Tough day, sport – despite your colleagues’ best efforts:
Tightness of exits in Israel suggests Bibi’s shameful 11th hour demagoguery may have swayed enough votes to save him. But at what cost?
First Twitter response: “You mad bro?” Yup. Keep in mind that this lamenter of demagoguery is the same guy who ran a campaign that accused Mitt Romney of giving a woman cancer, blessing scurrilous charges of tax evasion, and darkly warning Ohio voters that Obama’s opponent wasn’t “one of us.” You’d think he’d respect a ruthless, win-at-all-costs (successful) strategy. Instead, he’s moaning about tactics and civility. Heal thyself, Axe. As for Lefties’ rapidly-congealing narrative that Bibi’s upset victory was the product of last-minute ugliness, read Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin:
Within moments of the announcement of the exit polls, some of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s critics were claiming his likely win in today’s Knesset election was the result of a crude, racist appeal to voters. The justification for this charge was a speech made by Netanyahu and released only on social media because of restrictions on campaign appeals in the media, telling the country that left-wing groups funded by foreign money were busing Arab voters to the polls in order to elect a left-wing government led by his Zionist Union rival Isaac Herzog. Netanyahu’s opponents interpreted this as an appeal to racism. The statement was unfortunate because it made it seem as if the prime minister viewed Arab voters as somehow illegitimate. But the voters likely saw it in a different light. The prospect of a left-wing government that depended on the Joint Arab List was always unlikely. But a critical mass of voters viewed the prospect with alarm not because they’re racists but because a government that relied on the votes of anti-Zionists that favor Israel’s dissolution was something they considered a danger to the future of their country…Though Western journalists mocked Netanyahu’s comments about wanting to prevent a “Hamasistan” in the West Bank, the voters in Israel largely agreed. That doesn’t make them racist or extreme. It means they are, like most Americans, realists. They may not like Netanyahu but today’s results demonstrates that there is little support for a government that would make the sort of concessions to the Palestinians that President Obama would like. They rightly believe that even if Israel did make more concessions it would only lead to more violence, not peace. Israel’s foreign critics and friends need to understand that in the end, it was those convictions have, for all intents and purposes, re-elected Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, back at the White House:
On Israeli election, @PressSec says Pres Obama confident he can work closely with whomever the Israeli people choose.
The good news – through a myopic, parochial American lens, at least – is that Obama’s electoral losing streak continues. The bad news is that he seems to take political drubbings as provocations to double down, not course correct. Tehran’s next set of demands should be epic.