The New Republican Orthodoxy On Israel

More than ever before, even mild criticism of Israel seems to be verboten among Republicans.

US Israeli Flags

More than it ever has in the past, uncompromising support for Israel has become an article of faith inside the Republican Party, to the extent that dissenting opinions are being squashed:

WASHINGTON — When former Secretary of State James A. Baker III accused Israel’s leader this week of undermining the chances of peace in the region, he said nothing more than the kinds of things he had said at times when he was in office a quarter-century ago.

But the instant backlash from fellow Republicans that prompted Jeb Bush, the son of Mr. Baker’s best friend, to distance himself underscored just how much their party has changed on the issue of Israel. Where past Republican leaders had their disagreements with Israel, today’s Republicans have made support for the Jewish state an inviolable litmus test for anyone aspiring to national office.

“If you’re a Republican and you hedge on your support on Israel, it’s viewed as having a flawed foreign policy,” said Ron Bonjean, a party strategist who has worked for Republican leaders in Congress. “It’s a requirement for Republicans these days to be very strong on Israel if they’re going to be taken seriously by primary voters.” Any deviation on that, he said, leads to inevitable questions: “If you’re not supporting Israel, then who are you supporting? Are you supporting Iran?”

The Republican support coalescing behind Israel, and particularly its hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been on display in recent weeks as President Obama has neared a nuclear agreement with Iran that critics call dangerous. The House speaker, John A. Boehner, invited Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress on the matter while 47 Senate Republicans signed an open letter to Iran warning against making a deal with the president.

The shift in the party’s attitude toward Israel stems from several factors, according to Republicans – a greater sense of solidarity in the fight against Islamic extremism since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, increased support for the Jewish state among evangelical Christians and the influence of wealthy donors like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate. And the more Mr. Obama feuds with Mr. Netanyahu, the more Republicans feel motivated to come to the Israeli leader’s defense.

“It is remarkable,” said William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine and one of the leading voices promoting Israel’s cause in the United States. Mr. Netanyahu, who goes by the nickname Bibi, has become a rallying point for Republicans, he said. “Bibi would probably win the Republican nomination if it were legal,” he said.

Mr. Kristol, emailing from Israel where he was meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, described the shift as a result of broader underlying trends in American politics as the political left grows more “European” and the political right grows more “Reaganite.” He added that “the conservative belief in American exceptionalism is akin to Zionism.” And he said the contrast between Mr. Obama’s friction with Mr. Netanyahu and former President George W. Bush’s strong support for Israel “is pretty dramatic.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and president of J Street, the liberal pro-Israel advocacy organization that hosted Mr. Baker at its convention in Washington this week, said the Republican Party had grown more radical, leaving behind the former secretary of state and others like Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser under the first President George Bush, and Colin L. Powell, another former secretary of state.

The most recent example of this shift inside the GOP can be seen in what happened with former Secretary of State Baker:

In his speech on Monday night, Mr. Baker said he had “been disappointed with the lack of progress toward a lasting peace” between Israelis and Palestinians and recalled that Mr. Netanyahu had once spoken out in favor of a Palestinian state as part of an eventual solution.

“Since then, his actions have not matched his rhetoric as settlement construction has continued unabated and last week, under intense political strain, he announced his opposition to a two-state solution,” Mr. Baker said. “Now even though he attempted to back away from his statement two days after, I think we would all agree that the short term prospect for such a solution obviously remains quite bleak.”

Mr. Baker added that the United States would “never, never, never abandon Israel” and criticized what he called the “political gamesmanship” that has turned the issue into a political football lately. Clear thinking on the difficult issues in the region, he said, “should not be muddled by partisan politics.”

Within minutes, conservatives on Twitter blasted Mr. Baker, who served under Mr. Bush, and who had just been listed as an adviser to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor now poised to run for president. By the next morning, Jeb Bush authorized his spokeswoman to publicly differ.

The Baker incident is just the most prominent example of the new Republican orthodoxy on Israel, though. It manifests itself in big ways and small on a regular basis, especially in the extent to which conservatives in the U.S. will jump up to reflexively attack anyone who utters a criticism of Israeli policy in general and Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular. It’s not uncommon to see the charge of anti-Semitism hurled on such occasions although this is admittedly not a charge that one sees from the more prominent members of the party. Even when the reactions are more muted than that, though, they do come fast and fierce and they are quite obviously meant to send the message that, at least inside the Republican Party, criticism of Israel and deviation from what has become an article of faith inside the party will not be tolerated. The result, of course, can be seen in the way that the Republican leadership seemed to deliberate thumb its nose at President Obama with the invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier this month and the “open letter” to Iran that was signed by nearly every member of the Senate Republican Caucus. Bill Kristol’s suggestion that Bibi Nentanyahu may have been made mostly in jest but, based on the rhetoric one sees from Republican politicians, it honestly isn’t very far from the truth.

