- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

INNARD CIRCLE

President Obama drew much support from Jewish voters, but he’s still struggling with the “kishkes test,” says Nathan J. Diament, director of public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, made up of 1,000 member synagogues.

Mr. Obama has delivered heartfelt speeches about Israel but has yet to articulate his policies toward the nation — risking loss of support from Israelis and their backers, Mr. Diament explains.

But the kishkes. Quick, David Axelrod, write the word down for some future strategy. Those clueless about Yiddish be aware that “kishkes” means, well, one’s innermost parts.

“It’s that folks need to know that Obama ‘gets it’ in his gut,” Mr. Diament tells Inside the Beltway

“Israelis live in a very ‘dangerous neighborhood,’ and they’ve, just in recent years, made significant sacrifices for peace - for example, withdrawn from Gaza - and gotten rockets and terror in return. The Arabs continue to threaten terror and refuse to acknowledge Israel’s legitimacy,” Mr. Diament continues.

“If President Obama wants them to again take actions for the sake of a hoped-for peace, Israelis need to believe that Mr. Obama believes in Israel’s legitimacy and is fundamentally committed to Israel’s security. And Israelis will assess this based on Mr. Obama’s actions more than his words.”

MAHMOUD MOOD

Well, that’s that. Instant credibility. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs referred to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the “elected leader” of Iran on Tuesday.

That is not how former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sees the situation.

“Iran is now a hollow shell. If we don’t do anything to prop it up - just like the Soviet Union was a hollow shell - it too will collapse. I don’t know if it will be next year, or five years from now. But the Iranian regime, I believe, is done,” Miss Rice said during a recent appearance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

At least the White House, along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, will not send flowers, a balloon bouquet or maybe a Whitman’s Sampler to Mr. Ahmadinejad before his inauguration on Wednesday.

“I don’t have any reason to believe that we will send any letter,” Mr. Gibbs said.

POLL DU JOUR

33 percent of Americans say Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley acted “stupidly” during his arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

53 percent say Mr. Gates acted “stupidly” during the encounter.

54 percent say President Obama acted “stupidly.”

7 percent had a less favorable opinion of the president afterward.

33 percent sympathize with Mr. Gates, 41 percent with Mr. Crowley.

58 percent say the “Beer Summit” was a good idea.

58 percent say the incident did not teach Americans about race relations.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1,136 adults conducted July 31-Aug. 3.

YOU BETCHA

Not that anyone really wants to know, but DSI Sportsbooks, an online gambling concern, has declared the odds on whether former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will get divorced in 2009.

Yes, she will get divorced in 2009: +200

No, she won’t get a divorce in 2009: -500.

PUTIN PECTACULAR

Not that anyone really wants to know, but the Putin pectorals are on parade. There’s something about summer that makes a leader, well - remember that shot of President Obama emerging from the surf last year? It is he-man time once again. Photos have surfaced in the global press of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, clad only in fatigue pants, while swimming and horseback riding.

“The photos will inevitably trigger the sound of mass swooning by women all over Russia - as well as unfavorable comparisons of their husbands to Mr. Putins manly physique. They will also confirm the Russian prime ministers status as a gay icon,” says Tony Halpin of the London Times.

BLIMEY

Daniel Hannan,a Conservative member of Parliament from southeastern England, was at the Army Navy Club in the District on Tuesday to offer enthusiastic opinions on the “American Tea Parties” phenomenon.

“For 11 years, Britain has had a socialist government that has squeezed the productive end of our economy to expand the unproductive end of our economy. Don’t repeat that in America,” Mr. Hannan told his hosts, which included Townhall.com and the Leadership Institute.

Watch him take Parliament apart in a video already viewed by 2 million people (www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs)

“It’s amusing and ironic that Mr. Hannan shared the British take on American tea parties a couple of hundred years after the fact. Of course, even I wasn’t around back then,” said Jim Martin, president of the 60 Plus Association, another sponsor.

Squawks, honks and caterwaul to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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