A Leaderless Party Looks Backward

The good news for Democrats is that over the next four years two of the country’s most popular people may be waiting in the wings to speak out against Donald Trump. The bad news is that the pair in question is Barack and Michelle Obama. Though their party may look upon them as possessing the unique stature and personal approval ratings to challenge the new president, the Obamas would prefer to get out of the spotlight after eight years of living in the national goldfish bowl on Pennsylvania Avenue. They also understand the perils of expending their political capital in fighting unequal battles against the man who will possess the power they’re about to give up. But the speculation about what role the first couple will play in the effort to take on Trump illustrates not only their dilemma but also the Democrats’ plight as a leaderless party with no national standard-bearers except for the Obamas.

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A Leaderless Party Looks Backward

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Iran’s Immoderate ‘Moderate’

Rouhani was never a reformer.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has now been in office for more than four years. Yet he hasn’t fulfilled any of the major domestic-reform pledges that got him elected in 2013 and re-elected earlier this year. Those pledges won him the decisive backing of urban, secular-minded, middle class Iranians–and plaudits in the West. Yet Iranians are no more free than they were four years ago, and the Islamic Republic is still the same security state that it was then.

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All Come Tumbling Down

Roy Moore, Al Franken, and taxes

audio: https://soundcloud.com/commentarymagazine/all_come_tumbling_down

In the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week, the crew (Noah’s still on vacation) makes sense of the continued allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore, the new allegation against Senator Al Franken, the reemerging allegations against Bill Clinton, and the whole state of our post-Weinstein culture. We also reflect on the Republican tax-cut push and what its success would mean for Donald Trump. Give a listen.

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A Leftist Crank on Fox News

Tucker Carlson fetes an Israel-hater.

Strange ideological changes are afoot over at the Fox News Channel. The latest sign came Tuesday, with a Max Blumenthal appearance during prime time.

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U.S. Jews and Israel’s Right to Be Heard

What’s so threatening about mainstream Israeli opinion?

The growing divide between Israeli and American Jews was a major topic of conversation at this week’s annual meeting of the Jewish Federations of North America. It was also the topic of a lengthy feature in Haaretz, which largely blamed the Israeli government. Inter alia, it quoted former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro as saying, in reference to that majority of American Jews who identify as non-Orthodox and politically liberal, “There is an idea that has some currency in certain circles around the Israeli government that says, ‘You know what, we can write off that segment of American Jewry because in a couple of generations their children or grandchildren will assimilate.’”

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The Red Cross Destroys the Laws of War

Making War More Deadly

The International Committee of the Red Cross, self-appointed guardian of the laws of war, has embarked on an exciting new online project: destroying the very laws it ostensibly seeks to protect. Of course, the ICRC would put it differently; it would say it’s teaching the laws of war. The problem is that the “laws” it teaches aren’t the actual laws of war, as codified in international treaties, but a made-up version that effectively denies countries any right of self-defense against enemies that fight from positions inside civilian populations. And it is thereby teaching anyone unwilling to concede the right of self-defense that the laws of war should simply be ignored.

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