It didn’t always used to be this way, of course. There was a time when Republican Presidents and politicians were critical of Israeli actions and even openly defied the wishes of the Israeli government and its supporters in the United States. President Eisenhower put pressure on Israel, Britain, and France when those three nations invaded Egypt in an effort to seize the Suez Canal. President Nixon supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War, but was also critical of Israeli policy when it conflicted with his policy of currying favor with anti-Communist Arab nations that were also opposed to Israel. President George H.W. Bush’s Administration was similarly critical of Israel and actively lobbied the nation against retaliating when Saddam Hussein began lobbing Scud Missiles toward Israel during the Persian Gulf War in an effort to break the multinational coalition that was, quite literally, on Iraq’s doorstep. And, perhaps most significantly for contemporary Republicans, the policy of the Reagan Administration toward Israel in the 1980s was far from obsequious and often quite critical. For example, Reagan defied objections from Israel and its supporters in the U.S. and sold AWACS aircraft to Saudi Arabia, supported a United Nations resolution condemning Israel’s attack on a nuclear plant in Iraq, and strongly criticized the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. Additionally, both the Reagan and Bush 41 Administrations called on Israel to reach out to Arabs as part of Middle East peace initiatives.

None of that would be welcome in the modern Republican Party. Not only is criticism of Israel seemingly not allowed, but even questioning the assertion that Israel is “America’s most important ally” or arguing that policies of the Israeli government vis a vis its neighbors or the Palestinians are wrong is met with attacks, derision, and the assertion that the person making the argument may be bigoted. This kind of attitude is as wrong when its applied to Israel as it would be when applied to the United States. Even accepting the notion that Israel is our “most important” ally, a debate assertion to be honest, must mean being willing to criticize that ally when they do something wrong. It also means recognizing that the interests of the United States and the interests of Israel, while often parallel are not identical. President Reagan recognized that fact, but one has to wonder what the new Republican orthodoxy on Israel would have to say about him today.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. humanoid.panda says:

    I predict some fireworks in this thread..

  2. Mu says:

    The good thing is, the more orthodox points they’re adding to “the right Republican”, the less likely it becomes that an R candidate will ever break 40% in the popular vote again.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    Baker has always been at the farthest from pro-Israel end of American policy, as laid out here, most famously saying when he was Secretary of State “[@$&(*}] the Jews — they don’t vote for us anyway.”

  4. michael reynolds says:

    If Barack Obama feuded with Antigua Republicans would suddenly proclaim Antigua vital to US security.

  5. JohnMcC says:

    What’s interesting to me about the conjoining of Likud with our Republicans is that the constituency that seems to give Bibi his majorities is the fairly recent wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. I see (www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org) that the ‘FSU’ is now the origin of almost 40% of all the immigration to Israel from 1948 through 2013. Perhaps former Sec Baker could comment on the similarity between the ‘Occupied Territory’ vis-a-vis the Russian ‘Near Abroad’.

    I’m always reminded of an old Playboy magazine cartoon in which a well endowed and overdressed lady tells a friend that her husband was a strange bedfellow even BEFORE he went into politics.

  6. Scott says:

    It is really about the right wing Christians. I live right around the corner from Cornerstone Church, home of Hagee’s megachurch and I can tell you that Israel is a big subject. It is all about Armageddon and the second coming with these people.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: That.
    The only policy they seem to have any more. I really wish Obama would announce his strong objection to jumping off bridges.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Baker has always been at the farthest from pro-Israel end of American policy, as laid out here, most famously saying when he was Secretary of State “[@$&(*}] the Jews — they don’t vote for us anyway.”

    Of course that attitude is no more offensive than the Christian Fundamentalists’ belief in the nutty end times scenario that serves as their primary reason for supporting Israel…

  9. Davebo says:

    Even accepting the notion that Israel is our “most important” ally, a debate assertion to be honest, must mean being willing to criticize that ally when they do something wrong.

    Israel is not an ally of the United States and never has been. Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Japan the Philippines, South Korea and many other countries are allies of the U.S.

    Israel should be considered a client state but it’s not and that’s part of the problem.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Makes you wonder how many junior political analyst who work for Republicans keep promoting the idea that if the Republicans support Israel, then Jews will support Republicans. It is incredibly naive of Republicans to believe that they can ever appeal to Jews and it is just plain stupid to support Israel without question.

    On the other hand, how does any Republican criticize Israel and criticize big money Jewish donors such as Sheldon Adelson without being accused of being a anti-semite. Look at how paleocons are treated when they point out the policies that Adelson promotes in the U.S. versus the policies that Adelson promotes for Israel.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Conservative Christians need Israel to be around for the End of Days when, they believe, God will check back in, save all Christians, and vaporize everyone else.

    Interesting that I have not yet heard conservative Christians refer to American Jews who substantively support the Democratic Party as “being on the Democratic Kibbutz.” I suspect that that’s coming right up.

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @al-Ameda: It makes me wonder what’s going on between the Likudnik Jewish contingent and the Christian Identity types. I guess the Likudniks don’t believe that the End of Days will come, but are perfectly happy to take advantage of the Christian Identity loons’ “Support for Israel!”

    What are they going to do if the Christian Identity types start REALLY trying to drive the Mideast towards a nuclear war? Or maybe not even that, but start insisting that they can show up on their doorsteps in Israel to convert them?

    In fact, if I were POTUS and wanted to break up this alliance, that’s what I would do. Insist that in exchange for all the financial aid we’ve been giving Israel, they have to allow US missionaries to show up and wander around trying to convert people.

