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Earthquake in Massachusetts

Scott Brown’s victory, in the race for the Massachusetts Senate seat, constitutes an unprecedented earthquake in US politics. If a Massachusetts Senate seat is not safe, then no House, Senate or White House seat is safe anymore!

 

Scott Brown’s victory dealt a severe blow to the Democratic Party in its own Flag Ship, Massachusetts, the state of the Kennedy family and Tip O’Neil, the state which introduced the health care reform, the only state which voted for McGovern in 1972, the state which had not elected a Republican Senator since Ed Brooke in 1972, the state which accorded President Obama a 26% margin in 2008, a state where only 12% of the registered voters are Republicans.

 

Brown’s election highlights a victory of the unique US democracy, which evolves around constituents and not around the President, Congress or political parties. Massachusetts voters supported Brown in defiance of the Republican machine, which did not consider him a worthy candidate at the beginning of the race, and in defiance of the Democratic machine, which attempted to discredit him.

 

Brown’s victory is an indicator of Obama’s desertion by Independents, who represent 51% of the Massachusetts electorate and 33% of US voters. From a 31% deficit 45 days ago, Brown surged ahead by 4% due to the Independent bloc, which voted Obama in 2008, was frustrated by Obama’s performance in 2009 and considers Scott Brown an effective venue to send a loud warning to the White House.

 

Brown’s victory will cause after-shocks throughout the USA in general and in the White House, 100 Senate offices and 435 House offices in particular. The victory has adrenalized Republicans, ahead of the spring 2010 primaries and the November 2010 congressional and gubernatorial election. It entices better candidates to enter the Republican primaries and generates more campaign contributions to Republican war chests. On the other hand, it is already causing sleepless nights for Democratic incumbents and increases the potential for retirement and possible switchovers among moderate and conservative Democrats. The closer they get to November, the closer they get to their constituents, and therefore the farther away they may want to get from the President.

 

Brown’s victory – on the day of Obama’s first Presidential anniversary – confirms that the November 2009 election was indeed a validation of Obama’s collapse in public opinion, of the growing public disappointment in Obama’s character and capabilities and of Obama’s increasing vulnerability at home and abroad. Brown targeted for criticism Obama’s domestic and international policies. The Senator-elect represents the majority of the US public, which suspects – rightly or wrongly – that Obama is about to defy an American ethos by increasing taxes, exacerbating the budget deficit and expanding government involvement in the economy. Brown has also criticized the White House soft position on Islamic terrorism and harsh attitude toward the CIA: “The President should bolster the armed forces and not bolster legal defense of terrorists.”

 

Brown’s victory was achieved in spite of – and due to – the intense involvement of White House Chief-of-Staff, Rahm Emanuel, in Obama’s policy-making and in the Massachusetts election. Once again, it was evident that – in the US political arena – arrogance, rudeness, scorn and aggression drive voters away from elected officials. It constitutes a lethal boomerang.

 

Brown’s election represents the victory of mainstream America’s worldview over the worldview of President Obama. Brown represents non-apologetic patriotism, belief in liberty for the people and checks and balances for the government, Judeo-Christian values, pride in the moral, military, technological and economic US exceptionalism, reservations about the UN and the European state-of-mind, determination to defeat – and not to engage – rogue regimes, supporting mutually-beneficial cooperation with allies, which are bonded by shared values, mutual threats and joint interests.




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Congress – the co-equal and systematic ally of Israel

Presidents propose and Congress disposes

On September 23, 2021, the US House of Representatives voted 420:9 to replenish the Israeli-developed defensive “Iron Dome” missiles, which are increasingly manufactured – and eventually exported – by the US defense company Raytheon, that benefits from the battle-tested “Israeli laboratory.”

The overwhelming vote reflects Congressional realization that the “Iron Dome”:

*Enhances Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is critical to the survival of all pro-US Arab regimes and minimization of regional instability;
*Reduces the need for full-scale Israeli wars on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism;
*Provides an alternative to Israeli military ground-operations against Palestinian terrorists, which would entail substantial Israeli and Palestinian fatalities;
*Represents joint US-Israel interests, militarily and technologically, in the face of mutual threats (e.g., Islamic terrorism) and mutual challenges (e.g., developing world-class, game-changing technologies).

*Constitutes another example of the systematic support by Congress of enhanced US-Israel cooperation.

The decisive role played by Congress in the replenishment of the “Iron Dome” underscores the cardinal rule of the US political system: The President proposes, but Congress disposes.

The involvement of Senators and House Representatives in foreign policy and national security-related issues has surged since the Vietnam War, Watergate and Iran Gate scandals, the dismantling of the USSR (which transformed the world from a bi-polar to a multi-polar) and rapidly-expanding globalization.

In fact, former Secretary of State, Jim Baker, complained about the growing congressional assertiveness in the area of foreign policy: “You can’t conduct foreign policy with 535 Secretaries of State….”  Former Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, criticized Congress for micromanaging the defense budget: dictating how much to spend on particular weapons, imposing detailed requirements and programmatic restrictions, venturing into policy-setting and requesting that the Department of Defense submits mountains of reports.

Congressional muscles 

The US Congress is the most powerful legislature in the world, and it has demonstrated its co-equal, co-determining muscle in the areas of foreign and defense policies on many occasions, such as:

*Imposing sanctions against foreign countries in defiance of Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump (e.g., Egypt – 2012, Iran – 1996-97 and 2013, Russia – 2017);
*Non-ratification of the 2015 JCPOA, which enabled withdrawal by the US;
*The 2009 non-closure of the Guantanamo Detention Camp was led by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (NV-D), in defiance of President Obama.
*The 2009 non-confirmation of Charles Freeman to the Director of National Intelligence was led by Senator Chuck Schumer (NY-D);
*The 1999 non-ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in defiance of President Clinton and the international community;
*The unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation took place despite stiff opposition by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker;
*The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act overrode President Reagan’s veto;
*The 1984 Boland Amendment aborted President Reagan’s financial and military aid to anti-Communist elements in Nicaragua;
*The 1983 blocking of President Reagan’s attempted coup against the Surinam pro-Soviet regime;
*The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act mandated congressional authorization of surveillance of persons and organizations, which may threaten national security;
*The 1975/76 Tunney (CA-D) and Clark Amendments stopped financial and military covert support of the opposition to the pro-Soviet regime in Angola;
*The 1973 Church-Case Amendment ended funding of military involvement in Southeast Asia;
*The 1973 War Powers Act overrode President Nixon’s veto;
*The Jackson-Vanik Amendment preconditioned aid to Moscow upon free immigration.

Congress empowered by the Constitution

As documented in the aforementioned paragraphs, one is advised to note that while Congress is preoccupied with District and State issues, it has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies.

The US Constitution aspires for a limited government and a non-monarchical president, and therefore does not limit Congress to overseeing the budget. It provides the Senate and the House of Representatives with the power to act on strategic issues and policy-setting.

The Constitution accords Congress ”the power of the purse,” oversight of government operations, ratification of treaties, confirmation of key appointments, declaration of war, funding of military operations and cooperation with foreign entities, creation and elimination of government agencies, imposing sanctions on foreign governments, etc.

In other words, the President is the “commander in-chief” within constraints, which are set by Congress.




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