Editors' Blog

A Step Too Far

There seems to be a growing backlash to the Netanyahu-Boehner speech stunt, both in the United States and Israel. As you can see from our current feature story, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has said the speech threatens a rift with the US and should be canceled. I want to say more about Oren's remarks and their context. But before getting to that, a few other developments.

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Quote of the Day

"Senior American official" as quoted by Haaretz: "We thought we've seen everything. But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don't do. He spat in our face publicly and that's no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's office has tried to paper over the confrontation by calling the congressional invitation bipartisan. But Democrats were quick to note that is not true. Even American Jewish groups who seldom allow any daylight between themselves and the Israeli government appear shocked by Netanyahu's move and are having difficulty defended it.

Yes, Republicans Want Big Time Cuts in Social Security

Over the last couple weeks, Dylan Scott has been out front on the House GOP's effort manufacture a Social Security funding crisis that would hit over the next two years. There's more than one Social Security Trust Fund. There's one that covers most retirees. There's another that covers the disability part of the program. And over the years, Congress - with little controversy - has shifted funds back and forth between the two to maintain actuarial balance. So to date, the whole push has been rather technical and framed around bean counting. But earlier this month, most notably from Rand Paul, we heard the other prong in the attack come into play.

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A Strange, Strange System

This is no news to Saudi watchers or people who keep up on the region. But I wanted to note one fact about the passing today of Saudi King Abdullah. Abdullah was 90 years old, a pretty old guy, though until quite recently fairly vital for his age. But since 1953, every Saudi monarch has been the son of the founder of the Saudi state, ibn Saud, a man who was born in 1876. To put that more crisply, every Saudi head of state who has governed this pivotal, brittle and profoundly influential petro-state during the years of its ascendency since 1953 has been the son of a man born only a decade after the US Civil War. Had transportation been more advanced and he was born a decade earlier, he could have hung out with Abraham Lincoln.

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Quote Of The Day

A moderate House Republican, one of those rare species, bemoaning the start to this Congress:

"Week one, we had a Speaker election that didn't go as well as a lot of us would have liked. Week two, we spent a lot of time talking about deporting children, a conversation a lot of us didn't want to have. Week three, we're debating reportable rape and incest -- again, not an issue a lot of us wanted to have a conversation about. I just can't wait for week four."

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