    Either that, or a few apocalyptic “End of Days” comments, heh heh…..

  13. al-Ameda says:

    @grumpy realist:

    In fact, if I were POTUS and wanted to break up this alliance, that’s what I would do. Insist that in exchange for all the financial aid we’ve been giving Israel, they have to allow US missionaries to show up and wander around trying to convert people.

    That’s almost pay-per-view worthy. Certainly if that was included in my AT&T Uverse package, at no additional cost, I would watch.

  14. Grumpy Realist says:

    @al-Ameda: each side convinced it can use the other side as the patsy. Reminds me of one of those 1930 bank robber movies, where the major tension is who will double-cross the other first.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: I’d settle for a half dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses and a few Mormons thrown in.

  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    It’s not uncommon to see the charge of anti-Semitism hurled on such occasions

    Few things are more amusing than Republicans / evangelicals (which is sort of the same thing these days …) babbling “anti-Semitism!!!” while US Jews are overwhelmingly saying “No, it isn’t …”

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Makes you wonder how many junior political analyst who work for Republicans keep promoting the idea that if the Republicans support Israel, then Jews will support Republicans. It is incredibly naive of Republicans to believe that they can ever appeal to Jews and it is just plain stupid to support Israel without question.

    Republicans aren’t doing this to try to get the support of American Jews…they are doing it to keep the loyalty of the Christian Fundies…

  18. Ron Beasley says:

    I could never understand why Israel was considered an ally – it’s npt and never has been. It is a client state and often a thorn in the side.

  19. DrDaveT says:

    Of course, this is perfectly consistent with the recent trend for Republicans to be much more interested in litmus tests and loyalty than in specific policies or strategies. It’s not about right or wrong, or even practical vs. impractical. It’s about which side you’re on, and it’s always binary.

  20. Paul Hooson says:

    I’m an American Jew, and I’m not pleased at the recent unhelpful Netanyahu alliance with Republican conservatives because this is not in the best interests of Mideast peace or Israel at this time. Israel needs constructive and moderate relations with it’s neighbors, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, all of which are combatants against ISIS, the Yemeni Shiite rebel uprising and Iran. Israel actually receives a great deal of security from this coalition of moderate Sunni states, where even Saudi Arabia insists it may acquire the nuclear bomb as a counter to Iran, not Israel. Saudi Arabia’s threat to acquire this bomb could prove a giant deterrent to Iran. Israel’s best foreign policy at this time is too seek peaceful relations both with the Palestinians as well as these moderate Arab neighbors. Netanyahu too much risks making Israel, and not Iran or ISIS the main enemy of these moderate neighbors. – Netanyahu is a real roadblock to excellent opportunities for a lasting peace between Israel and these moderate neighbors who all oppose Iran, Shiite extremism, al Qaeda and ISIS. These nine states could cement a strong and lasting regional peace alliance if not for Netanyahu. He’s the wrong Israeli leader and any support in Congress for him really undercuts the state of Israel’s overall security, not enhances it. – The White House’s foreign policy may be imperfect in the region, but it’s careful and measured, not unhelpful and reckless like this insurgent Netanyahu and some in Congress…

  21. de stijl says:

    “It’s a requirement for Republicans these days to be very strong on Israel if they’re going to be taken seriously by primary voters.” Any deviation on that, he said, leads to inevitable questions: “If you’re not supporting Israel, then who are you supporting? Are you supporting Iran?”

    Can’t think of a better description of the shockingly simplistic Manichaeism that has infected the Republican Party.

    If not X, then anti-X.

    Don’t support the Iraq War? You’re objectively pro-terrorist.

    Don’t support the repeal of PPACA? You’re a socialist (or communist). Oh, and you want to kill my granny.

    Don’t vote Republican? You’re not just anti-American, you’re actively working to destroy America.

  22. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: It is ironic the self-proclaimed party of individualism is so dogmatic and hostile to individual thinking. Any deviation from approved thought or speech is grounds for censure and expulsion. Republicans have become as autocratic, reactionary and conservative as the Soviet Union’s ruling communist party was under Kruschev; next stop firing squads for all “traitors” and un-american bastards if some have their way.

    For all its numerous and egregious faults, I don’t risk getting thrown out of the Democratic Party when I disagree with it.

  23. Gavrilo says:

    I’m really curious about these Christian fundamentalists who supposedly only support Israel out of some belief/desire that the world is going to end. Who are they? I’ve never met one. Can anyone name a single Republican member of Congress or the Senate who espouses this belief? Can anyone name one even remotely prominent conservative in the media who espouses this belief?

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Had a thought this morning. In today’s GOP one is anti-semitic if one does not give unwavering support to Israel. This is the same GOP where a whisper campaign that a candidate for Governor is a Jew leads to the suicide of said candidate, because it was working.

    Excuse me, my brain has whiplash.

