A Democratic Scorecard: Despite Progressive Gains, Party Leaders Stick to Traditional Pro-Israel Playbook: Ron Kampeas, JTA, Aug. 20, 2020
______________________________________________________The Joe Biden We Know
WSJ, Aug. 20, 2020It took three tries and more than 30 years, but Joe Biden finally accepted the Democratic Party nomination for President Thursday evening. The moment was a personal triumph, and a credit to the former Vice President’s doggedness and the alliances he has formed over decades. Yet despite all of his many years in public life, it still isn’t clear what kind of President Mr. Biden would make.
Let’s assume that the gilded testimonials to Mr. Biden’s personal character at this week’s Democratic convention are true. He is by all accounts a nice guy. He cares about people, powerful or not. He can forge alliances across the aisle. He does not kick down at adversaries, at least most of the time. “Character is on the ballot,” as he put it Thursday night. In other words, he’s running as Not Donald J. Trump.
In the best case, Mr. Biden is asking Americans to believe that he would take these personal qualities to the White House and mediate policy disputes, calm the culture wars, and work with both parties to break America’s partisan fever. He’d do the same on the world stage, defending U.S. interests without bullying allies and leading international coalitions anew.
After the disruptions of the Trump era, this political idyll sounds inviting. Mr. Biden would certainly have the media and the institutions of American culture on his side, so the daily pitched battles of the last four years would be muted, at least for a time.
Yet there’s cause to doubt this happily-ever-after-Trump scenario—and the reasons include the man and the times. Regarding the man, Mr. Biden has never been a politician of strong political convictions. He’s a professional partisan Democrat whose beliefs have shifted as the party’s have.
Nearly all successful presidential candidates put their own political and policy stamps on their party and the times. Bill Clinton was a New Democrat who would reform welfare, George W. Bush was a compassionate conservative, and Barack Obama was a multiracial uniter who’d transcend red and blue state differences. Donald Trump was the populist disrupter of the establishment.
Mr. Biden has no such defining message. Can you think of a single policy, or even a phrase, that identifies what he has stood for in this campaign? The closest might have been a return to normalcy. But sometime in recent months that gave way to the party’s desire for transformational economic and social change.
More than any recent presidential nominee, Mr. Biden is more figurehead than party leader. He was the fail-safe choice, the last-ditch savior in South Carolina, after Bernie Sanders looked like he could run the primary table. Mr. Biden was lifted by his party’s elites. He owes them more than they owe him.
All of which leads to doubts that Mr. Biden would govern like the moderate of Milwaukee’s virtual convention. Mr. Biden would have a better chance of governing that way, ironically, if Republicans retain the Senate this year. Then compromise with Mitch McConnell would be a political necessity to get anything done. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Do Democrats Hear What They are Saying?
Washington Examiner, Aug. 19, 2020
Today’s Alice in Wonderland political rhetoric means almost no outlandish assertion is completely surprising. There are so many false, new orthodoxies that attempting to compile a comprehensive list would be a fool’s errand. Here’s just a taste: Words are violence, violence is speech, women can impregnate men, silencing dissent is tolerance, black lives matter except if taken or blighted by other black people, etc.
Against such absurdities, perhaps the ironies of the Democratic National Convention were not so egregious. But as they tumbled forth, stupefaction was avoided by appreciation of the chutzpah it took to tell such whoppers.
Where to start? How about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo? He lectured the convention about his heroic leadership tackling the coronavirus pandemic. “For all the suffering and tears,” he intoned, “our way worked, and it was beautiful.” Then he hammered President Trump, saying voters learned a “critical lesson” about “how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent.”
Such cool effrontery! Wasn’t this the man whose bungled pandemic response made his state a cardinal case of government incompetence? He stopped nursing homes refusing admission to people infected with COVID-19. Carriers were thus housed among the elderly, for whom COVID-19 was most likely to be fatal. There were at least 6,400 deaths linked to the disease in New York nursing homes. That’s also an undercount due to Cuomo’s math chicanery.
Yet he puffs his chest and berates the federal response. Admirers of Cuomo’s pandemic briefings dubbed themselves “cuomosexuals” — you can hear the fans squealing — and convention Democrats lapped it up. He’s even landed a book deal to trumpet his wonderfulness.
Then came Sen. Bernie Sanders, with his usual dismal recitation of America’s failings. His theme was to warn America about Trump’s supposed tendency toward tyranny. “Under this administration,” Sanders inveighed, “authoritarianism has taken root in our country. I and my family, and many of yours, know the insidious way authoritarianism destroys democracy, decency, and humanity.”… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The Democrats’ Convention Will Be Their High Point Before a Collapse | Opinion
Newsweek, Aug. 18, 2020
As an observer of conventions and presidential campaigns going back to 1956, I am confident in predicting that this week’s Democratic National Convention will be the high-water mark before the collapse of the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket.
As the ticket collapses, it will start to move into the 1972 George McGovern range of isolation from the American people. Ironically, the physical isolation of Biden over the last few months has slowed down the political isolation, which will now occur.
Three factors will lead to the collapse of the Biden-Harris ticket over the next six weeks.
First, Vice President Biden is clearly incapable of functioning as president. Every time he comes out from hiding in the basement, it is embarrassingly clear that he could not possibly negotiate with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, or Russian President Vladimir Putin, to any positive effect.
