The Cycle | February 06, 2013
>>> the senate armed services committee can vote as early easy tomorrow on the confirmation of chuck hagel for secretary. if he makes it through and he probably will, it's on to a full senate vote. about a dozen senators are expected to vote no in large part because of past statements with israel , iran and nuclear weapons . president obama is planning a trip to the region in april. that is billed as a way to repair a strained relationship who himself just won reelection in a bruising campaign. sounds familiar there. actually the domestic political situation in israel is fascinating. as i indicated, netanyahu won the most seats, 31 in the past election. it was many fewer than what was expected. it was a surprising surge from a new party headed by a man who is called the oprah of israel . a pinterest party. now the question for netanyahu informing his coalition government . will he partner with the far right as he has in the past or try to person with the new centrist and form a new coalition and move to the left and make concessions as part of that. some of the concessions he would likely have to make is to restart the peace process . he has to present his new government on march 16th . that is the timeline for that happening. it could impact the situation and what the president's visit could accomplish.
>> an interesting side note, the israeli oprah, he won his election not by doing the traditional pushes for foreign policy reform that one usually does in israel . he really won on domestic issues like lowering taxes and affordable housing and all that kind of stuff. an interesting thing to watch. i think the israel trip for the president accomplishes a couple of things. one, the announcement boosts the chuck hagel nomination. it's saying i'm going there. i know i didn't make it to israel in my first four years of office, but i'm going. if you are reading into this nomination, don't. it rubber stamps john kerry as secretary of state. john kerry wants to make the israeli and little east process a big part of his agenda. obama 's way of saying i'm taking that message and just nominated this guy and i am taking john kerry with me in spirit. for us in terms of policy, it probably has less to do with israel and the palestinians and more to do on our end with syria, egypt, iran and seeing what we can flush out in terms of three different theaters. there is a lot on. agenda and does a lot of things.
>> my read on the rational behind obama going-over there, i read it more as a triumphant move.
>> a victory lap?
>> if you look how netanyahu expected the last few months to play out here in the united states and in israel , it went the opposite of what he was thinking. a year ago he was really missing no opportunity to sort of try to turn the heat up on obama and american domestic politics. he believed obama was going to lose reelection. they were telling him the right was being told over here. he say no termer. he can never get reelected and soon you will have a president that is your kind of president. someone who said what you want, you will get. the message he was getting. chuck schumer called him at the height of the campaign and said obama is going to win and the u.s. starts to adjust for that. between him winning a race that netanyahu never thought he was going to win and missing no opportunity and netanyahu himself ending up in sort of a messy situation, i think that's interesting and it's an interesting context to the visit.
>> mitt romney promised he would make israel his first.
>> his first. i want to quickly mention and talk about the hagel confirmation hearings, i'm interested to watch, he will make it through the committee and get confirmed, but how many republicans are going to vote for him? right now only two of 45 are on the record saying they are yes votes. probably about 20 have not said anything. my concern was we know there is not going to be a filibuster. mccain and a few others said no filibuster. that's healthy for the process, but this normalizes bad ap sigz party behavior. if they they treat this as a party line vote, they vote no. i don't want cabinet members to be party line votes. the white house 's party controls the senate and what about the situation where the white house does not control the senate? if these are normalized as party line votes, it's a bad precedence and important for the system if hagel doesn't pick up at least a handful of votes.
>> one of the things you noticed about the hagel nomination, this attempt to enforce this dogmatic vision of this is how we help israel and if you are not talking about that, you are anti-semitic and i don't think that's fair or appropriate. there many ways to help israel and i think everybody in the process of america wants to help israel and perhaps talking to iran and hezbollah and talking to enemies and putting them in line can help israel and the idea that there is only one way to help and shun iran and shun hezbollah is not only way.
>> you sound like chuck hagel .
>> interestingly, the israel group and others who were thinking of opposing the nomination ultimately decided to just say nothing and stay out of it. that was part of a piece of being able to move forward and his likely confirmation.