Presidents who are hamstrung at home have often plunged into work overseas, where a president’s power is robust regardless of the situation in Congress. So the news today that Secretary Clinton has gotten the Israelis and Palestinians back to direct negotiations for the first time in almost two years makes me wonder whether this might be focus of renewed effort on President Obama’s part after what looks to be a pretty brutal mid-term election.
On the other hand, if Prime Minister Netanyahu remains in power, I would figure he’ll resist American pressure like crazy since he’ll be waiting and hoping that a new and more anti-Peace Process president succeeds Obama in 2013.
Few issues matter more to me than this one. And no matter what goes wrong — and something usually does — I’m never really able to give into the pessimism that many do since I think that both parties will always and inevitably (eventually) have to come to the same pretty straightforward and unavoidable solution. On the other hand, it’s getting pretty hard to have any confidence that any of these particular initiatives — will get us anywhere we haven’t been before.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.