Editors' Blog

Job One

Anshel Pfeffer has this right. The aim of today's speech is to keep Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Notably, though he still has the best shot at forming the next government, Netanyahu personally and his party have slipped in the polls over the last two weeks. Notably, Netanyahu's top political advisor, Ron Dermer, who currently serves as Ambassador to the US, was in Jerusalem for the last ten days advising on the speech and Netanyahu's reelection campaign during one of the tensest period between the two countries in decades.

Still More

There are now apparently 51 members of Congress not attending Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech tomorrow. Seven Senators and 44 members of the House. The latest is Sen. Al Franken (D). The list is heavily weighted toward African-Americans but also toward Jews. By my count, Franken is the 6th Jewish member of Congress to sit it out.

Thanks, Folks

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who signed up for Prime in February - a total of 342 new subscribers. We have a goal of adding 4,000 new subscribers by July. Becoming a member of Prime is a critical part of our business model at TPM. But this year we're also increasing what members get.

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Sure, They'll Fix It

Can Republicans really convince John Roberts they'll fix Obamacare if one of the GOP senators in charge of devising a fix is publicly calling it another step on the road to "socialism"?

Pants on Fire

We're about to see a mountain of writing and hoopla this week about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to the United States and speech before Congress. A guy on Twitter asked me if a comment I made was meant to be ironic. My thought was to tell him that irony simply doesn't have the muscle mass to handle what's coming down the pike this week. Only snark and absurdism can manage it. But with all this one of the most significant developments has gone all but unmentioned. We now have dramatic new evidence of Netanyahu's willingness to distort or simply falsify what his own intelligence agencies are telling him about the state of Iran's nuclear program when he speaks to the U.S. and the world.

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Grand Bargain

Obama agrees to meet Netanyahu. Netanyahu agrees to use juice with House GOP to fund DHS.

Trouble In The House

The House is voting right now on a temporary funding bill for DHS that will avoid a shutdown tonight and extend this whole temper tantrum on immigration for another three weeks -- but the vote is surprisingly tight. The consensus was Boehner had enough votes to get this through without Democratic help. Democratic leadership was actively whipping against it. But Boehner may now need Democrats to get this through. It's very close. Stay tuned.

Late Update: It failed. Amazing, really. Not surprising with this clown show. But still amazing.

"I Have Been - And Shall Always Be - Your Friend"

Leonard Nimoy died today. You've already heard this. We each have people that when we hear about their passing, it hits us with special force, because of a special mix of things unique to yourself and to that other person. For me, Nimoy is one of those people. As a fan from early boyhood, if you were a Trek fan and a Spock fan, if you got to know more about who Nimoy was, he was exactly who you would have wanted him to be. That is a very, very special thing.

He will be missed. A light has gone out.

Nope. Not Ready.

Last weekend I noted that the Rudy Giuliani flare up had revealed some critical ways in which Scott Walker may simply not be ready for the big leagues of a national campaign. In brief, a series of entirely avoidable, unforced errors during a period in the campaign that lacks even a chunk of the intensity that a presidential candidate faces when the game really gets underway. None of those missteps in themselves will end up hurting Walker. But they point to shortcomings as a candidate that could sink him later. Now we have another example, just a week later.

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Can An Israeli Government End the Occupation?

There is an important piece published yesterday in the left-leaning pro-peace Israeli website +972. It goes to a central, underlying issue in the upcoming Israeli elections: the role of the Arab parties in Israeli politics and specifically their role - or lack of a role - in Israeli coalitions.

It's important to start with some basic background. And this will be a thumbnail history. So I'll leave out a lot of nuance and detail but hopefully leave no major errors. Israel's Arab minority has always had the vote. And there are minorities within the minority - particularly the Druze community - who play an outsized role in the country's politics and military relative to their numbers. But they're the exception. In the early years of Israel's history, many Israeli Arabs voted for different Zionist parties or Arab parties that had various forms of alignment with major Jewish parties. That has changed over the years - in part because the Arab minority has become more assertive in pressing for its rights within the country.

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