move which would erase all the ill will that has been perceived between he and Israel and make a definitive statement that President Obama is a leader who takes on foreign problems by grabbing the horns and doing what must be done. There is one move that could be used to show that there really is no space between President Obama and the Israeli leadership and that the United States under President Obama truly does have Israel’s back. President Obama could order between the second and final debate a full, all-out multiple sorties strike on almost all of the Iranian nuclear sites which tactically could be struck without causing massive civilian casualties and other collateral damage to non-military targets in the surrounding vicinities. It is unlikely that should President Obama contact the Israeli leadership and offer to make a joint strike provided it be carried out before the last debate that Prime Minister Netanyahu and many of the others within the Israeli leadership who have called for striking Iran earlier rather than later would look a gift horse in the mouth. As Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated repeatedly when pressed to take a side on the Presidential elections, he has no dog in the fight and will work with whoever is elected to be the next President of the United States. Prime Minister Netanyahu has gone to great lengths to minimize publically any disconcerting thoughts or doubts he may have had over actions taken by President Obama and has kept any differences between the two of them and kept such differences out of the press. Unfortunately, this has not prevented many in the liberal press from playing up the angle that the Israeli leader does favor one side over the other and has actually acted in a way to influence the elections for President. The proof has been that he received Mitt Romney when he visited Israel very graciously and with respect and full honors one would show a potential next President of the United States. They claim that the way Prime Minister Netanyahu reacted to Romney was in complete contrast to the way he has treated President Obama during the campaign. The one small fly in the ointment of this comparison is that thus far during the campaign, President Obama has not visited Israel. Truth be told, President Obama has not visited Israel since before he was elected to the office of President. President Obama has made numerous trips to the Middle East, throughout Eastern Europe, but has not stopped in Israel in all of his travels. So, how the press anywhere can compare the treatment shown to Mitt Romney to that shown a President who has not actually visited Israel is beyond real. I would stake everything that should President Obama visit Israel he would be given, at the minimum, treatment that would easily match that shown Mitt Romney.
I am also fairly certain that if President Obama were to visit Israel and in a private meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the inner cabinet, or whoever is necessary to make a decision concerning Iran and their nuclear program, and presented a full and complete set of plans for a United States strike on the Iranian nuclear sites and requested reasonable assistance from Israeli forces and resources, the Israelis would likely review the plans quickly and offer every assistance requested and beyond. I am concerned that such a scenario of just this type may become reality should President Obama feel the necessity of such boldness to reaffirm him as a President who takes actions that are necessary, just as he made the call on Osama bin Laden. I can assure you that the Pentagon and the Israelis have likely even discussed different scenarios and reached accords on who would be responsible for what and all the particulars and planning has been gone over numerous times. The one thing both American and Israeli militaries do is make plans for virtually any scenario or possibility no matter how obscure or improbable the scenario may be. This pretty much assures that both countries have numerous plans all completely fleshed out with all consequences and alternatives fully defined and accounted for. This would make a decision by President Obama to take action against the Iranian nuclear sites, with or without Israeli assistance, cooperation, or support; this would be fully operational likely within forty-eight hours and very likely almost immediately. My bet is that the assets have been in place for such a strike for quite some time now and have likely been briefed repeatedly on the most likely of sorties that would be incorporated in such a strike. That leaves one question, would President Obama use a cooperative strike on the Iranian nuclear sites with Israeli cooperation? My fear is should President Obama be facing a nearly guaranteed defeat in the election and the polling and other predictive sciences all pointed to an attack upon Iranian nuclear sites, especially if Israel were included and assisted, was extremely likely to affect the elections sufficiently to produce his reelection, then the President might avail himself of just such an option. Should President Obama actually travel this route, then the question that must be pondered is whether or not the American voting public is really that easily swayed by such a shallow and obvious act? Let’s hope we never need to find out, though ridding the world of most of the Iranian nuclear sites definitely qualifies as a positive event, it would still be much preferable that it was carried out as a serious reaction to the threat a nuclear armed Iran would pose to the world and not as a campaign event to win votes.
Beyond the Cusp