Don’t wig out over the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to get unilateral statehood at the United Nations. “In fact the UN vote will change little or nothing on the ground, which is another reason I wonder whether Israel is best defending its interests by turning the vote into a crisis. The American position should, it seems to me, be to oppose this Palestinian step as a useless complication—as we are doing. But we too should stop short of threats to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank because of it. The collapse of the PA is not in our interest—nor in Israel’s, as surely the Israelis must recognize and as Israeli security agencies do fully realize. For the Israelis to take retaliatory steps that make their own situation worse cannot be a sensible reaction to the Palestinian move.” Read the whole thing.
What Republicans should really be angst-ridden about is the Senate debacle. “ Nobody quibbles with the right of the Club for Growth or FreedomWorks to put forward primary challengers—though it would be useful if they backed candidates who could win. The Club’s Richard Mourdock (who defeated Dick Lugar in a primary) was desperately struggling to hold his own in Indiana even before his own ‘rape’ comments. The grass roots in Wisconsin meanwhile inexplicably backed Mark Neumann—who as a congressman in the 1990s was hostile to tax cuts. The voters rejected him in a bitter primary, but not before Mr. Neumann had hobbled rival Tommy Thompson ahead of his race against Democrat Tammy Baldwin. The Club this year can’t even lay claim to the GOP’s one big conservative victory—Deb Fischer in Nebraska—since they backed her primary opponent, Don Stenberg, a three-time Senate loser.”
Markets are still freaking out about the Obama second term and the fiscal cliff. “The Dow Jones industrial average lost 121 points to close at 12,811, bringing its two-day loss to 434 points. The Dow plunged 313 on Wednesday as worries about Europe’s faltering economy and a looming showdown in the U.S. over fiscal policy came back into focus now that the presidential election had been decided. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 17 points to end at 1,378 and the Nasdaq composite lost 42 points to end at 2,896.”
Americans should worry if these people get control of the process. “Call it bravado, or even recklessness. Some Democratic lawmakers stare at the fiscal cliff and wager that jumping off it might not be so bad. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has urged her party to play tough on the cliff—a combination of year-end tax hikes and automatic spending cuts—to force Republicans to accept higher tax rates on the wealthy. She said last summer that a plunge would be preferable to a deal ‘that throws middle-class families under the bus.’ A few GOP deficit hawks say they, too, would take the leap if that were the only way to tame the deficit.”
More reason to be panicky. “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Thursday laid out in substantial detail the costs of not dealing with the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ CBO had already estimated that going over the cliff would spark a recession, while simply voiding the tax and spending increases would add trillions to the debt. But the new study breaks down the costs and benefits of allowing various parts of the fiscal cliff to remain in place.”
Immigration exclusionists will be jittery. “Boehner says House will act on immigration bill.”
Our allies will be anxious if the United States retreats. “In his next term he will face major challenges abroad, not just challenges of ‘nation-building’ but threats to our national security: an unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan; a possible Taliban take-over in Afghanistan; a potential Iranian nuclear capability threatening vital U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf and the security of Israel; the growing strength of anti-American Islamist extremists in Syria in the absence of meaningful support for the non-Islamist opposition.”