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The poor ain't so bad

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday March 14, 2007 11:13 AM

Remember Mel Brooks as Louis XVI in History Of The World, Part I?

[Rimbaud's father has been thrown in prison for making an offhand remark at a party]
King Louis XVI: What did he say?
Mademoiselle Rimbaud: He said, "the poor ain't so bad."
King Louis XVI: [shocked] What a thing to say! "The poor ain't so bad!" Huh, you're lucky he's still alive!

Barack Obama encountered just such a Brooksian reception at AIPAC, according to the Times:

Less experienced than Mrs. Clinton in the thicket of Jewish and Middle Eastern politics, he became a bit tangled in the eyes of some.... Several... conferencegoers said they were concerned by Mr. Obama’s remark Sunday in Iowa where, in a reference to the Middle East, he said, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”

.... Mr. Obama has said in the past that both Israelis and Palestinians had “suffered” because of the lack of a peace agreement, and a spokesman said on Tuesday that Mr. Obama believed “the security of Israel should be America’s starting point in the Middle East.” Yet by singling out Palestinian suffering on Sunday, Mr. Obama could be tempting fate....

“Awarding first place in the suffering matrix is odious and infelicitous,” said Rabbi Steven Silver... “I think a lot of Americans would find that comment offensive, too.”

The extravagant hair-tearing rhetoric of Israel fans is a never-failing source of delight -- not just odious, but infelicitous! Perhaps Rabbi Silver is a descendant of Dogberry*?

If so, his son appears to have missed the hysteron-proteron gene. At least as quoted by the Times, Silver fils' comments are a bit more coherent and composed:

Mr. Silver’s son, Jesse, a college student who supports Mrs. Clinton, said he was spreading the word at the conference about Mr. Obama’s remark.

“It’s just clumsy of him to say that on the eve of the Aipac conference,” Jesse Silver said. “His inexperience is showing.”

"Inexperience," it seems, is the official line here, articulated by young Jesse Silver and duly echoed by the Newspaper of Record. Personally, I wonder. If my esteemed colleague Mr Owen Paine is correct and Obama has already got the nomination sewn up, maybe he has concluded that he doesn't need to pander to AIPAC at quite the historically mandated level. Is this another straw in the wind? Has the Lobby peaked?

*"Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false knaves; and it will go near to be thought so shortly."

Comments (1)


"Has the Lobby peaked?"

Nope. The House Dem leadership just withdrew an amendment to the military appropriations bill forbidding Bush to attack Iran without Congressional authorization. The excuse was that Bush would be helpless to use the threat of force against Iran unless he was allowed to do it without Congressional approval.

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