Friday, April 09, 2010
Obama is delivering what he promised and what all the subtle and nuanced explainers promised was just balderdash for the base during the campaign. The different parts of the image never connected. On one side are all the sophisticated technocrats just itching to take their often poorly research developed theories out of the think tanks and universities and try them out. On the other hand were all the emotional foot soldiers and sob-sisters chanting for "Hope and Change." Part of the problem is that the technocrats are as isolated from reality by their narrow educational and social experiences as are the believers in free mortgages and a Obama's secret money stash. The technocrats may know that in their specialty the plan includes a black box labeled "and then a miracle occurs" but they assume that only applies to their corner and that everywhere else unicorns are being delivered. If you really believe then you just keep kicking the can down the road because the faith tells you it will be OK.
American Jews keep saying it has to be OK because Emanuel and Axelrod work for him so he can't be hostile to Israel. Or they try to project onto the disputes between Likud and Labour the partisan identities that they have internalized in America. Doing so allows them to align with the Obama position by defining Netanyahu as illegitimate and not a true Jew because he is not a supporter of an American Democrat. It is the ultimate "No true Scotsman" argument taken to an extreme that most Israelis should find more frightening then any threat from Hamas.
For 65 years the Jews of America invested all their emotional energy into a vision of themselves as being respected and credible and part of a grand coalition that included Jews, Blacks, Artists, Academics and Progressives. They projected this back into a worship of FDR, who personally had little affection for them, and tied their support for the struggling new state of Israel into the partisan dream. Now they are discovering, not that it hasn't been obvious for 30 or 40 years, what their friends think of them. Absorbing the blow may take more time then they have. It is certainly not something that the Israelis can wait for.