Lots of heated rhetoric going around as the primary election in Illinois is fast approaching, the nation is preparing for Super-Duper Tuesday, and the world is waiting to see what direction our country is going in. Everyone involved in politics is doing their level best to paint their opponents as the devil, and their guy (or gal) as a saviour. And there's plenty of flak to go around on both sides of the aisle, and at every level- national, state and local.
On the national level, probably the big story of this news cycle (which nowadays lasts about 15 hours, if that) that has a 10th District tie-in, is that President Bush is moving forward with a massive arms package to Saudi Arabia and other allies, including the supply of JDAMs, or "smart bombs." Congressman Mark Kirk has been a critic of this move, mainly due to what he sees as a lack of safeguards that such advanced weapons will not somehow fall into the hands of Israel's enemies somewhere down the line. Read about the issue here.
Kirk has stated that he opposes the proposal in its present form. "The administration must guarantee to Congress' satisfaction that selling JDAMs to Saudi Arabia will not harm U.S. forces or our democratic ally Israel," he told the Associated Press. "At this time, I do not have enough information to support the sale." Read more here.
Dan Seals, who has many times stated that he is a strong friend of Israel, doesn't seem to have a position up on his website, or a press release, or anything approaching an actual viewpoint. He may be still be celebrating his victory over Jay Footlik at Ellen Beth Gill's house.
Israel, as everyone knows, is not only concerned about this, they continue to be very concerned over Iran's nuclear program, even though the uber-liberals in this country are doing their very best to treat the NIE report as a magic bullet that assures them that everything is A-OK over with the jolly mullahs and their nutzo president. While I used to think that Israel would go it alone against Iran to prevent their nuclear program from threatening Israel, here's a sobering report that seems to indicate that Israel's military is not capable of doing the job without help.
I don't claim to understand everything about how American Jews look at the Israel security issue, but from what I can pick up on the blogs, there are those that are extremely concerned about Israel's security from foreign aggressors, and another group that criticizes these folks as "one-issue" Jews, since the pro-security group tends to vote for the likes of Mark Kirk. They seem to feel betrayed that the security-oriented group doesn't vote for traditional Dem platform ideas like universal healthcare, and instead are more concerned that Israel doesn't get blown off the map.
Some are mad that Jay Footlik is running against Seals, as Footlik's hawkish Israel stance tends to make Seals look weak on Israel by comparison--after all, Seals needs to pander to the 10th Dist. peacenik crowd at the risk of losing his base.
I think that if Seals does win the primary, he will suffer immensely against Kirk head-to-head on the Israeli defense issue. Kirk's Israel creds are impeccable, and Seals hasn't actually ever accomplished anything except talk. Oh, he did visit Israel once, and he apparently has been boning up on his Jewish political keywords such as “tikun Olam.”
Footlik offers a more interesting challenge on Israel as an issue, but given that Seals has a more extensive base and fundraising ability, as a general election opponent, Footlik also has plenty of deficiencies to overcome before November.