SHORT TAKES: Carter, Philly Voting, Streisand Quits Israel Gig, Kissinger & McCain


carter glasses twn.jpg

The Washington Note is starting a new feature called “Short Takes” — small, semi-daily snippets of items our team finds interesting combined with occasional gossip and insider DC intrigue.


Jimmy Carter’s entrepreneurship has moved some Hamas leaders to offer Israel a ten-year truce. Hamas has offered such a deal before, and Israel rejected it with the Likud and political right arguing that such a truce would only provide time for the Muslim fundamentalist movement to further dig in and establish a base for more virulent rejectionism of Israel. Israelis — to the tune of 64% in recent polls — want a ceasefire with Hamas and want the Palestinians to resolve their internal tension and do a credible peace deal.

Carter is a long way from success, not withstanding the opposition to his work from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. But Carter has done something important in his meeting with the Hamas leadership. He has shown his ability to go where many other American leaders — including Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Thomas Pickering, Carla Hills, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Theodore Sorensen, Paul Volcker, Eric Shinseki — have advocated going but have not had the ability to do. And Carter is also showing that the recalcitrant voices in the State Department, White House, and hopeful future candidates can be decisively ignored — and some progress still achieved.


Word has reached TWN that entrenched Democratic political machines in Philadelphia may have held discussions in recent days about what could be done to throw some speed bumps into the voting process for heavily African-American communities.

Misplacing voting roles, not assigning enough poll workers, on-the-fritz voting machines and other tools were possibly discussed as a way to help generate long lines for mostly African-American voters and to discourage them from voting. Incredible if true. My source — unconfirmed — suggested that this discussion was among those loyal to Philadelphia’s mayor and thus hoping to help the Hillary Clinton campaign.


Well. . .George W. Bush, Google co-founder Sergey Brin are still on the star-studded party list that Israel President Shimon Peres has assembled for the May 13 festivities celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary. But Barbra Streisand won’t be singing.

She gave no reason for her cancellation — but those who know her tell me that she’s disturbed by Israel’s complicity in the worsening problems with Gaza and with the failure to move towards some kind of a credible Palestinian state solution. Ultimately, if Israel doesn’t move towards a two-state arrangement, the 60-year old state “will either lose its ‘Jewish character’ or will cease to be a democracy” — as directly stated to me by Israel Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon.


Last night at the pretty spectacular mega-hundred person attended Atlantic Council annual gala dinner at the Ritz Carlton which punctuated the revival of what was a nearly dead organization, Spanish newspaper El Mundo Washington Bureau Chief Pablo Pardo had the chance to talk to Henry Kissinger who was on his way out of the ballroom. Pardo queried Kissinger on what political issues he felt were the most important in the current presidential campaign. Kissinger gruffly said that he wasn’t going to comment on that kind of thing. And then Kissinger said, “I support John McCain.” Pablo Pardo responded back, “But why exactly do you support Senator McCain?”

Kissinger’s reply, “Because I have known him for 20 years.” No policy parameters surfaced.

Clearly, Kissinger the realist has become a sentimentalist and has discovered ‘unconditional love affection’.

— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “SHORT TAKES: Carter, Philly Voting, Streisand Quits Israel Gig, Kissinger & McCain

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    Ralph Nader isn’t a valid candidate.
    He may be the Manchurian Candidate in his role as spoiler, by helping that actual archetype get elected several times over.


  2. Kathleen says:

    President Jimmy Carter can succeed where others fail because he sincerely wants to help with a peace deal as opposed to those who really want more war and are insincere in their charades. Ralph Nader is the only presidential candidate who commends Carter for meeting with Hamas.
    Good for Barbra… maybe she should contact that new Isreal Lobby, J Street? Together, they could cause a sea change in public opinion.
    On voting glitches, it’s interesting that Hillary does best where the machine is on her side.Dennis Kucinich paid for a partial recount in New Hampshire and found some inexplicable irregularities in the transportation of ballots, how the ballot containers were sealed or not sealed, etc.
    In the event of Deadlock in Denver, there is nothing in the party rules to prevent a delegate from nominating a third candidate. Teddy did in 1968. After Bobby was shot, he nominated George McGovern, even though Mcgovern had not campaigned at all, to prevent the antiwar delegates from re-joining Gene McCarthy. This is why McGovern lost in 1972, not because he was too liberal. My point is, if Teddy’s guy can’t put it over the top, don’t be surprised if Teddy pulls a fast one at the last minute. For that matter HillBilly could do one too, if they were of a mind to do something.


  3. Jen says:

    Kissinger’s on “Uncommon Knowledge” this week discussing policy — so far, Iraq, the EU, NATO, India, and China.


  4. arthurdecco says:

    Mr.Murder said: “Steve, you’ve got an obligation to name names. You cannot imply illegal activity and not do so.”
    To which Steve Clemons replied: “Mr. M — appreciate your perspective, but have to call these shots as I see them. Really do appreciate your view though…”
    Which left me wondering what the hell you were saying in reply to Mr. M’s point, Mr. Clemons.
    From where I sit your response looked a lot like dismissive “baffle ’em with bullshit” rather than the thoughtful and respectful answer his legitimate concern/question deserved.
    What gives? Are you running for office? LOL!


  5. Steve Clemons says:

    Mr. M — appreciate your perspective, but have to call these shots as I see them.
    Really do appreciate your view though,


  6. Mr.Murder says:

    Steve, you’ve got an obligation to name names. You cannot imply illegal activity and not do so.


  7. Mr.Murder says:

    People who slight President Jimmy Carter have short memories. Camp David Accords, etc.
    Good to hear both sides are working to peaceful ends together.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:
    Tuesday’s Election Will be ‘Unrecountable, Unverifiable, and Unauditable’…
    On Tuesday night, you will be told who the winner of the Pennsylvania Primary is. You will accept it. You will have no choice. No matter who the winner really is. Or isn’t.
    This Tuesday’s crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As summarizes the crucial contest, it “will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable.”


  9. Don Bacon says:

    Definitely big pluses to Carter — this wouldn’t have happened without him. But Egypt’s key role as mediator is a big story also, vis-a-vis Rice’s ineptitude. (Please swing by Cairo if you can.)


  10. blogwonk says:

    Steve, Nice feature with Short Takes. This will be good to keep all of us fed with briefs on your thinking in shorter snippets. You are one hell of a busy guy and I don’t know how you do all you do, but this will be good for us and we appreciate it. BW


  11. Steve Clemons says:

    Don Bacon — You are right on Streisand. The AP story misled me as they have her spelled out as “Barbara”….but sure enough…you have it right.
    Good additional context on the ceasefire politics. But I still give Carter big pluses for what he has been doing.
    best, steve


  12. Don Bacon says:

    1. The Egypt-mediated Israel-Hamas ceasefire negotiation has been going on since mid-February. In the past ten days it has been conducted in parallel with Jimmy Carter’s visits to Hamas leaders and to Israel. Hamas plans to give Egyptian mediators its final response on Thursday to a proposed truce with Israel, a Hamas official said on Tuesday.
    2. It’s Barbra Streisand.


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