Friday, May 20, 2011


President Obama gave a speech on the Middle East yesterday, and I know how these things work, because I see how they work in regard to another problem we apparently can never solve: illegal immigration. Americans say they want a comprehensive solution to that problem, but they don't want "amnesty." The problem is, any proposal whatsoever that's even a millimeter to the left of the most rightward position on this issue is greeted by every right-winger in America with cries of "Amnesty!!" And then the public believes it is "Amnesty!!" -- no matter how moderate it is.

The same with the president's Middle East proposals. Chances are you've seen what Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:

I'm amazed at the amount of insta-commentary out there suggesting that the President has proposed something radical and new by declaring that Israel's 1967 borders should define -- with land-swaps -- the borders of a Palestinian state. I'm feeling a certain Groundhog Day effect here. This has been the basic idea for at least 12 years. This is what Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were talking about at Camp David, and later, at Taba. This is what George W. Bush was talking about with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. So what's the huge deal here? Is there any non-delusional Israeli who doesn't think that the 1967 border won't serve as the rough outline of the new Palestinian state?

Obama's a Democrat. He's a hated Democrat. If he publicly proposed any course of action on this issue that would actually move us away from the status quo, whatever he said would be declared to be Jew-hating. So now this impasse won't be worked out (which was already true) and he goes into 2012 with a lot of voters now believing that he's an anti-Semite, the inevitable result of his decision to propose anything. There was no way he could win.

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