A common view these days among friends of Israel: “For AIPAC, the strategy of conjuring up this illusion of a bipartisan consensus on Israel has run its course. With Obama pursuing a dangerous diplomacy with Iran and setting up Israel as the fall guy for any failure to reach peace with the Palestinians, the time for mealy-mouthed political statements is over. Either AIPAC becomes willing to take on Obama more openly and aggressively, or it continues down the path to irrelevance.”

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 3, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Monday with President Obama in the Oval Office. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s  troubles the most popular candidate among mainstream Republicans seems to be Jeb Bush. “His allies say he is considering it more seriously than ever before. They believe he could be their Goldilocks candidate: Not too conservative, not too centrist; not too dull, not too unpredictable; not too inexperienced, and not too marred by scandal. In fact, just right.” Still a 50-50 shot at best he will run, I think.

Many others in the center-left have a similar view these days. “Washington’s flat-footed, deer-in-the-headlights incomprehension about Russia’s Crimean adventure undermines President Obama’s broader credibility in a deeply damaging way. If he could be this blind and misguided about Vladimir Putin, how smart is he about the Ayatollah Khameni, a much more difficult figure to read?” Read the whole thing.

This is Obama’s frequent pattern: Slam Israel in specifics and then mouth platitudes. “It’s my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine in which people are living side by side in peace and security. But it’s difficult and it requires compromise on all sides. And I just want to publicly again commend the Prime Minister for the seriousness with which he’s taken these discussions.” Someone in the White Hosue must have figured out how awful his Sunday interview bashing Israel came across.

The same distinction persists: Obama says he won’t let Iran get a nuclear weapon. The Israeli prime minister says: “I look forward to working closely with you in the years ahead to address the main challenges that confront both our countries, and of these, the greatest challenge, undoubtedly, is to prevent Iran from acquiring the capacity to make nuclear weapons. I think that goal can be achieved if Iran is prevented from enriching uranium and dismantles fully its military nuclear installations.” Translation: That interim deal stinks.

But praise for Hillary Clinton’s “reset” used to be nearly universal! “The benefits of this ‘reset’ are hard to find, unless one counts the Russian-orchestrated deal on Syrian chemical weapons which Bashar Assad is not carrying out on the agreed upon schedule. The costs of the “reset” are more obvious–it has convinced Putin that no matter how brazenly and unlawfully and thuggishly he acts, the U.S. will look the other way because semi-amicable relations with Russia are so important to whoever occupies the White House.” Reality is a drag, huh?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) gives the same “underachiever” theory that a lot of lawmakers embrace. “I thought when he had a couple of dinners with Republican senators, we really had a good environment there. Because he is a very very articulate and attractive guy in a setting with eight or nine senators and him. Because he was smarter than the rest of us. But I don’t see that now. I don’t see any of that.” Maybe it was just PR spin?