Political tidbits: Thoughts on Secretary Hillary, Freedom’s Watch shutting doors?

  • The New York Post reports on the Bush administration’s holiday gaffe: Invitations to this year’s White House Chanukah party included a picture of a Christmas tree: "The message reads that the couple ‘requests the pleasure of your company at a Hanukkah reception,’ written beneath an image of a Clydesdale horse hauling a Christmas fir along the snow-dappled drive to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave." Don’t be alarmed says Brooklyn politico Isaac Abraham. "It’s obvious what’s going on here: The Christmas tree is being taken out of the White House and the menorah is being brought in the back," he quipped.
  • The Sheldon Adelson-backed conservative group Freedom’s Watch "is pretty much kaput," reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A spokesman tells the paper the future of the group has yet to be decided by its board, but the paper’s sources say staff has been paid through the end of the year and "after that, Freedom’s Watch is likely to shut its doors permanently."
  • Obama’s presidency … creates an enormous opportunity for people of faith," writes Rabbi Jonah Pesner, founder of the Union of Reform Judaism’s Just Congregations community organizing initiative, in a column on Barack Obama’s community organizing background in the Washington Post. "This administration will keenly understand the need for organized constituencies to support its agenda, which challenges us to do more than simply speak out on issues of social justice – we must also organize around those issues. We should see our member congregations as networks able to organize local communities to advocate for issues that reflect our most deeply held values."
  • "No secretary of state will come to that office with stronger pro-Israel credentials or closer ties to the Jewish community than Sen. Hilary Clinton," writes Doug Bloomfield. "Naturally, that doesn’t stop the Jews from worrying." But there’s nothing to fear, he writes. "Sen. Clinton, as secretary of state, can be expected to promote a more active peace process without pushing naive initiatives on an anxious Israel. What’s so worrisome about that?"
  • Shmuel Rosner in Slate wonders how having Clinton at secretary of state can work if she and Obama still disagree on issues like Iran: "Obama wants to engage—as does Clinton, though she is a latecomer to this view. But he was soft, cautious even, when speaking about Iran, and she was forceful—some even described her attitude as "saber rattling." Will she be his emissary for preparatory work prior to a higher-level meeting? Will he trust her to explore the possibilities for negotiation the way he wants them to be explored? And how long will it take for Obama’s other supporters to start complaining that it is her fault—not, say, the Iranians’—that the talks have not succeeded?"
  • "It’s a good time to be a Jewish Democrat," reports Politico — because the National Jewish Democratic Council has 60 hotel rooms for the inauguration
  • A Minneapolis City Pages blogger solicits opinions on who would win "Hebruise Deathmatch ’08," an actual fight between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. He quotes St. Paul United Jewish Fund and Council finance director Bob Loewenstein: "Well, Coleman is a string bean. Something like, what, a 140lbs.? Franken’s 190lbs. And Franken was a wrestler in high school. So if it was up to pure physicality, there is no question Franken would win. And after winning the brawl, Franken would eat 2 or 3 of Coleman’s limbs just to make sure. You know that temper…"

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