Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scratching My Head

Some sort of analysis of the election results is called for, but - besides my need to get other things done, thus crimping my blogging time - I'm mostly scratching my head today. The broad outcome was predictable and predicted, of course, but there are all sorts of questions that cry out to be answered. Why does Kadima trounce Labor? Why was Meretz hit that bad? Why did Likud surge back - and why didn't it? What does the Israeli voter want, and why not?

I pride myself on being an adept though fallible long-time observer of the Israeli scene, but I admit no obvious answers spring to mind.


Q. said...

It seems pretty clear to me: the electorate moved to the right. Those on the left bunched-up at Kadima (not to mention those who voted strategically to produce just this result), those on the right spread out a little.

Yaacov said...

Indeed. But that's a descriptive observation, not an explanation.

Q. said...

What do you find anomalous about this that requires an explanation? I presume it's not the general rightward shift - you go into the reasons for that on your blog.

If there is a somewhat-hard barrier between left and right, with some people on the left reluctant to cross that barrier, then we get exactly the results we observe: A pile-up at the right end of the left, and an attenuation on the right end of the right.

adam d. said...

This makes sense to me. I'm observing at a distance and I'm sure I don't see a lot, but it makes sense.

Olmert has found a formula that works. He's very aggressive against the Iranian proxies, he conducts policy with care and within a defensible legal framework and he's succeeded in getting international bodies and foreign governments, however reluctantly, to support Israeli actions.

Some of this has been due Arab fears of Iran, but I think much less of it than people claim. The Arabs have not ceased to bay for Jewish blood. Most of these successes have been due, I think, to good policy and good timing.

Olmert is an unsavory character. He's sycophantic, annoying, corrupt. But he's also succeeded in freeing Israel from many of its shackles and very nearly created a free-fire zone as far as the Iranian proxies are concerned.

Sharon didn't achieve that, and arguably couldn't have.

so --

why the left was shattered:
Why wouldn't it be? For years the left has been telling us that the only path to international respectability was capitulation and negotiations. But Olmert has actually improved Israel's diplomatic position (maybe not with the BBC but with foreign gov't and even UN ministers) while being quite warlike. The Left's argument has been shattered, and so has the Left.

I think Livni and Netanyahu have both benefited from this, however undeservedly, and of course in different ways.

LB said...

The way I see it, is that there is no new realignment of the electorate this time. That happened last time - when people voted for Kadima, thinking Olmert would be right of center, and instead he ended up placed Kadima pretty clearly to the left. So the electorate already shifted to the right.

But Kadima still got so many votes? Right. Two reasons - 1. They are now the large left-wing party (hence Labor's demise) and 2. As in 1999 people who voted for Kadima were voting the "Just not Bibi" ticket.

Alex Bensky said...

If it's possible to identify talents among peoples as groups, we can now firmly say that whatever talents Jews have, practical politics is not among them.