Beyond the Cusp

April 11, 2019

Finally, the Israeli Elections are Done

 

Well, that is except for the yelling and finagling required to form a coalition. Here is where Israeli elections become confusing for most foreigners and also many Israelis. First, it will likely take until Friday before all the votes including from oversees diplomats, soldiers posted away from polling stations and a small select group who are not required to actually vote in person. Israel does not have early voting, mail in ballots for any but a select group as mentioned above and that about covers the voting. The next step is to take the votes for the parties which cleared the threshold of around 3.25% and figure what percentage of the one-hundred-twenty seats in the Knesset each one received. Then the heads of each party or block select who they would prefer to be the Prime Minister and send this to the President of Israel. He then tabulates which of the top vote getters will be first to attempt and cobble together a coalition. As the President is the only person technically who will view these choices, he could pick whomever he preferred and nobody might be the wiser. From the vote breakdown, it appears that the coalition will be a right of center coalition under Likud and Bibi Netanyahu, again. Yes, again. The estimates are he may end up with the exact same coalition as last time and as of this time, the main difference might be that Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and their New Right Party may not clear threshold. Their split from the Jewish Home (our party) may be seen as a huge miscalculation or they may be credited with forcing Likud to move slightly further right and promise many of the same changes on which they had campaigned.

 

The way a coalition is put together in Israel also leaves something to be desired. There are far more parties in the Israeli soup than anywhere else than we know. This leads to the next Prime Minister having to meet demands from each party. All too often, two parties will demand the same Ministership such as defense or finance leading to real headaches, for the coalition builder, not us, we get to cover all the in-fighting. Other parties are easier to deal with as their main expectation is monetary support for their schools or their neighborhoods or their specific defining character of their party. The sticking point often comes down to who is permitted and in how many numbers or percentages are permitted to be deferred from Military service. Please do not request that we follow down this path any further, thanks. Eventually, a coalition will be hammered out or maybe the President will be forced to either allow another election high vote party leader to make a go of it or he can call for new elections. There is a time limit on how long each individual is permitted to put a coalition together and this limit is often the deciding factor on whether parties forgive their main demands and settle for half a loaf instead of two loaves, one under each arm. All of this fun and excitement will likely take a few weeks before all is said and done, and as usual, more will be said than done.

 

There will be a second result from the election which Americans will fully understand, the Israeli media will need to explain how so many of their polls and predictions could be so wrong. This will extend also to the American media which also called the Israeli results quite incorrectly. In both cases, this can be credited to a combination of political bias and wishful speculations rather than honest evaluations. That is fine as the Israeli media fell very much in line with their American counterparts in calling the United States Presidential elections wrong for the 2016 election cycle. In many cases, we all wish the media would do more reporting and less pontificating and editorializing. News is to be reported with as little bias and massaging as possible, something we all could benefit from. Us, we do not claim to be reporters, we state clearly that we are editorialists and thus have a flavor to what we write. Some have thanked us for being as straightforward as we do try, but where we fall on most issues is obvious and we seldom vary from our positions. At the least, we try and also provide alternate views and are quite liberal in accepting comments including critical commentary.

 

What probably was the most interesting prediction about this election was that the government would collapse in approximately six months and Israel would be driven into yet another election cycle. It has been quite a while since an elected Israeli government completed their four-year term before new elections were called due to the coalition collapsing or the main party deciding that elections were advantageous at a particular point. As elections are not held immediately after the fall of a coalition, going to elections is always a bit of a risk. There can be a whole sea change in the mood of the people from unpredicted events and other influences. It really is you call elections and you takes your chances. This was evident in the election results this time as when elections were called, within a week it appeared that Bibi would win easily, the New Right Party formed by Bennett and Shaked after leaving Jewish Home looked to be strong and polling comfortably over ten mandates while the Jewish Home appeared in complete free-fall and total disarray barely clearing but a mere one percent. With the initial numbers in, Jewish Home and the small bundle of parties brought together appears to be at five seats plus one they will receive from Likud as promised in the deal-making agreements and the New Right is on the cusp of not even making threshold, actually, without strong support from the votes left to be tallied, they very well may be beyond the cusp in the wrong direction and failing to make it into the Knesset. Some are blaming Bibi for their potential failure as he made a number of announced policies which were directed at the New Right taking their positions which may have brought a fair number of votes back to Likud which they initially stood to lose to the New Right.

