The Questions That Didn't Bark

Friday night's Democratic forum in South Carolina with Rachel Maddow had its moments of facts and fun. Maddow was top notch, so too Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton; Martin O'Malley not so much.

As good as it was, there were a number of conspicuous lacunae in the questions and comments.

One was the answer to Maddow's question about the Dems losing the Southern vote. No one seemed to remember Nixon's Southern Strategy or LBJ's warning that the Dems would lose the Southern vote for more than a generation because of the civil rights legislation he elbowed through the Congress and signed. No Dem hoping for some votes in this territory is going to mention racism--or so I suspect.

Second, there were several questions about the candidates' views on war-making, the draft, the war budget, etc. But no mention of the great turmoil this past Spring over the the Iran nuclear deal and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu's vociferous and belligerent opposition along with the strenuous lobbying of AIPAC in support of his views. The PM is due to arrive in DC on Monday. What does he want? To apologize? Probably not. Possibly political Washington is gearing up to apologize to him.

Senator Clinton provided an opening welcome in an op ed piece in The Forward. 

The NYTimes gives a round-up of how some members of Congress hope to make amends for favoring the bill and supporting President Obama.

Paul Pillar takes note of the Israeli's government propenstiy to make provocative statements and insults and then retract them, including "Obama is anit-semitic."

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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