Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bittová right

I didn't really have anything I wanted to post except I had to get up a performance by the extraordinary Czech violinist and singer  Iva Bittová before I lost her again in my memory hole. See below.

It's every time that Obama puts on a tux and does some standup, you know, it's like a sign that something's underfoot. Immediately after last year's WHC dinner, the killing of Osama bin Laden (on which coincidence this was a kind of great column); then after this year's, the signing of an agreement with President Karzai in Kabul. The Times is kvetching that Obama's speech for the occasion was "short on specifics" for how he planned to accomplish something that—as you'd think even they might have realized at this point—is just not likely to happen.

I expect Republicans to attack him on the basis that he only does it because he's oversensitive to criticism. "If somebody made fun of me for going on the Jimmy Fallon show would I just turn around and do something crazy like setting up the end of the Afghan War? Of course not!  But that Obama just can't stand being second-guessed about anything!"

While from the Jerusalem office of the permanent campaign, the Times's Jodi Rudoren, writing less than penetrably a couple of days ago:
At the same time, there is a growing sense that Israeli elections will be called this fall rather than next year. And while Mr. Netanyahu’s popularity remains all but impenetrable, coalition politics means a robust campaign filled with charged language nonetheless.
I think she meant you can't poke holes in the popularity, not that you can't understand its causes and mechanisms. But then again,  in the followup Tuesday, she added that most Israelis reject the prospect of an independent strike against Iran, but they love Netanyahu anyway:
“Israelis like the hawkish rhetoric,” said Mina Zemach, director of the Dahaf Polling Institute. “Netanyahu is very strong now. What the public hopes is that Netanyahu prepares us just in case, if no one will stop Iran, then we have to attack.”
So it's impenetrable in that sense after all. "I'm not voting for some clown who's only as crazy as I am, it has to be somebody considerably crazier than that!"

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