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The 2014 Six-Year-Itch Election

President Obama’s maneuverability, domestically and internationally, will depend on the outcome of the very critical November, 2014 six-year- itch election campaign, which is already underway.

The outcome of Obama’s second midterm election – which clipped the wings of many second term presidents – will determine his capability to become a transformational president. It will either coalesce House and Senate Democrats around him, or will doom him to a lame duck presidency, transferring top Senate leadership positions and all committee and subcommittee chairmanships to the GOP.

Success in a six-year-itch election is critical at a time when the President and his own party’s legislators are naturally growing apart. The President will never again have to face “We will remember in November,” while all the legislators will be on future ballots, facing the consequences of their actions and the wrath or gratitude of their constituents.

Obama’s challenge is to sustain the vulnerable Senate Democratic majority and defy the odds by regaining the House majority. In order to meet that challenge, the President will have to focus on critical domestic priorities such as a budget, unemployment, debt ceiling, immigration reforms, gun control, healthcare, Supreme Court appointments, energy and climate/environment. He will attempt to galvanize support for his priorities among constituents and their representatives, who have systematically demonstrated robust support of Israel.

Exerting pressure on Israel and facing a defiant Israeli Prime Minister would undermine – not galvanize – public and Congressional support of Obama. In fact, unwavering support of the Jewish State – across partisan and denominational lines – has been one of the very few remaining common denominators between Democrats and Republicans on a highly polarized Capitol Hill.

Midterm elections in general and six-year-itch elections in particular, are troublesome for second term presidents, primarily in the Senate. The party of almost every second term president in recent history sustained large losses during the six year itch election

According to Nate Silver , who precisely predicted the Presidential winner in all 50 states and in 31, out of the 33, Senate races in 2012: “A race-by-race analysis of the Senate suggests that Republicans might now be close to winning control of the chamber. Our best guess, after assigning probabilities of the likelihood of a GOP pickup in each state, is that Republicans will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 Senate seats after 2014, putting them right on the threshold of a majority.” In 2008, Silver accurately predicted all 35 Senate races (NY Times, July 15, 2013).

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball points out that “In 17 post-World War II midterm elections [from Truman’s 1946 to Obama’s 2010] the average loss [for the incumbent president’s party] is about 27 House seats, four Senate seats and four governorships.

Second term Presidents FDR, Eisenhower, Johnson and Ford (who completed Nixon’s second term) suffered the worst – highly non typical – losses: an average of seven Senate seats and 53 House seats.

Charlie Cook maintains that “in the second-term, midterm election – the party holding the White House has lost a significant number of seats in the House, Senate, or both, to the tune of five of six times since World War II. In the House, the average loss has been 29 seats and in the Senate six seats. The lone exception was 1998, when Republicans suffered a backlash against their efforts to impeach and remove President Clinton from office, breaking the pattern with a five-seat GOP loss in the House and a wash in the Senate.”


Mathematically, the 2014 election bodes well for Republicans, featuring 21 Democratic and only 14 Republican Senate seats, with five Democratic and only two Republican senators retiring. The GOP hope for a net gain of six seats to regain a Senate majority is based on the open (currently Democratic) seats in the Red states of Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, on vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and Alaska (Obama lost all four in 2012), and the retirement of Democratic incumbents from the currently Purple states of Michigan and Iowa.

Obama’s plunging approval rating – 41%, the lowest since December, 2011 – bolsters Republican hopes. Historically, presidents with approval ratings in the 40s have suffered significant blows during midterm, and especially itch-year, elections. A persistent decline in Obama’s popularity could produce a macro (nationalized) rather than a micro (localized) election, highlighting Obama’s record rather than that of the legislators. President Clinton boasted a 63% approval rating in October 1998, which paved the road to the Democratic House gain.

However, Democrats count on the recent Blue trend among minorities, women and younger voters and Republican vulnerability in Georgia and Kentucky. Mostly, they count on a repeat of the 2010 and 2012 Republican failures to avoid primary victories by unelectable Senate candidates – such as Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Indiana’s Richard Mourdock and Missouri’s Todd Akin – which snatched Republican defeat from the jaws of easy victory.

Will Obama join Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon/Ford, Reagan and G.W. Bush who all suffered setback in their six-year-itch elections? Or, will Obama join Clinton, the only president since World War II whose party gained seats in the House and sustained its Senate seats?


The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb

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.


The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb