Tuesday, February 14, 2017

You've Got a Friend in Me

Michael Flynn, of late the National Security Advisor to President Trump, has resigned. Many are cheering, but Flynn still has some backers outraged that Trump cut Flynn loose so quickly -- including the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

To be sure, it's the chair of the Russian Foreign Affairs Committee. But it's still nice to see that Flynn still has some friends in high places.

David Friedman Will Be Confirmed Because Republicans Don't Care About Israel

Republicans understand that Israel resides in a dangerous part of the world. Its security -- its very survival -- depends on the daily navigation of increasingly choppy diplomatic waters in one of the world's most volatile powderkegs. Republicans get that. They take these things seriously.

And that's why a Republican Senate will likely confirm a Republican President's nomination of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel.

It was sadly predictable that the GOP wouldn't care about Friedman comparing liberal Jews unfavorably with Nazi collaborators. It was a little less predictable, but still sad, that many mainstream Jewish organizations have decided to let that slide as well. But one might have though that, with all the talk about the dangers Israel faces and the difficulties it must confront in the diplomatic arena, that the putatively pro-Israel folks might insist that America's diplomatic representative to the Jewish state not be a rank amateur. The only thing thinner than David Friedman's skin is his qualification to serve as an Ambassador. A guy who casually calls other Jews "worse than Kapos" and the ADL "morons" doesn't exactly scream "diplomatic temperament."

It's one thing to blow smoke when you're an irrelevant bankruptcy attorney in New York. As Ambassador these things have consequences. If Israel sits in as precarious a position as we're often told it is, and one cares about preserving its stability and security in the face of regional and international pressure, the idea of having someone like David Friedman sit in our embassy in Tel Aviv Jerusalem Tel Aviv should be flatly terrifying.

If one cares. If one doesn't, and Israel is just a nice talking point to rile up parts of your base, then by all means confirm away.

In any event, right now Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker (R-TN) is refraining from endorsing Friedman until after his committee's hearings, and ranking member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is refraining from opposing Friedman until the same. I wrote to my Senators urging them to vote against Friedman, but I doubt we'll see any significant Republican defections.

Preach It

Regarding the DNC race, I'll just let Erik Loomis speak for me:

I am through with the discussion over the next DNC Chair. While the Democratic Party should be getting ready to win a hopefully wave election in the House in 2018, different factions of the party are relitigating the primary. SO you have this endless back and forth between Keith Ellison and Tom Perez, both excellent candidates and great progressives, which is really just an excuse for angry partisans to hate on each other. This is beyond worthless. We deserve to not control government if we can’t have enough party discipline to just elect someone to what is an overrated position that did not cost Bernie the primary but which should have someone competent in it for once.
Here’s the thing: If you think Hillary Clinton is a horrible person who is the enemy of the Democratic Party, you are the problem. If you think Bernie Sanders is a horrible person who is the enemy of the Democratic Party, you are also the problem. Quit being part of the problem and get to work doing something useful.
It's not that you can't have valid reasons for preferring Ellison over Perez or vice versa. I've voted in many Democratic primaries where my decision was based on relatively minor and idiosyncratic differences between two strong progressive candidates, either one of whom would make for a fine Representative/Senator/President if elected. This is more or less that scenario.

But the people who are insistent on turning this race into a Total War for the Soul of the Democratic Party are delusional and, more importantly, damaging. Again, preferences are fine. Being primed to scream betrayal if the eventual selection is only 98.5% similar to your ideal choice is not