Two-time loser Dan Seals, who is making his third attempt at the 10th Congressional District here in Illinois, and campaigned last cycle on the suggestion that he would be a rubber-stamp for now-President Obama's "agenda," has now found himself crosswise with the Obama administration's policies on two major issues.
First, you may recall that during the primary election, Seals ran to the left of State Representative Julie Hamos (a feat in and of itself) on the Afghanistan war, trying to appeal to the peace-at-all-costs left (shades of Lee Goodman, anyone?), and opposing Obama's escalation of the war (one of the few bright spots of Obama's fledgling foreign policy).
Now, Seals finds himself caught between trying to emulate Obama as much as he can (still trying to find Obama's coattails here in IL-10), but also needing to appease Jewish voters in the 10th that might not be all that happy about the Obama administrations vociferous objection to Israel's settlement policy and its claims that such action is standing in the way of the peace process.
The issue of striving for peace in the Middle East is no laughing matter, but I admit that it's fun to see Seals contort his desperate need to invoke Obama at every turn, but not offend an important constituency in the 10th District:
“As we move down the path of peace, it is crucial that the United States and Israel move in unison. While the United States remains totally committed to Israel’s security, I urge the Obama Administration to recognize the sacrifices that Israel is making to achieve peace in such a difficult situation. This administration must bring an end to unhelpful rhetoric and work to forge a stronger, more productive future in the spirit of the special relationship between our two nations.”
Doesn't say much, in my opinion. On the other hand, contrast Seals' milquetoast position with the much more forceful stance taken by GOP nominee Bob Dold:
“I have serious concern about the administration’s recent Israeli policy, tone, and tactics. Given our shared democratic values, long-time commitment to Middle East peace, and mutual strategic interests, it is wrong for America to distance itself from such a vitally important ally.” Dold continued, “In light of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s public apology, it is disappointing that the administration has continued to use this zoning dispute in Jerusalem as a pretext to increase unwarranted pressure on Israel. Instead, we need to focus on working with our Israeli partners to ensure Israeli security, advance the peace process, and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”
I especially liked Dold's insightful point about the Obama administration using the ongoing settlement issue as a sudden pretext to cover its shift in rhetoric and position towards support of Israel.
Sounds like the voters in the 10th District that are concerned with the direction the U.S. is taking towards Israel will have a pretty clear choice in November between Seals and Dold.