As with any election, some people are pleased with the results of Tuesday’s vote, while others are bitterly disappointed. For lovers of our republic, supporters of Israel, and those deeply concerned about Iran, however, the shift to a Republican majority is welcome news.
First and foremost, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives means the balance of power will be restored. The U.S. political system is based on a separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and for good reason. If the past two years have taught us anything it is that domination by one political party is bad for the country.
President Obama came into office with big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. He proceeded to drive staunchly left-wing policy initiatives such as his health reform, cap-and-trade, card check, government-domination of the housing and auto industries, along with miserable economic policies like the pork-laden stimulus. The country recoiled and has now forced a more balanced political alignment. Maybe now we can get to some real bipartisanship to which President Obama used to pay so much lip service.
Another piece of good news about a Republican majority in the House is relations with Israel. It is no secret that many Jews have been dismayed at the tough-love treatment Israel has received at the hands of the Obama administration, but with a new more pro-Israel Congress, that sort of beat-your-friends-and-hug-your-enemies diplomacy will be harder to sustain. As JTA national correspondent Ron Kampeas notes, “an adversarial Congress may force the White House to tamp down public criticism of Israel ahead of 2012 presidential elections.” Amen to that outcome.
A Republican majority in the House also means that new faces will take over the reins of all the various committees and Israel has no greater friend in Congress than the
Cuban-born Floridian Congresswoman who is set to become chair of foreign relations, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Just listen to Ros-Lehtinen’s remarks when announcing her proposed bipartisan resolution reaffirming U.S. support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State: “Israel’s status as a Jewish state is non-negotiable. Make no mistake: When Palestinian leaders refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, they refuse to make a true and lasting peace.”
Ros-Lehtinen’s resolution also demands the Palestinian leadership recognize that right. There will be a great possibility that such resolutions will get passed when Republicans are the majority party.
The new majority in Congress can also help the President with the United Nations. Specifically, the new, more hawkish Congress can urge Obama, though resolutions and hearings, to declare as soon as possible that the United States will have no part in the planned gathering in New York next September to
celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Durban Conference, the gathering on racism that singled-out Israel as “racist” and criticized not one other country on the planet for a similar offense.
The final reason to cheer for the Republican ascendancy is Iran policy. President Obama deserves credit for shifting gears from an all-carrot-no-stick approach to new sanctions, which have proven marginally more effective. Obama also deserves praise for his decision to sell $60 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Clearly the Saudis are scared of the mullahs’ quest for nukes and Israel’s silence on the deal means they are likely in agreement. Now come January, when the new Congress is sworn in representatives who are deeply concerned about Iran, whether Democrats or Republicans can work together to stiffen President Obama’s spine in the coming months as the United States finally leads the charge to stop the Iranians from getting the bomb.
(Abby Wisse Schachter blogs for the New York Post at www.nypost.- com/blogs/capitol. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)