  25. Lynn says:

    re Christian Zionists in congress — Louie Gohmert (Texas)

    from 2013 but still seems relevant –

    “In mid-November Gohmert, using the Bible as his guide, spoke about that ‘betrayal’ [by Obama, of Israel] on the House floor:
    “Some of us believe that the Bible is accurate. Certainly, so many prophesies have been fulfilled, and if that is true, this administration, unless they can find a verse that accurately says that those who betray Israel will be blessed, then this country is being dug in a deeper hole by this administration, and its betrayals of Israel’s trust and Israel’s friendship.”

    http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/delegation-congressional-christian.html

  26. lounsbury says:

    Bolsheviks, they look more and more like Bolshevik true believers in comportment, party ideology as true religion. Very dangerous.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    It’s why @lounsbury is not wrong to snidely dismiss these people as Bolsheviks. One could equally reference Jacobins in the French Revolution or Khmer Rouge. It’s the same dynamic needing ever greater purity, drawing the circle ever tighter, denouncing as traitors those who hold what were perfectly orthodox opinions just moments ago.

    I wish Taylor was here because I’m sure there must be a term-of-art in Poli Sci for this downward spiral of extremism.

  28. Tillman says:

    I was going to advise people huffy over Israel in one way or another to buy and play a game called Civilization 5, and then come back and tell me whether we’re counting Israel as another civ here or just a city-state. What’s the importance of the relationship, what kinds of mutual respect should we expect? Is our relationship a robotic, one-sided affair where I maintain our alliance purely so other nations cannot have one with you(city- or client-state), or are we more or less treating each other as equals, which means we secretly hate/envy each other and are in general in competition for hegemony (another civ or ally)?

    Because if it’s supposed to be the latter, the kind of lockstep devotion I see coming from Republicans is not at all appropriate. We should be secretly afraid of Israel in that estimation, and there’s no Republican alive who would admit that the United States is nationally in fear of Israel in some aspect. Also, I’m fairly certain we’ve never negotiated open borders for the Israeli military to use our airspace and seas for military maneuvers without suspicion, but I get the idea we’ve got access to theirs. That should inform your estimation of who is supposed to have the upper hand here.

    I was going to advise playing the game to gain a basic understanding of some geopolitical realities, but then I thought it might be oversimple. It is, after all, a game. Still, the game sides with the client-state idea the most.

    @Ben Wolf: Depends on how often you disagree with it. I have the luxury of not having registered as Democrat, so I can just sit here like an old man in a lawn chair wearing nothing but underwear with a megaphone talking about how much Democrats suck. 🙂

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman:

    Yes, Israel is clearly a client state. It’s just that under Likud they’re ungrateful, arrogant, backstabbing clients. We give them weapons, the benefit of our nuclear umbrella, and cover at the UN. They give us intel to help us cope with the problems that they themselves help to cause.

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    …Don’t support the repeal of PPACA? You’re a socialist (or communist).

    And a fascist. I don’t know how that works, but that’s what they say.

  31. Anonne says:

    It’s partly because of Zionist Christians, but it’s also because of the insane amount of money available from AIPAC. Almost all politicians kiss the AIPAC ring regardless of party.

  32. PJ says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Had a thought this morning. In today’s GOP one is anti-semitic if one does not give unwavering support to Israel. This is the same GOP where a whisper campaign that a candidate for Governor is a Jew leads to the suicide of said candidate, because it was working.

    Excuse me, my brain has whiplash.

    The support is for them over there so that Jesus can come back and kill all of them who refuses to convert to the only true religion.

    Sooner or later these Christian Zionists are going to tire of waiting for Jesus to return and start demanding that American Jews all have to return to Israel so that they can be butchered by Jesus.

  33. James P says:

    Criticism of Israel is hard to take when it is coming from an anti-Semitic community organizer named Hussein. The genesis of Obama’s policies toward Israel is his overt hostility toward both Christians and Jews – that’s why any criticism of Israel by him is totally and completely unacceptable.

    He needs to mind his own damn business. If the Israelis want to build housing settlements in the eastern portion of their capital city it is none of the community organizer’s damn business.

    Outing their nuclear program (officially anyway) was an overtly hostile act.

    All of Judea and Samarra belong to the Jews. Israel could achieve peace if they would just formally annex all of those lands and deport the Bedouin Arabs who named themselves after the Roman province of Palestine to their true homeland — in Jordan.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Nice of this idiot to come along and confirm that the right-wing plan for Israel is to ethnically cleanse the West Bank. Wonder how many people will die in that little Trail of Tears.

    Of course what would follow would be UN sanctions that would economically destroy Israel. Unless the US vetoed those sanctions. But gosh, it’s apparently none of our business, we should just butt out.

    So sure, let’s play out the moron’s advice:

    1) Israel to use military force to uproot men, women and children from their homes and force them across the border.
    2) Israel annexes West Bank.
    3) The UN with European leadership imposes sanctions cutting Israel off from international banking, from air travel, etc…
    4) Israel’s economy is destroyed, weakening its military, which will have a very hard time buying parts and ammo.
    5) Every Israeli with a dual passport leaves the country.

    Genius! Brilliant! A latter-day Bismarck!

  35. James P says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of course what would follow would be UN sanctions that would economically destroy Israel.

    That’s why Israel needs to wait until there is a GOP POTUS. When we have a Republican in the White House the US will veto and any all sanctions on Israel.

    The Jewish people have withstood far worse. They have withstood slavery from the Pharoh, the Babylonian captivity, and the Holocaust. They can survive sanctions from a few anti-Semitic extras from the Star Wars bar scene located at Turtle Bay.

