Wrapping up Election Night
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
While it may not always seem to be the case, campaigns are the fun of politics, it is governing that is really the hard part. After the battles that Obama has had with the Republicans over the past two years, the prospect of the forthcoming lame duck battle with Congress may leave Obama truly longing for the good old campaign trail. Unless the President adopts a far more confrontational style starting when Congress returns next week—something that he has clearly avoided to date—the political fights of the second term could totally immobilize his presidency.
Not one of the talking heads or analysts last night discussed or addressed foreign policy or national security issues. Iran was barely mentioned. Except for references to U.S. service men and the forthcoming withdrawal from Afghanistan, there was no commentary about future U.S. involvement in the world; except for the intense global economic crisis.
Both JTA reported exit polls and J Street commissioned polls suggest that Obama received either 69% or 70% of the Jewish vote nationally. While constituting a drop in Obama’s Jewish support from the 78% he received in 2008 (a number legitimately challenged to be only 74%) it appears to have had no effect on the results or in loss in Jewish identification with Democratic candidates. (In Florida Obama received 68% of the vote and 69% in Ohio.) In Ohio, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown received 71% of the Jewish vote over his Republican Jewish opponent Josh Mandel and in Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson received 72% of the Jewish vote in his race against Connie Mack. This move to Romney was achieved at least in part by an expenditure of $6.5 million dollars spent by the Republican Jewish Coalition plus $1.5 million spent by affiliated political action committees.
The insane amount of money spent in this years’ campaign continues to stagger the mind. This is true of the approximately $1 billion spent each by Romney and Obama, as well as the total of $6 billion total that was spent including the SuperPacs and independent expenditures. Of that Sheldon Adelson himself is reported to have spent $53 million, almost all of it in losing races.
What Makes Bibi Tick?
Up until the last minute Bibi tried to find a way to intrude into America’s election. Almost as if his (and Romney’s) benefactor Sheldon Adelson wanted him to push one last button, literally on the eve of the election, Bibi announced that Israel was well prepared to attack Iran alone. This came six weeks after his U.N. visit where he appeared to have made peace with the President on Iran. Trying to shake up the Jewish votes probably in Florida one last time and to scare them from voting for Obama implying the President would not have Israel’s back.
Quote of the Day
Joe Biden never cease to amaze observers. While voting at home in Delaware, the Vice-President again commented on his interest in a political future. When asked whether this would be the last time that he would cast a vote for himself, he remarked: No, I don't think so.