The Cost of Change
by Rebekah Maxwell
I feel sorry for President Obama. It’s never easy to wake up one day and realize that your big ideas for a brave new world have no resemblance to reality…and that your own future depends on some quick backpedaling.
All he wanted (in terms of foreign policy) was to strengthen America’s kinship with the Arab world, to prove that old loyalties are out and encourage the new era of Islamic democracy in the Middle East.
Now he’s being forced to defend Israel against the Palestinians, against the UN, and against his own earlier advice. Because it’s re-election time.
You see, it’s not just conservative Christians who are struggling between principles and party loyalty this election cycle. Support of Jewish voters helped win Obama the White House: he received 78% of the Jewish vote.
But the bloom has come off the rose this Arab Spring, and the President’s perceived hostility toward Israel is turning some of the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters toward anyone but Obama.
Look to New York. Ten days ago, their 9th Congressional seat flipped into Republican control in a special election. While that could be backlash against the disgraced Democrat (Weiner), Former NYC Mayor (and Democrat) Ed Koch plainly says it was all about Jewish Americans sending a message to Obama: support Israel or else.
Now Obama is between a rock and hard place. He’s worked hard to distance his administration from the historic ties to Israel (he’s never made an official trip there as president? Really?). He’s been on the side of all the other Arab revolts in the region and now that the key Middle-Eastern dichotomy is coming to a head, Obama’s feeling domestic pressure to do an about-face on his entire foreign policy…or risk losing re-election.
It would seem the message has been received. Obama will spend the next several days in New York, meeting with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and addressing the general assembly on Wednesday…which gives the President and First Lady a few days to fund-raise. Prior to the Israel/Palestine negotiations, the Obamas have three large-scale campaign fundraisers in New York to shore up support for his new-found support of Israel’s sovereignty. Never let a good crisis go to waste, I suppose.
If this is a case of a large group of voters putting key principle ahead of years of party loyalty, I applaud the Jewish voters of New York. It is something of a modern-day miracle to get positive results out of politicians; we’ve convinced them for decades that no matter how badly they abuse their power or sell us out, we’ll keep coming back to the party with our votes and our money…sustaining our failure of a system.
That is, until a long train of abuses and usurpations finally crosses our last line and the people say, “No more.”