 

Bibi Stands and Promises Judea and Samaria Local-Council Leaders

Bibi Stands and Promises Judea and Samaria Local-Council Leaders

 

This brings us to the final and longest lasting stage of Israeli elections, blame placing. There will be no lack of finger-pointing, accusations, recriminations, subversive theories, rapprochements, excuse-making, blame-laying and all-around claims laying all the blame on anyone but those who felt cheated by actions of others. There is no love lost in politics and Israel is no different. The saving grace in Israel is within a month of the new coalition taking power, there will be an entirely new set of reasons to blame them for not delivering on what they promised. Then start the in-fighting and eventually it gets to the point that nobody wants to take the heat and everyone runs from the kitchen resulting in, you guessed it, new elections. Of course, the largest amount of excuse making will come from those who are not included in the coalition and the loudest screaming will come from those who expected to do well and ended up not even making it into the government either in the coalition or in the opposition. You will note we did not say loyal opposition as politics in Israel has become almost as contentious as it has in America and as such those not in the coalition show no love lost on those they blame including or especially Bibi Netanyahu. We will all be told how he used devious maneuvers, outright lies, exclusionary rhetoric and just about every possible accusation of evil doings which anyone can imagine, and Israelis are imaginable if nothing else. So, if your party is included in the coalition, then you have to remain slightly reserved for a while and if your party is in the opposition then whale-away at whoever you believe is most responsible for you not getting your way, after all, they deserve everything you can throw at them, don’t they. In the meantime, we will wait and see how the coalition shakes out, what our party (Jewish Home) receives as an enticement and whether it parallels that we most desire. As for us here, we are waiting to see if Bibi will keep his most contentious promise which he stood before Judea and Samaria local-council leaders promising that immediately after the new coalition is seated, he would move to extend Israeli civil law to all their communities ending the horrors they have faced under military law and the vulnerability that placed them in before the courts, specifically the Supreme Court (see above picture). This is definitely one promise which would be political suicide for him to backtrack as doing so would make him vulnerable to parties to his right leaving the coalition. But some who are always suspicious have claimed this is exactly the situation Bibi seeks such that he will be forced to seek new coalition members from the more left leaning parties or even form a unity coalition with Gantz and seek some form of peace with the Palestinian Authority along the lines which Gantz proposed early in the campaign. His plan included another disengagement while leaving IDF stationed in the areas of Judea and Samaria, something we covered in some depth here in our early run-up coverage of the elections. This includes what we foresaw as the deepest and most serious problems which could result. Anyway, Israeli elections are done and in the can except not quite yet as the song and dance stage is soon to be entered.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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May 14, 2015

When Polls Lie and Deceive What to Believe

 

In the last three major elections in the democrat and republican electing world the polls were as misleading as one could imagine. Not only did they get it wrong, it appeared that their polling was just as corrupted as their reporting. In this last election in the United States the polls predicted minor gains for the Republicans in Congress but with the Democrats probably retaining a slight majority in the United States Senate. The Republicans gained sufficient seats to rise to a dominating position in the Senate and further improved their position in the House of Representatives and as if that was not sufficient, the Republican Party also swept a number of State and local elections placing the party in a position of dominance unseen in decades. The liberal states of Massachusetts and Maryland elected Republican Governors despite their being the bluest of blue states.

 

In Israeli elections the polling and every indicator predicted that the Zionist Union, the marriage of the Labor Party with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua Party, was going to sweep Prime Minister Netanyahu out of office. Further, it was predicted that with the aid of election specialists who had assisted in charting the course of the reelection of President Obama running a political operation called V2015 run by Obama election strategist Jeremy Bird and using the cryptic slogan of “Anyone but Bibi” was going to put in place an undefeatable election day tsunami sweeping the Zionist Union into power. Somehow Bibi Netanyahu won taking a commanding thirty seats beating the odds where the polling predicted the Zionist Union beating Netanyahu and the Likud twenty-six seats to a mere twenty-three seats. How could it have been polled so wrong such that the real results were Likud with Thirty and Zionist Union garnering twenty-four coming in a weak second. Again the polling was so wrong one could have thought they were blindsided by the actual results.