    Whoever is the next POTUS will not be an anti-Semite like BHO therefore he or she would obviously veto any UN sanctions. For this reason, the Israelis should wait to give the interlopers the boot.

    Once they do there will be peace.
    ____________

    Even if the entire world unified against Israel, Israel would still be victorious because God is on Israel’s side. Read Ezekial 38 and 39. We can see the latter day forces of Gog and Magog conspiring against the Jewish people.

    Even at the time of Ezekial it would commonly understood that the forces of Gog were the Persians. I think it is an entirely reasonable interpretation that BH Obama represents Magog – he’s obviously an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people.

    In Ezekial God wipes out the forces of Gog and Magog on behalf of Israel. Each and every single prophecy of the Old Testament has come to fruition so I see no reason why this one would not as well.

    An enemy of Israel is an enemy of God. It is important for the US to be on the right side of God – therefore we must stand with Israel.

  36. DrDaveT says:

    @James P:

    All of Judea and Samarra belong to the Jews. Israel could achieve peace if they would just formally annex all of those lands and deport the Bedouin Arabs who named themselves after the Roman province of Palestine to their true homeland — in Jordan.

    Oh, I get it — it’s just an extension of Republican immigration policy in the US!

    All is now clear…

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @James P:

    The Jewish people have withstood far worse.

    We weren’t talking about the Jewish people; we were talking about the modern-day nation that calls itself “Israel”. That you can’t distinguish the two simply makes the point of all of the commenters you failed to read up above.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @James P:

    It is important for the US to be on the right side of God

    News flash — the God you purport to be talking about has published a manifesto on what behaviors would get you on his right side. They mostly involve feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, comforting the sick, welcoming strangers, and other similar overt rejections of the Republican social platform. It seems more than a bit odd to ignore all of the commandments that He labeled as high-priority, while backing this one to the hilt.

  39. Neil Hudelson says:

    Hey Guys,

    Read James P again. It’s clearly an act. He’s an artful troll who is not worth engaging.

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    In Ezekial God wipes out the forces of Gog and Magog on behalf of Israel. Each and every single prophecy of the Old Testament has come to fruition so I see no reason why this one would not as well.

    Interesting, in real life, God let Hitler annihilate 6 million Jews.

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James P:

    Hi James. We’re still waiting for an explanation of why there is no record of your claimed PhD at the school you claim to have earned it from.

  42. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds: There are other issues with that. At least Jordan(An US ally that has things like an Army with planes) would not want that, and that would be the largest mass displacement of people at least since World War II. That would require an insane logistics, specially because there are more Palestinians in the territories than Israelis.

    But, why are we wasting time with that? This guy can´t be real.

  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    James P says @HarvardLaw92: I love that I live rent free inside your head.

    Now where have I heard that phrase before? Oh yea …

    Here …
    and
    Here …
    and
    Here …
    and
    Here …

    WR was right about you, James P / Jenos / Tsar Nicholas / Who knows what else

    No imagination …

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Could a moderator please release my last comment from the queue please?

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    that would be the largest mass displacement of people at least since World War II.

    Larger than what is happening in Syria now? (2 million and counting)

  46. MarkedMan says:

    Guys, please. James P is for all practical purposes, a classic troll. By that, I mean he is simply saying whatever it takes to get a response. You make a well reasoned argument – he says something so egregiously stupid that you just have to reply. But he is not stupid, or at least not stupid in that way. He feels he has won when he gets you to respond. So please, ignore him. Don’t look up his old posts under different names. Don’t call him an idiot. He wants attention and by replying or acknowledging him in any way you are giving him what he wants.

  47. MarkedMan says:

    BTW, back on topic. The modern Republican party is just bizarre.

  48. Another Mike says:

    @DrDaveT:

    They mostly involve feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, comforting the sick, welcoming strangers, and other similar overt rejections of the Republican social platform.

    Just about every faithful Christian and Jew, and most every decent person, takes those things seriously. It is when the attempt is made to transfer them from an individual responsibility to a governmental responsibility and convert them into law and government policy that we have significant disagreements. There is no moral high ground in the battle. It is just about power and money, and about whom do we take the money from and to whom do we give the money, and what is in it for us. A lot of it is just how do we make ourselves feel good about ourselves.

  49. wr says:

    @Neil Hudelson: “Read James P again. It’s clearly an act. He’s an artful troll who is not worth engaging.”

    Maybe you missed his recent posting at the end of an otherwise dying thread where he told HL92 that he was “living in his head rent free” and then called him “Bucky.”

    The artful troll is getting less artful, as Jenos is now using his favorite taglines across his fleet of sockpuppets.

  50. de stijl says:

    The genesis of Obama’s policies toward Israel is his overt hostility toward both Christians and Jew

    Goysplaining

  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    It’s clearly an act. He’s an artful troll who is not worth engaging.

    Yeah, I get that. In this particular case, though, his trollery was artful enough that it echoed actual people that I’ve met. I thought it was worth posting the rebuttal for the record.

  52. michael reynolds says:

    Yes, he’s a troll, and yes, he’s Jenos, but there’s another audience of lurkers. One can occasionally use a troll to teach – I confess that some part of me is a pedant. Jenos/James for all his imbecility puts forward what is the underlying theory of the right wing on Israel. Probably a quarter or a third of lurkers secretly agree with Jenos’ Nazi approach to the problem of the West Bank, so it was a good opportunity to address that particular fantasy.