He is performing weaker and weaker with each passing week. Even when his campaign can control every aspect of his events or appearances, there is something pathetic about Biden’s inability to project strength or articulate any firm ideas.
I received an email from the Biden-Harris headquarters that showed a gif of Biden and Harris coming out of a doorway. Both were looking down or away, and not interacting with anyone (including each other). The email asked, “Have you ever seen two people who look this ready to lead on Day 1?” I was flummoxed. They didn’t look ready to do anything. The question was a parody of their problem, and the image was embarrassing. I was astounded, because the material had been made by the Biden campaign—which had total control of the product. Biden does not look like he is ready to lead. He is looking down like he wants to make sure he doesn’t fall down.
Chris Wallace captured the absurdity of a presidential candidate trying to hide his way to the White House with a “basement strategy” when he told Guy Benson, “It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Americans are picking up on the implications of Biden’s hiding. In one survey by Rasmussen Reports, 38 percent of American voters said they thought the former vice president was in cognitive decline (of course, most of those were Trump supporters). … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
A Democratic Scorecard: Despite Progressive Gains, Party Leaders Stick to Traditional Pro-Israel Playbook
JTA, Aug. 20, 2020
Five seconds of Linda Sarsour was enough for Joe Biden.
Sarsour, whom Jewish groups have accused of crossing the line from Israel criticism into anti-Semitism, appeared at a meeting — on the sideline of the Democratic convention — of Muslims who will be campaigning for Biden for president.
The Republican Party posted five seconds of her appearance on Twitter, in which she said referring to Muslim Americans, “The Democratic Party is not perfect, but it is absolutely our party in this moment.” “If Linda Sarsour is the face of the Democrat Party, ” the Republican Jewish Coalition said, “then the Democrat Party has truly become the party of anti-Semitism and too toxic for American Jews.”
With unusual swiftness, the Biden campaign was on it. “Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform,” a spokesman said, referring to Sarsour’s embrace of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. “She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.”
Biden’s swift disavowal of the Palestinian-American activist was a signal of how far the pendulum had swung in the recent back-and-forth between the Democratic Party’s pro-Palestinian progressives and its more traditional centrist pro-Israel sector. At least at the top, the conventional pro-Israel view remains in place. But progressives can still point to several important developments during the past year, which activists on both sides argue means the fight is unlikely to disappear.
Here’s a rundown of what’s making each camp happy these days.
Why traditional pro-Israel Democrats are happy
Biden won: Just 10 months ago, as the Democratic primaries shifted into full gear, there appeared to be two seismic changes suggesting that progressives were winning the fight to change how Democrats talked about Israel.
In October, at a conference of J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, three presidential candidates — Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — said they would leverage assistance to Israel to pressure it to fall into line with U.S. policies. Viable candidates for the White House had never embraced such a position.
Then in March, Sanders and Warren boycotted the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also technically unprecedented. (Sanders “boycotted” the conference in 2019, but actually had not been invited to speak.)
That caused speculation about the party’s drift away from Israel — but then Biden, one of the country’s longest-standing friends, a man who calls himself a Zionist and ridiculed the notion of leveraging aid to Israel at around the time of the J Street conference, became the nominee.
The platform: When Sanders endorsed Biden, they consulted on a number of areas where Sanders wanted to see Biden move left; foreign policy notably was not one of them. Biden personally intervened to keep the word “occupation” out of the party platform. The platform’s language on Israel was robust and aid was sacrosanct. “Democrats believe a strong, secure and democratic Israel is vital to the interests of the United States,” it said.
If there were concessions to the progressives, they were affirmative — in emphasizing Palestinian rights, not in criticizing Israel. The platform condemned the boycott Israel movement, but also said it should be protected from legal retaliation, citing free speech. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:
WATCH: Joe Biden’s Full Speech From the DNC: WSJ, Aug. 21, 2020 — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed the country on the final night of the national convention. He pledged to represent all Americans and lead the country out of difficult times.
Democrats Play Hide the Agenda as Their Convention Kicks Off: Kyle Smith, National Review, Aug. 18, 2020 — Cute kids in red, white, and blue T-shirts singing the national anthem. Calls for unity and reminders that black lives matter. A citation of the Constitution.
Jews Drinking Coffee and Watching the Democratic Convention: Tablet,Aug. 13, 2020 — Instead of presenting you with the hard-hitting and in-person team coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions that we planned back in January (a big shout-out here to Tablet’s Airbnb hosts in Milwaukee and Charlotte, who gave us our money back), we will proudly be sharing our remote impressions of this year’s Democratic and Republican Party-branded Zoom calls—which for all we really know are Deep Fakes produced by Kremlin agents or by a high school kid in Tampa, Florida.
The Republican National Convention Needs to Rock: David Marcus, The Federalist, Aug.19, 2020 — It’s kind of amazing. The Democratic Party has at its disposal pretty much all of the talent in Hollywood and yet their boring infomercial of a national convention makes watching tomatoes turn red look like the Super Bowl.
This week’s French-language briefing is titled: La doctrine Netanyahu (faire la paix avec le monde arabe avant de la faire avec les Palestiniens)