 

Finally there were the recent British elections where Ed Miliband and his Labour Party were supposed to sweep the Tories and David Cameron from office was also dead wrong with the conservative Tories and Cameron embarrassing the Labour Party so completely that Miliband resigned without bothering to wait for the broom to sweep him aside and replace him atop the Labour Party. This was simply the cherry atop the three layer cake with each layer sweeter than the previous as election results made lies out of the predictions by the pollsters. That begs the question as to how could they have gotten all three so completely wrong and should we believe anything we read about in polling.

 

There could be any number of reasons for the inaccuracy of polling from improper reading of the results leading to massaging the results in order to match the pollsters political preferences or that the media intentionally went with slanted polling data knowingly but fully believing that they had sufficient sway to bring about the results they desired simply by reporting the results they desired and willing them into existence. It is entirely possible that the methods utilized by the polling companies favored the liberal leftists over the right wing conservatives. One method of polling which had found produces such results is to utilize polling conducted by using land-line phone numbers during mainly daytime hours when the majority of the people who have jobs are working at those jobs and therefore are not home to take any polling calls, which is also why they use land-lines and not mobile, though even mobile polling would likely produce similar results just less skewed to the left. Then again, if people are anything like the folks I know then they only use their cell phones and only have a land-line because it came with the package they get their internet access or television cable and never give out that number thus never answer the land-lined knowing that the call is either a poll or telemarketer and either way undesired. But maybe the polling methodology was not to blame but the people themselves are the problem.

 

What if the people have been so beaten down by the seemingly endless efforts to force political correctness along with leftist propaganda down our throats using news reporting which is more electioneering or campaigning or simply editorial opinions wrapped up to appear like news coverage that the people react repeating the touch-words or positions constantly pushed upon them by a media which has completely turned to the left beyond any reason. People may have reached the point that they find it easier and less complicating for their lives to simply regurgitate the leftist mantras to avoid offending the sensibilities of anyone leftward-leaning within earshot who would immediately slowly turn in their direction and then questions by question slowly turn further until they are glaring directly at the malcontent who spoke words which are taken as offense and must be challenged until all descending conservative expression has been wiped from the public sphere. Where this may have silenced those conservatives who simply take the path of least resistance which in public discourse means not upsetting the leftist sloganeering policer of their immediate space, they cannot yet accompany everyone into the voting booth where everyone is free at last to vote their true mind and not be made to suffer the umbrage and wrath of the leftists in our midst. Perhaps that has so swept and crept its way into our lives that anytime other than within the safe confines of the voting booth we will simply become leftists for the duration while secretly voting our inner Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan, Jefferson, John Adams or Menachem Begin when the chips are to be cast, gathered and counted in order that our captains for the ship of state are selected.

 

Think about debates at work with associates or discussions with fellow congregants at our places of worship or wherever we toil, gather or socialize and my bet is there is at least one person in each of those settings whose stand is for Big Brother and makes sure any wrong-think is made sufficiently uncomfortable that fairly soon all but the lost causes simply speak the words our monitors desire to hear and keep our real thoughts happily dancing within our minds unmolested by the minders. There are also those few outliers who are true believers and speak their minds no matter who may add their names to a list of those to be watched, as many have made so many of such lists that one more will make little difference. These are the ones who can often give as good as they get. Only the few ever make friendship bonds with these people and if we should we often request they not reveal our true political kinship as we are amongst the quiet quiescence slumbering through life passing by semiconscious of the views expressed around us as there is nothing worth our fighting for as we still have the blessing of honest representation of our votes. Should we lose such honest accounting of the ballots then will we allow ourselves to be availed of out of our quiet accommodations and comforting silence and then hear us roar for when it comes to our votes we will not sleepwalk through such offense. There is much we can allow to pass as fact when we know it to be different, but the honest representation of our vote we draw the line and demand honest representation.

 

It is little wonder that those in the media can walk around claiming in all honestly that every person with whom they speak of such things all supported President Obama and thus it was an absolute impossibility that the President was reelected by so close a margin. These people are not delusional because they mean it when they claim that election results were completely skewed, opposed to the polling, and they are truly flabbergasted and personally destroyed that the Congress or Knesset or Parliament which was elected could have gone so wrong, as in their worlds their viewpoints are correct, good and the only honest result possible and the other side can only possibly win by deceit or trickery. We are all living more and more in small echo chambers where we hear little from the other side of political and social issues. Our bubbles are carefully chosen and seldom do we hear a disparaging word and our skies are not cloudy all day. Often we even go so far as to carefully choose from whence we receive our news so as to hear only those reports which inform us of how impossible it was that we lost an election or that the results were so much closer than they should have been. The most often heard reason for any loss in an election was simply that our side did not get the vote out and turnout favored the other side. There was a perfect such comment made after the recent midterm elections in the United States when President Obama actually had the nerve to claim, “To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too.” I likely could spend the rest of my life and never find somebody in high office who is so out of touch with reality that they would make such a statement. For your amusement, here is the comment straight from Obama’s mouth.