    One of the problems of engaging the Right is that the Right conceals its real beliefs, its real desires. One of our two political parties habitually lies about its motivations and intent. Trolls like Jenos spill the beans. Playing troll allows them to broadcast the racism, the homophobia, the sexism, the barely-contained rage that is a product of white panic. It’s the hate-fueled id of the GOP on display.

    So, troll-boy’s child-like thrill at being “included” in the grown-up conversation is my opportunity to nail down what’s going on with these people. “Look at me, I’m an outrageous troll!” To which I respond, “Yes, look at him: this is what conservatives really are.”

    Jenos/James isn’t just pretending to be a creep, he actually is a creep, and he really does represent the vileness at the heart of the modern GOP.

    Normally I ignore Jenos/James because he’s increasingly just a redundant bore. But on this occasion when he blurted out what no good fascist Republican is supposed to blurt out, I thought it was a teachable moment.

  53. de stijl says:

    @Another Mike:

    There is no moral high ground in the battle. It is just about power and money, and about whom do we take the money from and to whom do we give the money

    Jesus disagrees:

    23And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24″Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”…

  54. michael reynolds says:

    Hah. I think DrDave just did the pre-emptive TL;DR to my comment.

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:
    It’s not easy writing as someone else. I’ve done it quite a bit but then unlike Jenos I have at least some talent.

  56. DrDaveT says:

    @Another Mike:

    It is when the attempt is made to transfer them from an individual responsibility to a governmental responsibility and convert them into law and government policy that we have significant disagreements.

    Exactly. And disagreement number one is “on what basis do you pick and choose which commandments the government should ignore and which it is absolutely required to enforce?”. If the US government needs to support Israel because God said so, then surely the US government needs to feed the hungry and comfort the sick — because God said so. You can’t have one without the other.

    Or, more subtly, you can’t have “Well, the most effective long-term way to feed the hungry is to protect business from government interference so that the generated wealth can eventually trickle down to the hungry” without also admitting the possibility that “Israel, right or wrong” is not the most effective policy for protecting the long-term viability of Israel.

  57. Another Mike says:

    @de stijl:

    Jesus disagrees

    If I ever have the opportunity to meet Jesus, I will ask him about how he sees the role of government in implementing his teachings. In the meanwhile we have Rerum Novaram down through Caritas et Veritate in which to look for guidance on government’s role.

    “36. Economic activity cannot solve all social problems through the simple application of commercial logic. This needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility. Therefore, it must be borne in mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.”

    So, this lays out the principle, but we, through our elected representatives, are still left to haggle out the messy particulars. Still there is nothing preventing any of us from carrying out personally what we feel Jesus is telling us to do.

  58. Grumpy Realist says:

    @wr: if James/Jenos/Whoever took the time he spent trolling actually working on a skill, or doing homework, or learning a foreign language he’d be much further ahead in life.

    But he prefers trolling to actually accomplishing something in life.

    And I have taxes to finish–Zya mata, everyone!

  59. DrDaveT says:

    @Another Mike:

    In the meanwhile we have Rerum Novaram down through Caritas et Veritate in which to look for guidance on government’s role.

    I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I feel that the official positions of an immensely wealthy and conservative NGO have no standing in a discussion on the proper role of government with respect to wealth redistribution and social change. A statement that (in effect) trickle-down economics is not enough by itself is the weakest possible position that is not flagrantly incompatible with traditional Christian teachings.

    And, of course, neither of these encyclicals is addressed to governments. Rerum Novaram was addressed to the bishops, while Caritas et Vertate is addressed to individual Christians. If there are papal positions addressed specifically to governments, I don’t know of them.

  60. Another Mike says:

    @DrDaveT:

    And disagreement number one is “on what basis do you pick and choose which commandments the government should ignore and which it is absolutely required to enforce?”.

    Our government operates on the basis of the Constitution and constitutionally established law, not on the basis of what God commands us to do. There is also the concept of the common good that we look to, but there are different conceptions of the common good. There are different interpretations of everything. That’s what makes life so interesting.

  61. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    One of the problems of engaging the Right is that the Right conceals its real beliefs, its real desires. One of our two political parties habitually lies about its motivations and intent. Trolls like Jenos spill the beans. Playing troll allows them to broadcast the racism, the homophobia, the sexism, the barely-contained rage that is a product of white panic. It’s the hate-fueled id of the GOP on display.

    This is why I have a problem with Doug Mataconis, James Joyner and those that consider themselves “moderate Republicans”, this is what they support.

  62. JohnMcC says:

    Do the opinions of someone who cites Ezekiel and claims that the identity of “Gog of Magog” are pertinent to our conduct of foreign policy really interest anyone here? Even if there are plenty of yahoos in the bible belt who attend prophecy conferences and confidently await the eschaton, I really really do not think intelligent, educated people need to address it with a single synaptic event.

    Please! This despicable person is thoroughly discredited. He has lost any argument before he thinks of entering it.

    Stop feeding him.

