“It’s so important to get a deal,” a White House official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid about strategy. “He will do almost anything it takes to get one.”The question is, just how far does this desperation go?
Obama has a conference with Netanayahu and Abbas coming up--a conference that Obama has taken upon himself to lead. If Obama is determined to avoid political embarrassment on his domestic policy, will he similarly do anything to get talks going on the Israel-Palestinian issue?
Of course, normally Obama would have the out that there have been plenty of failures by past US presidents when it comes to the Middle East--but Obama making a point of getting personally involved. A failure would sting a bit more personally and would reflect a bit more negatively on his presidency as a whole.
If Obama is willing to "do almost anything" to get a win here, he is going to work the angle that seems most promising.
And that means more pressure on Israel.
UPDATE: Byron York writes:
Public approval of Obama's foreign policy plummetsKind of makes Obama's decision to personally oversee the conference look like more of a gamble than a plan.
...Couple those results with Obama's already-anemic numbers on domestic policy issues -- in the CNN poll, he is below 50 percent approval on the economy, health care, taxes, the deficit, and Medicare -- and this has been a summer of extraordinary decline for a president whose overall approval rating once hovered near 70 percent.
UPDATE II: Jennifer Rubin writes that the right attitude to take in reaction to Obama's drop in the polls is
not to count Obama out, at least not now. A lot of people made that mistake about conservatives, who were declared to be in permanent exile after the 2008 election. (Once again, we relearn the lesson that the key to politics is waiting for the other guys to mess up, overreach, and self-destruct.) The aura may be gone, but Obama still has many assets at his disposal, including huge majorities in the House and Senate. Let’s see what he can do with them now that the magic is gone.Not that we have a choice...
[Hat tip: Jennifer Rubin]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad