The Washington Post

Obama can't count on any help from the Israelis

There is growing commentary and gossip in political circles that an Israeli attack on Iran is becoming more likely. This speculation includes analysis of how such an attack could affect the November presidential election.   

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a good politician — a good Israeli politician and a good American politician. Whatever speculation there is should include the fact that he won't do one thing that could help President Obama win reelection.

It is impossible to poll but safe to assume that most scenarios for an attack are right to include the idea that Americans would rally to the president if there was an Israeli attack, even if it did not directly include U.S. forces. 

The United States would have to brace for a retaliatory attack and Americans would look to the president for leadership and reassurance. In the short term, any president would benefit politically.  Whether or not that rush of support for the president would last for days or weeks is anyone’s guess.

Unless there is a compelling reason for an attack to occur before the election, I don't think one will happen. Israel’s leaders know Obama doesn't like them, and I understand the feelings are mutual.  Among the risks the Israelis don't want to take is that an attack could help Obama in November.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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