  63. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: One thing you learn really fast in TV — if you want a second job — is how to write in someone else’s voice and still bring enough of yourself to the table that there’s a reason to keep you around. And working with a partner for a quarter century meant establishing a separate voice for the single writer we were together.

  64. DrDaveT says:

    @Another Mike:

    Our government operates on the basis of the Constitution and constitutionally established law, not on the basis of what God commands us to do.

    Indeed. But as amply documented above, there are many in America — including members of Congress — who haven’t gotten that memo. That’s bad enough. The inability to be consistent in this theocratic urge, or to understand the doctrines of your own religion when deciding which positions the US should adopt, is even worse.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I used to write with my wife. When we started out she was the author of record on everything. Also wrote as Francine Pascal and a few others. I realized a while back that I’ve written more as a woman than as a man. (I may be taking this diversity thing too far.)

    But of course you have to have some command of voice to pull it off. Poor Jenos.

    I am definitely eyeing TV but I find it’s hard to focus on spec work that’s highly unlikely to pay in the end, when a signed manuscript wants attention. We used to have a Labrador Retriever who ate literally anything. Our vet with admirable understatement said, “Yes, he appears to be food motivated.” I appear to be money motivated. But in about three days I’ll get frustrated with the manuscript and finish the script. By this point I know my internal beats. One of the few advantages of advanced age.

  66. de stijl says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    James P says @HarvardLaw92: I love that I live rent free inside your head.

    Now where have I heard that phrase before? Oh yea …

    Here …
    and
    Here …
    and
    Here …
    and
    Here …

    Holy crap! Wow. That was absolutely definitive. Hello, James P! Oops I meant Jenos.

    Jenos, why did you think this particular sockpuppet would help to advance your deal? I really don’t get it. James P was a very efficient persona to convince people NOT to agree with you. Did you really think that a more dogmatic, a more emphatic, a more in-your-face persona would help you “win the blog?”

  67. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:
    Yeah, I agree, it’s hard to swallow. James is an establishment Republican, old-school, sub-category ex-military. I think it’s almost a cultural thing with military guys who, in my experience tend to be open-minded on social issues. I don’t think either James or Doug is fond of folks like Jenos.

  68. Loviatar says:

    I don’t think either James or Doug is fond of folks like Jenos.

    When you support the political Jenos’ of the world with monetary/legal/moral/ethical/intellectual and voter support, you don’t have to be fond of them you’re basically are them. At the end of the day, no matter what your upbringing or personal beliefs/words, your actions are you. Doug and James are Jenos.

    —–

    P.S.

    I am an establishment Democrat, old-school, sub-category ex-military, so I understand the cultural aspect, however thats no excuse for not doing the right thing. James is wrong in his continued support of the Republicans.

    Doug is just a selfish ass.

  69. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: There is – you’re just too stupid to know where to look.

  70. Tillman says:

    @Loviatar: Eh, Doug definitely grew up in different times. Remember that study that said political leanings might be some part genetic? He has related stories before (in my hazy memory anyway) of hearing his father talk about unions in the pejorative. You know, because unions are rotten institutions, men lording over other men and taking away their right to a job without a middleman getting in the way of an employer and a prospective hire. That’s a perfectly honest position to have. Whether it’s a truth in a broad applicable sense is a different contention.

    As long as we’re trash-talking our gracious hosts, there’s also plenty of an admirable territorial strain to sticking with the party. “This is my party,” you say to the crazies, “and you people are shameless cretins with no sense of propriety or responsibility.” Again, honest position to have. Whether a strategy capable of working, eh. I’m a little sad the Tea Party didn’t go for an honest third party bid. For all the insanity, they went the surprisingly sensible route of just derailing one party from within.

  71. James P says:

    @wr: I did not call him Bucky — I called him Sparky.

    Sparky is a term one would use to patronize a small child.

  72. de stijl says:

    I have a brilliant idea. If only there was a more dickish version of me, and who totally agreed with me, and insulted people like me only a bit more dickishly, I’d totally win the blog!

    Jenos, WORST. SOCKPUPPET, EVAR!!11!Eleventy!11!

  73. Tillman says:

    @de stijl: I don’t know what you people expect; stop feeding it.

    You guys keep crossing the streams hoping this’ll end like Gozer the Gozerian and he’ll sockpuppet into something obviously stupid and yet terrifying. What is the endgame here?

  74. Loviatar says:

    @Tillman:

    Eh, Doug definitely grew up in different times. Remember that study that said political leanings might be some part genetic? He has related stories before (in my hazy memory anyway) of hearing his father talk about unions in the pejorative.

    Doug claims to be a Libertarian who doesn’t vote for Democrats and almost exclusively votes Republican for largely spurious reasons. His statements on this site usually boils down to IGMFU, so I don’t think I’m insulting him by pointing out he comes across as a selfish ass. Should I have used a less harsh of a term such as entitled jerk, maybe, but we all have our particular writing style.

    —–

    there’s also plenty of an admirable territorial strain to sticking with the party. “This is my party,” you say to the crazies, “and you people are shameless cretins with no sense of propriety or responsibility.”

    I agree with this position if you show good faith in trying to make changes. However have we seen Doug or James make any attempt other that few easily dismissed words.

    – Have they withheld funding? No.
    – Have they written repeatedly and publicly denouncing the extremist within their party? No.
    – Have they spoken out publicly to their party leaders decrying the extremist direction of the party? No.

