Photo: AFP
US President Barack Obama will lose power in congress in the last two years of his second term.
Photo: AFP
Yitzhak Benhorin

The day after: Obama will have time for Israel and Iran

Analysis: US president will not try to start a hopeless Israeli-Palestinian process, but after losing Congress and with it chances to pass reforms, he is expected to focus more on foreign relations.

President Obama will escape Washington in a few days to the farthest places from the American capital – China, Burma, and Australia. It was a trip scheduled ahead of time, but the results of the midterm elections prove that the president will not be able to pass meaningful legislation in the US congress in the remaining two years of his presidency, and therefore will now be available to exclusively deal with foreign relations.



This is exactly what Bill Clinton did during the second term of his presidency, after the Democrats lost control in both houses of Congress. He invested hours upon hours in an effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and wasted much money and time on lawyers against a hostile congress that tried to oust him with an impeachment trial.


The Republicans take control of Congress after Tuesday's Midterm Elections in the US. (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
The Republicans take control of Congress after Tuesday's Midterm Elections in the US. (Photo: AP)


It is not guaranteed that Obama will want to intensively involve himself in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when he does not believe he has with whom to work with on both sides. But he will be bogged down by the serious crises in Syria and Iraq, and deal with the Iranian nuclear program, Ukraine, and the outbreak of Ebola.


At home, Obama will try to reach small concessions with the Republicans, but not on major issues such as immigration reform and gun control.


Even Republican control of the Senate will not significantly change the situation after the midterms. During Obama's presidency the Democratic majority was less than 60, which led the Republican minority to take advantage of the filibuster in order to prevent voting on major and marginal issues alike - anything in order to block Obama. This was the public declaration made by minority leader Mitch McConnell at the beginning of Obama's first term, and it is exactly what happened in the preceding six years.


Obama is expected to focus on foreign policy after Republicans take over congress in Midterm Elections. (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
Obama is expected to focus on foreign policy after Republicans take over congress in Midterm Elections. (Photo: AP)


The Democratic minority can now do the same thing – but more easily, so that Washington will continue to wade in the shallow end without solving America's problems. The midterms were in a sense a poll on Obama's performance. It is true he made quite a few mistakes that were not small concerning the Middle East, but on domestic issues he did not deserve the outlash: he did only good for the American economy during his tenure.


Obama entered the White House when America sank into a terrible slump, and under his leadership the US got out of it. It is not really popular to defend this battered President, but he inherited an unemployment rate of almost 10% and lowered it to 5.9%. During 55 consecutive months, there was an increase in jobs in the American private sector. He received a depressed stock market and brought color back to its cheeks. He cut the national deficit by two thirds since he entered the White House, increased the GNP during his term, and a historical healthcare plan was legislated.


But six years is too long of a period for the memory of the American citizens. The simple citizen asks the President, "What have you done for me lately?" Only 36% are satisfied with the state of the economy, and Obama has an extremely low score on the matter. Obama's name did not appear in the voting booth, but the elections were largely a vote of no confidence in the president.


The Republicans placed Obama's name next to every local Democratic candidate, and these same candidates tried to run away from him like fire. Alison Grimes, the Democratic candidate for the Senate that was defeated in conservative Kentucky, refused, for example, to answer a question posed by Mitch McConnell in a debate, on whether she voted for Obama in the elections.


US citizens vote during Midterm Elections on Tuesday. (Photo: EPA) (Photo:EPA)
US citizens vote during Midterm Elections on Tuesday. (Photo: EPA)


The most import thing the midterms proved is that the Democratic Party returned to be the party of the Clintons, and not of current President Barack Obama. Where did Obama visit during the elections? A couple of places in the Northeast and Midwestern United States, areas that have a Democratic majority. Where did Bill Clinton visit? He plowed the length and breadth of America and penetrated conservative regions that Obama did not approach even at the height of his popularity.


Several Democratic candidates begged Bill Clinton to come to their districts. He appeared in TV ads all across America as though he was going to run for the White House in 2016 instead of Hillary, but even he was not able to stem the tide.


Hillary Clinton was more careful and did not want the failure to stick to her. The last thing she needs is for Republicans to say her election would be a third term for Obama.


The fight for the presidency essentially began this morning, and Hillary Clinton's mission will be to distance herself as far away as possible from Barack Obama. The Republicans will try to attach her to the Libya and Benghazi scandal, the chaos in Iraq and Syria and the failed boot of relations with Russia.


פרסום ראשון: 11.06.14, 00:52
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