Saturday, May 21, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

I'm going to say that Barack Obama's big Middle East speech almost certainly goes down in the "didn't matter" category -- and that's not a criticism. Presidential speeches can matter, but this one wasn't likely to; he was unlikely to present new proposals, he didn't present new proposals, and now we'll move on.

I'm confident that Newt Gingrich's Very Bad Week didn't matter to the 2012 presidential race. Let's see...I guess Mike Huckabee's announcement was technically during the "What Mattered This Week?" week, and that one, I think, does matter. Huck was one of a handful of plausible winners, now a handful minus one.

And then we had the Liu nomination going down in the Senate. I do think that one was important, but I'm just not sure yet, as I said earlier, exactly what it signals. I'll certainly be watching.

What am I missing? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. How about Newt's bad week for the House dynamics and potentially even 2012 House races? "Radical ... right wing social engineering" is a gift that Dem House campaigns don't get every day from a high profile Republican.

    At the least it has encouraged political reporters to focus on the unpopularity of the House GOP agenda.

  2. The tightening of the special-election House race in NY-26. This could affect every House and Senate race next year.

    Also the end of the world, if it happens today as predicted. That could also have an impact on next year's races.

  3. I don't think Obama's Middle East speech mattered from a US politics perspective, but I'm interested in whether it mattered from an Israeli / Palestinian politics and policy perspective.

  4. I think it was a big blowback week.

    On the Middle East, Obama didn't seem to get much enthusiasm but found just restating US foreign policy and the starting point of the '67 borders was an opportunity to again hit him from the right. Showed he doesn't have alot of room to maneuver in pushing Israel if he were to try.

    The Jane Mayer piece regarding leaks and reporters and the Defense Intelligence Agency showed the political blowback (or potential one awaiting this administration / their fear of it) if they appear less than doctrinaire about going after anything or anyone appearing to stand in the way of the "war on terror" even in the domestic / privacy invading sphere. The gap between what this administration would likely have pursued if Bush hadn't preceded Obama and what they are pursuing given they're constant threats from appearing to take a mico-step back from that war is striking. This story was a microcosm of the Guantanamo / Afghanistan / military spending / trial through non-military means adjustments this administration has ended up making, so so dissappointingly to civil libertarians.

    And finally, the blowback story of the 2012 election so far and important in signaling to other candidates the power of the tea party, the Gingrich Gail storm and hasty retreat from his characterization if the Ryan plan as right wing social engineering showed the lengths to which the Republican party has shifted and showed all other candidates (and maybe even signaled what might be in store for Mitch Daniels if he had decided to run for president) how much sympathy they could expect from challenging some of the gale forces heading the other direction.

  5. I'll go with the story that leaked from an administration source that "Obama doesn't think Netanyahu will "ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal".

    That makes it sound like Bibi can gamble on getting a new President in 2013, or he'll lose the confidence of the administration shortly thereafter. Generally speaking, Israeli PM's can't afford not to be on good terms with a US President.


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