Camp Victory I: Netanyahu Agenda Hitting On All Cylinders (100 Days – Domestic Analysis, Link Update II)
Those on the far left in Israel and even the far right are spinning their wheels in frustration, pulling their hair out. This past week saw Israel’s left leaning media desperately try to get a meme going. Kadima held an entire press conference to push home the notion that Bibi has accomplished nothing in 100 days, complete with billboards & signs & graphics.. Reaction in Israel? ZzZzZz.
Sure the Somfalvis & the Haaretz cheerleaders, media apologists for Kadima et al want to somehow break the consensus in Israel, unfortunately for them & the opposition Kadima has become totally irrelevant and by extension – So have they which is what I suspect really gets their goad. Frankly, no one here cares what they say right now. Livni’s stock has plummeted lower than GM, it is nearing bankruptcy status. Her double failure getting a coalition in place, added to solid numbers for Netanyahu spell doom soon.
In the next 10 weeks, I expect to see the hammer come out. Our new PM can employ grace and again offer Kadima govt position on his terms and build a Super-Coalition. if Livni chooses to play bitter lemon as she has so far, she does so at her & Kadima’s peril. There is no doubt that Livni is currently a bitter bitter lady. Either way Bibi is sitting pretty for the time being.
The silence is deafening..
Internally, Kadima members are feeling the heat of the cold dark winter of opposition. They also played very very dirty of late. Quietly and not so quietly pushing an agenda with American Jewish influential players and even I suspect the WH itself. The effort? To isolate Netanyahu by creating schism between the US Administration & Israel and push forth the notion that Livni would have been better, one suspects because she is a serial caver to pressure. The goal seems to have been drum up bad PR, and pressure the coalition. This has not only failed but backfired. Netanyahu’s policy speech on peace was warmly received by a wide majority of Israel across the electorate. His lines in the sand vs Obama and the Arab demands only rallying the Israeli public to his side contrary to the pundits predictions.
Bibi has masterfully seized the right & the left’s agenda and left very little playing field for the hard left or the right for that matter. From what I can tell the far far right’s hilltop threats are probably best reserved for a later date, the outrage over Bibi’s embrace of principles considered poisonous failed to materialize even within Likud itself and fizzled. This is not a replay of the Sharon split which caused Kadima to form a few years ago. To Quote Elmer Fudd, now is a good time to be vewy vewy quiet..
Fruits & Vegetables
The controversial VAT move to tax fruits & veggies going forward was a mistake. I’m a fiscal conservative but even I did not support this move. The crutch that initiatives will harm weaker segments of society is played often in Israeli politics and is convenient for parties like Shas & Labor to employ, usually quite cynically. But this is one rare exception where the notion is based on real truths. As such, the flip flop by Netanyahu should have been painful, instead I suspect most voters share my own views on the matter..
This flop was a good call, thanks for listening. I view this as a positive not a negative and I suspect many agree. I don’t want to harm large religious families, this is not the way to raise funds for the budget. Find another way, push the water waste tax and make frivolous consumers of our drought pay through the nose instead. Eli Yshai will have a tough sell claiming wasting water is good for poor people, rich people or any peoples for that matter..
This in my opinion is another example of Netanyahu seizing the ball and playing on other people’s fields, stealing both their agenda and thunder for his own use. It is being interpreted opposite by anti bibi forces who are trying to make hay, but give it some time and no one will remember the timelines only the final decision.. One that has mass public support.
Incidentally, as a voter I ask please do not cave on other budget items. There is enough slack to smack the coalition into place and restore Finance Minister Steinitz to a position of full respect. Equally one must add that while the planet continues to mire deeply in economic crisis, we have a functional budget. Yes there are shortfalls in tax revenues, yes there will be a deficit. But compared to some of our friends we have taken a responsible fiscal line overall. This may not look like an achievement to Kadima, but it in actuality it is the number one domestic need right now and it is on track.
There have also been reforms in banking, and more solidly in the Israel land authority. The plan is to make housing more affordable and capitalize on State lands while boosting the economy from the resulting activity. It’s a good plan, let’s see how it plays out. There are also tax cuts coming in the 2010 fiscal year, modest ones but we are in a recession so anything deeper will only raise debt. One hopes that the responsible fiscal policies will continue and Israel will be in a position to slingshot out of the global recession, cut taxes even further and spur employment.
It is not all rainbows & unicorns. I want to see the PM move on water, & power. We have an agreement with the main labor group but the electric authority and the water authorities need to be vastly improved. Kadima has left us a legacy of failures. These unions are sucking the economy down and productivity is too low. We have dangerously low margins for both juice and drink. Relevant authorities should be held accountable. I hope to see these difficult issues tackled by the government in the coming year. The now estimated appx 40 billion dollar Natural Gas finds off the Haifa coasts will certainly assist, we should invest now statewide and not allow the current corrupt inept authorities global oversight of these new rich resources.. But these are topics beyond 100 days.
So far, domestically Israel is on track and the opposition knows it all too well. Bibi is hitting the right notes, has popular support and can step it up even further. It is a stark contrast to the stagnation we have experienced the last 2 years under Kadima leadership.
Link Update: Stop the presses..
Gideon Levy & I finally agree on something after 3 years. The Apocalypse is near.
When the most ultra left wing Haaretz opinion columnist on Earth agrees with the general consensus of your analysis regarding Kadima, (albeit for diametric reasons) you know you have struck gold..
Kadima has nothing to offer. It’s doubtful this refugee party ever had anything genuine to offer except Ariel Sharon, but in opposition versus Netanyahu it seems to have lost both its way and voice.
We should probably stop agreeing Gideon, you may force me to to do a little dance in my underwear soon ; )
The far left, and far right really are pulling their hair out. It’s probably one of the bigger achievements we’ve seen in the first 100 days. Bibi is a masterful political operator. He has pulled the rug out from under Livni, and if Mofaz is smart he will make his move to push for coalition. If Netanyahu is equally smart and he is, I expect it in the next 10-12 weeks as posted above.
Resistance is futile..
Should Kadima resist.. We may see it fracture with Mofaz leaving. The challenge for Bibi is mustering some portfolios for the senior defense Kadima man. The best case scenario for Netanyahu is such a fracture, for now he is surely content to allow Livni to wallow in obscurity otherwise, as the coalition play would be a pressure gambit only. Should he succeed in splitting Kadima (no small feat), the ground is clear for an opposition-less path for years ahead & a Likud power reign of the right.
Once again, Bibi grabs the ball and leaves little playing room on the field – By calling out Abbas to meet for peace talks, whom is refusing. You gotta love this guy – ‘Never say Never’ Netanyahu can QB with the best of ‘em.
The second part, Camp Victory II is up..
Camp Victory II: Netanyahu Agenda Faces Unfriendly American President (100 Days – FP Analysis)
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