    In fact what we’ve seen on this site is either an ignoring of the extremist policies or attempts to defend/excuse the extremist policies of their party. Rarely will there be the occasional mild post decrying the extremist. If that is fighting for your party then they deserved to lose it to the Tea Party extremist.

  75. de stijl says:

    Jenos,

    With your shenanigans, not only have you invalidated all of James P’s silly assertions, but you have fatally tainted all of your previous and future statements as well. Who would trust you to argue in good faith? You’re the G-D embodiment of bad faith – and totally by your own actions.

    Good job!

    There’s a delight in finding out that I’m living, rent-free, in the heads of such people…

    Rent is due, pal.

  76. Surreal American says:

    Feed the trolls, tuppence a bag.
    Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.

  77. de stijl says:

    @Tillman:

    I don’t know what you people expect; stop feeding it.

    I’m looking for the acknowledgement of shame. I seriously doubt I’ll see it, and I don’t expect it, but I’m hoping against hope that I’ll see it anyway. Don’t block me, dude; I want this.

  78. anjin-san says:

    There’s a delight in finding out that I’m living, rent-free, in the heads of such people…

    The sad thing is that this is almost certainly as good as it gets for you.

  79. george says:

    @Another Mike:

    It is when the attempt is made to transfer them from an individual responsibility to a governmental responsibility and convert them into law and government policy that we have significant disagreements.

    So how come it becomes government responsibility to provide physical safety? Seems pretty arbitrary – if you believe what you say, then policing crime and defending borders should likewise be individual responsibilities rather than governmental ones.

    In fact, that’s something I never understood about the whole rugged individual bit – why is it important to be able to look after yourself economically but not physically? That is, why is it wrong for the government to give individuals a hand defending themselves against poverty and disease, but okay for it to give a hand against thieves and other nations? Seems to me a lot of cherry picking about what the government should get involved in.

  80. de stijl says:

    @george:

    So how come it becomes government responsibility to provide physical safety? Seems pretty arbitrary – if you believe what you say, then policing crime and defending borders should likewise be individual responsibilities rather than governmental ones.

    Because when libertarians buy mercenaries they stay bought. If your neighbor offers more to evict you from your property than you are paying them to keep your land safe, they’re still going to honor the initial contract, because contracts are sacred. In Galt’s Gulch, mercenaries never change banners after the contract is signed. The Invisible Hand rules except for when it doesn’t and only when constrained by The Contract. Thus Sayeth Ayn.

  81. An Interested Party says:

    In fact, that’s something I never understood about the whole rugged individual bit – why is it important to be able to look after yourself economically but not physically?

    When this point is made, they usually fall back on the argument about the Constitution guaranteeing the military but not Social Security…

  82. James P says:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Gog-Magog.html

    This is why it is important to support Israel.

    Given that Gog and Magog are mentioned in both the Old (Ezekiel) and New (Revelation) Testaments they hold particular import. Revelations link these Old Testament prophecies to the End Times and underscore the importance of Jewish control of Israel.

    It is particularly important to Christians precisely because of its connection to the Book of Revelation. Support of Israel is imperative to the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelation – that’s why we love Israel.

  83. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Since this troll / Jenos sockpuppet is clearly not inclined to either admit his deception or to do the honorable thing and just leave, I propose that henceforth none of us acknowledge him in any way beyond expressing our derision via the downvote.

  84. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Deception? The only one who lied is you, Sparky. What would you know about honor when you are still maintaining the lie that you told?

  85. Robert C says:

    @Paul Hooson:
    The extremism in the MENA isn’t Shia or Iran, it’s Sunni based and Likud based.

    RC

  86. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think the same treatment should be accorded Jenos.

  87. HarvardLaw92 says:
  88. James P says:

    I thought that Magog was the best comparison to BH Obama’s attempts to harm Israel.

    Others think it is Haman.

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/American-Israeli-Rabbi-compares-Obama-to-Haman-395457

    Either way, I’m hardly the only one who sees B Hussein Obama as an enemy of Israel.

  89. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    I thought that Magog was the best comparison to BH Obama’s attempts to harm Israel.
    Others think it is Haman.

    Still others think it’s Mister Magoo – same difference

  90. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: Correct me if I am wrong, but are you saying there is no difference between Obama and Mr. Magoo?

    If so I agree but somehow I don’t think that is your intended meaning.

  91. S Holmes says:

    @al-Ameda:

    If it’s sheer annoyance you’re after, this should provide far greater satisfaction than anything you can get out of our resident liar. I recommend it as a go-to should you feel any further temptation to lick the lamppost.

  92. the Q says:

    Sorry boys, your criticisms of James and Doug are a little off.

    The modern wingnut GOP version of Tom Cotton and El Cruz make James and Doug look like Ramsey Clark and U Thant by comparison.

    They may not be liberals, but they certainly are not of the crazed batschitt loons all too common in the Republican party.

  93. JohnMcC says:

    @the Q: I dunno. They (he?) sounds an awful lot like Redstate to me.

  94. An Interested Party says:

    They may not be liberals, but they certainly are not of the crazed batschitt loons all too common in the Republican party.

    No, they just enable the loons with their votes…