The Malignant Factionalism Of Netanyahu And Trump
In The New York Times on June 29, Thomas L. Friedman writes about the demise of the recently assembled coalition government in Israel. That government fused the interests of Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina Party, Yair Lapid’s center-left Yesh Atid Party, and, believe it or not, Mansour Abbas’ Israel Arab Party, Raam. It did so primarily to get Benjamin Netanyahu out of the prime minister’s job. Netanyahu has now manipulated enough members of the Knesset out of the coalition to warrant new elections—again.
Despite that, as Friedman points out, there is a lesson for the United States in the limited success of the Israeli coalition. After all, it did successfully pass the first real budget in three years. That would be like Congress balancing a budget and doing so with 60 votes in the Senate.
The point is that Israel, like the United States, was dominated by a bully as its leader. Netanyahu was Trump. Israelis need to keep him out of office at all costs and probably allow him to be tried and, if guilty, convicted and imprisoned. After yesterday’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson before the House January 6 Committee, it is almost beyond question that an indictment needs to be brought against Mr. Trump for sedition and he needs to go on trial.
Both democracies were threatened in a manner that our Founding Fathers tried to prevent—through malignant factionalism (in another article by Bret Stephens in the same edition of The NYT about Trumpism as a cult).
People we have got to get real. Both parties in America are running to the extremes. It is only through a coalition among the remaining sane people in BOTH parties that the United States like Israel can get back on track. As Friedman notes: “Imagine that Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, Larry Hogan, Lisa Murkowski, Bill McRaven, Joe Manchin, Amy Klobuchar, Mike Bloomberg, Jim Clyburn, and Michelle Lujan Grisham were all serving in the same cabinet and you’d have the rough U.S. equivalent of the Israeli national unity government that just died.”
It’s the only way out. The various opinions centered around the center without the extremists who would bring down the government before they would relinquish power can govern by balancing their various interests for the good of the people of the country.
As Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony revealed, such a government cannot include Donald Trump or Mark Meadows or Rudy Giuliani not to mention the likely next Speaker of the House and third in line to be President, Kevin McCarthy. The new American government cannot include the Squad or AOC or any other left-wing candidate like Bernie Sanders who would seek to eliminate what makes the country great—competitiveness.
In Israel and other parliamentary democracies, such coalitions are forced to form by the system itself as no one party usually has 61 seats in the 120 seat Knesset. In America with a strict two-party system, someone always has the majority in the executive and legislative branches. And after the Dobbs decision, this seems to be the case in the judicial branch as well.
It is time for the sane people to get together with one another—Republicans and Democrats—and forge such a coalition here. It’s the only way beyond Trump, beyond the Squad and beyond politics as usual.
Now, closer to home, the same could be said about solving the MD Anderson problems that the president, Dr. Pisters, tries to cover up under the name of One MD Anderson. Is the faculty satisfied or are the clinicians struggling with over-filled templates and the basic scientists unsure that they even matter to the mission of the cancer center?
Only a move to the center by the administration, a hiring of world-class people of accomplishment in the academic and administrative leadership slots, and true shared governance will the cancer center get back on the track it was on before 2001 and the series of disastrous presidencies. When will Austin wise up?