Posted: 17 May 2012 02:52 PM PDT
Democrats have made much of President Obama’s supposed advantage over Mitt Romney in “likability,” as measured in various polls. My view has been that this edge is almost entirely illusory, because 1) telling a pollster that you like Obama personally is mostly a consolation prize after having expressed disapproval of his policies, and 2) most voters who don’t obsessively follow the Republican primary process have only a vague idea of Romney, but as they see more of him, they will find him plenty likable enough.
This Gallup Poll isn’t precisely on point because it measures overall “approval” as opposed to “likability,” but it illustrates the same phenomenon. Note that Gallup has been testing Romney’s approval rating since late 2006. It has shot up since he clinched the GOP presidential nomination:
Why the sudden jump?
So Republicans who may have favored another candidate didn’t want to be fulsome in expressing their feelings about Romney to pollsters, but now that he is the nominee they are coming around. As for independents, Romney probably benefits both from being the nominee and from the fact that they are now starting to get a look at him. (It is easy to lose sight of the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not spend their evenings watching presidential primary debates.)
Romney is ahead of Obama in net approval in this poll, +9 to +6. Here is where I think Romney has a lot of up-side: there are still a lot of independents who have seen little of him. Many of them won’t really tune in until the fall. When they do form an impression of Romney, I think it is highly likely to be positive, as Romney comes across as reasonable, competent and likable. So I will be surprised if this comparison does not continue trending in his favor from now until the election.
Posted: 17 May 2012 02:14 PM PDT
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games of 11 Israel athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists. As a reminder of this atrocity, the Israeli Olympic Committee asked that there be a moment of silence to honor the victims at the commencement of the Games.
The International Olympic Committee has refused to agree. The best IOC President Jacques Rogge could do was to promise to attend the Israeli delegation’s traditional tribute to the victims. Rogge also told the Israels to “rest assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”
This may or may not be true. But the important thing is that the massacre never fade from public memory. A public moment of silence promotes this goal; Rogge’s attendance at a private ceremony does not. One suspects that that the International Olympic Committee would be pleased enough if the massacre at its Games were forgotten by the public.
In any event, a moment of silence does not seem like too much to ask. As Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: “This rejection told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations.” Just so.
One wonders, though, the extent to which the moment of silence would have been observed by those in attendance.
Posted: 17 May 2012 11:24 AM PDT
Benjamin Netanyahu is on the cover of this week’s Time magazine. The accompanying article, by the magazine’s managing editor Richard Stengel, is titled “King Bibi.” On the cover next to Netanyahu’s photo are the words: “King Bibi. He’s conquered Israel. But will Netanyahu now make peace–or war?”
The theme of the article is that Netanyahu has consolidated his power in Israel, giving him a golden opportunity to surrender to the Palestinians and leave Iran alone. Conditions in the Middle East are constantly changing, but our journalists’ prescription for the area is fossilized and never changes: if only Israel would give a little more, peace would descend.
Here is this week’s cover. The manner in which Netanyahu is depicted suggests that Stengel and his colleagues are not entirely confident that he will “make peace.”
The article is not yet available online except to subscribers, but the Time staff describes it in a blog on the magazine’s web site:
Sounds like they think he is a “prisoner of…history.” Where on earth could he get the idea that anti-Semitism is persistent?
Actually, Netanyahu’s position on Iran is the same as President Obama’s: Iran under its present regime must not be permitted to become a nuclear power. The difference is that Netanyahu may mean it.
Got that? They were “compelled” to stop negotiating. By Netanyahu’s intransigence, apparently; this was the position that has “compelled” them to refuse to talk to Israel for the last two years:
Time’s blog post finishes by quoting the cover story’s conclusion:
Do what now? “Compromise,” apparently. But Israel has compromised again and again, and it is the Palestinians who refuse even to talk.
What choice? To withdraw from the West Bank as it did from Lebanon and Gaza? How did those gestures of good faith work out for Israel? For some reason, liberals seem to regard Palestinians as automatons. The choice is never theirs; their conduct, including incessant terrorist attacks, is somehow determined–”compelled”–by others. In reality, it is the Palestinians who need to make a choice: the choice to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to abandon their dreams of driving out or killing the Jews, and to establish themselves as a normal country rather than a band of ersatz “refugees.” When the Palestinians make the choice to lay down their arms, there will be peace; not before. And there is nothing “King Bibi” can do to change that reality.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Time gets it wrong on Israel again
Posted by Jewish Education at 9:37 PM