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 11, 2012

The Conservative Race to Romney Begins

Rick Santorum has dropped from the race leaving Mitt Romney as the de facto Republican candidate for President against Barack Obama. This will lead to many people from the two ends of the political spectrum throwing accusations back and forth for the foreseeable future over whether there is a principled and constructive reason for a conservative to now actively and enthusiastically campaign for Mitt Romney beyond their opposition of President Barack Obama’s reelection. Any conservative claiming otherwise is very likely blowing smoke unless they can give examples of the events in Mitt Romney’s time since he was governor which indicates his changes on numerous issues. On the other hand, those who simply condemn conservatives for opposing President Obama as their singular reason without explaining how conservatives should have no opposition or problems with another four years of Obama in the White House are simply taking cheap shots and are no better. Yes, there are going to be many many nasty exchanges which will contain volumes of hot air and little else but will be forceful and just as viscous as ever. It is all part of the modern partisan oppositional political atmosphere where each side views the other as toxic and counter to the continued existence of the United States.

The one entertaining event which has probably already begun is the complete change of direction by numerous talk show hosts who had backed candidates other than Romney now bending over backwards to appear to have been ardent Romney supporters from the get-go. Nothing is ever more shameful than those in the public eye changing horses in mid-stream when their candidate loses or drops from the intra-party race leaving their opponent as the new standard-bearer. We should grant those who still recognize their oppositions to Romney and find valid reasons for their change of heart, even if that reason is simply their opposition to the opponent, President Obama. We should accept their reasoning and realize that this might be their only escape and they are at least being forthright. It is those who pretend they had always been behind Mitt Romney even after supporting his opponents and having cast aspersions and doubts on Romney’s integrity previously who are most guilty of this sin. Such phony allegiance should be roundly condemned and pointed out for the shallowness it displays. I would respect anyone who simply states that their primary choice lost and they are simply intending supporting the Party candidate as they are a Party person, a Republican Party front person in this case.

We have already seen the first few salvos fired between President Obama and Presidential Candidate Romney last week and hopefully things will only get more contentious. A good race with both candidates giving and taking all in stride and with relatively equal aplomb is always more interesting and better to cover than runaway races where it becomes obvious within weeks which way the election will end, ruling out any unforeseen disasters striking down the frontrunner. It was the seemingly inevitability of Romney that probably made the debates so offensively boring as they ended up not having any effect on the outcome. I might as well say that at times it felt as if Mitt Romney had been chosen as the preordained candidate since about thirty seconds after John McCain gave his concession speech after losing to Barack Obama. So, let the games begin and may those who are about to throw barbs, give stirring speeches, and give their all in the race for the golden ring at least be competitive and entertaining, if nothing else. I long ago gave up on politicians being completely honest and accurately representing their true intentions. I guess part of the reason behind this is they cannot know exactly what is coming down the pike any better than most of the rest of us and they are just trying to look good while flailing in the winds of outrageous fortune.

Those who are regular readers of Beyond the Cusp have probably surmised that we tend towards being libertarian Constitutionalists. They may also remember that our original candidate of choice was John Bolton who decided not to run after giving the subject some consideration responding to those who had urged him to enter the primary race. Once the candidates had reached Super Tuesday and been whittled down to four, we had settled on Rick Santorum. He gave it a decent effort and we wish his little girl returned health and a long and happy life as our prayers are with his family. As far as who we will support in the race, we will see. Do not expect us to be anywhere near the front of the race to push Romney, assuming we ever do get corralled into the Romney camp. To be honest, going forward will require serious inspection and also deep introspection and our end conclusion will hopefully not sway our coverage away from critical honesty and frank assessments of the candidates’ positions and their strengths, weaknesses and rough edges. Let the race begin and let the fur fly.

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