Bibi Lombardi -- Winning Is the Only Thing

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By Mark Green

Lowry & Corn clash over Netanyahu's win -- Arabs-are-coming plus 3 positions on 2 States in 36 hours. Lombardi & Durocher: "Win any way you can so long as you get away with it." Now what should Obama & Clinton do? Then: would Mandatory Voting "infringe liberty" or be a civic obligation like jury duty?

*On Netanyahu. Yes it was an amazing come-from-behind victory. Yes his 540 degree triple axel on a Palestinian State has undermined the traditional bi-partisan consensus for Israel. Thoughts?

Corn worries that Netanyahu's shameless demagoguery "has further isolated himself and Israel from the rest of the world, the White House and the Democratic Party. If anyone now believes anything he says, I have an oasis in the Sinai I'll sell them."

Lowry thinks that a) there's been a media overreaction is because a PM hated by the Left unexpectedly won and b) he didn't reverse course on Two State Solution since he's consistently insisted there had to be preconditions that will not exist in the near future. "In his 2009 address and now, Netanyahu has said there had to be strict conditions on any Palestinian State, like a peaceful neighbor not dominated by Hamas and ISIS. That's just a statement of reality." Lowry emphasizes that when Israel did return Gaza without any land in return, Hamas used it to three times to launch missiles in a war against it.

But he acknowledges that Netanyahu's statement on election eve that "Arabs are voting in droves" so the right-wing should come out for him was "ill-advised... but didn't swing he election. And how many Jews vote in Saudi Arabia?"

But don't Netanyahu's moves fulfill Susan Rice's warning that he's being "destructive" to America's historic bi-partisan support for Israel? Is Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street right that he's forcing people to choose sides -- Bibi's implicit belief in a One State Solution versus the Bush43/Obama consensus in favor of Two States? Rich has a brief, blunt response: "The Left is anti-Israel." David balks: "In fact, Democrats and the Left have long supported Israel -- look at the [70%] majority Obama won of American Jews." He adds that the Cotton Letter to sabotage the Iranian negotiations is a radical step toward yet another war in the Middle East, "when the others didn't go very well."

What now will presidential prospect Hillary Clinton do since she's seen as a strong supporter of Israel as a Senator form New York but of course was also Obama's Secretary of State. In Ben-Ami's analysis, whose side will she be on - liberal Jews & Obama or conservative moneyed Jews & Netanyahu? "Both!" shouts David. Lowry laughs and agrees.

Host: two comments.

*Netanyahu has undermined the near automatic support Israel has enjoyed with both American liberals and conservatives. I'm a progressive pro-Israel Jewish Democrat but wonder how anyone can believe a word Netanyahu says in the future and am dismayed at his near-complete identification with right-wing Republicans, i.e. his anti-Obama speech to a Joint Session on Congress. As a political strategist, Lowry gleefully rubs salt in this wound since it could move some Jewish support to the Adelson-Netanyahu GOP. But is it "good for the Jews"? Doubt it.

*Rich is right that a Hamas-ISIS Palestinian state is intolerable but so is a One State Solution which risks Israel becoming a Czechoslovakia, Lebanon, Iraq or even America circa 1850s, splitting up under the stress of an eventual Arab majority. An eventual Palestinian state is a dangerous risk. An eventual One State with an Arab majority is also since it means Israel may have to choose between a Jewish State and a Democratic one.

David Remnick put it well in a New Yorker piece: "Israel exists; the Palestinian people exist. Neither is provisional. Within these territorial confines, two nationally distinct groups, who are divided by language, culture, and history, cannot live wholly apart or wholly together." Combining Bibi and Barack then: no Palestinian state in the current explosive Middle East but perhaps one that a POTUS 45 or 46 and a Netanyahu successor could cobble together in a different era and region. Not a bumper sticker but probably the best hope in the long-run.

*On Mandatory Voting. This week Obama became the first President to suggest that Mandatory Voting, as Australia and 10 other countries have, might be a good and "transformational" thing for the U.S. Rich scoffs, saying it violates a person's "individual liberty" but will still become a hobby horse of the left within 5 years. David says he was at first skeptical but has been increasingly convinced that if a coercive obligation of citizenship is sitting on juries, maybe we also should have to vote, with "Non-of-the-Above" being an option.

Host: let the conversation begin! When I was a young lawyer with Ralph Nader in the 70s, I would regularly ask law students applying for a job what they thought of the idea, to see how they could think on their feet. I'd say 98% were automatically against it on the big-brother argument...but then warmed to it when they heard more. Today, as voter suppression schemes spread to restrict voting by the elderly, young and minority based on bogus "voter fraud", it's timely to consider a change that leads to more voting, not less.

Prediction: Watch early polling on it to be 20-50% against but then become 50-20% for as it's debated over the years.

*On Senator Cotton's maiden floor speech calling for American "world military domination" as the best route to peace. David thinks that he's making a big play to be the next generation "hawk's hawk like McCain and Graham. But American already has 'world military domination' since our defense budget equals the next half dozen countries combined. And if he wants to spend even more, he'll have to say where it's coming from."

"The Ryan Budget" answers Rich. But he goes on to agree with David about the US's current military dominance, adding that: even before his arrival to the Senate, this Harvard Law + Iraq veteran "was seen as a likely big impact player." As for the Cotton Letter, it was no big deal, "just like a [jointly signed] op-ed. Com'on, it was intended to disrupt the difficult Iranian negotiations. Isn't it true that no matter how good an Obama-Kerry agreement might be, the GOP will oppose it, like Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was going to oppose President Wilson's League of Nations in 1919? Rich agrees it will be opposed. Period.

Chance the 37 year old will be on a national ticket in the next eight presidential cycles (when he'd be 69)? 80% says Lowry. Given stumbles that prove disqualifying, 40% says Corn.

*On Cruz's "world on fire." Often it's unscripted, betraying moments when voters get a read on a person. This week the eternally dire Ted Cruz told a Republican audience that "the world's on fire" --- and an alarmed three year old girl said out loud, "the world's on fire?" Cruz then paused, repeated his point, but added that it would be ok because her Mommy would fix things.

Rich thinks this shows his dexterity as a speaker who reacted well to the spontaneous exchange. David focuses on how, when Seth Meyers later joked on Late Night that he approvingly thought Cruz was talking about Global Warming, the Senator then went into his schtick that global warming is a hoax.

The Host is thinking Hans Christian Anderson -when it took a child to say what the adults in the audience couldn't, namely that the candidate's world and clothes were NOT on fire, literally or figuratively. Nonetheless, Breaking News: announcing his candidacy this week will be Senator Chicken Little describing an apocalypse only he can rescue us from.

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.

You can follow him on Twitter @markjgreen

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