Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Livni Meltdown

The end of last week Kadima targeted the decision for Shas to endorse Netanyahu as Prime Minister. They came out with the message that a vote for Likud is a vote Shas and a vote for any party but Kadima is a vote for Kadima. This is the same tactic used by Paul Martin in the 2006 Canadian Federal election where a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives. The 2008 federal election took the same tone with the Anything But Conservative campaign and people offering to trade votes to get the candidate most likely to be a Conservative elected. Conservatives won both elections with minority governments. The latest attack demonstrates desperation on from Livni as the oppurtunity to become Prime Minister that she spent years engineering falls through her hands.

Who exactly is Livni trying to switch to Kadima by targeting Shas? Shas supporters are not turned off by Netanyahu and even if they were shopping their vote it would not be towards a secular party comitted to giving away Jerusalem. Shas alligning with Likud was an obvious choice. Perhaps she is targeting the Left Wing of Likud which is the direction Netanyahu is taking the party anyways. How can they have feel threatened by Shas enough to switch over to Kadima? The only reason Livni is not Prime Minister is she was unable to persuade them to join her coalition on her terms. She wanted them in her government and just couldn't pull of the deal. Why should this make any Likud supporter feel threatened?

Having your dream slip away can be very devasting. It is not uncommon to try to lash out at those you feel have snatched it away from you. Livni clearly has a grudge against Shas for blocking her out of the Prime Minister chair. She is letting her anger cloud her judgment and make things worse for herself. The best case scenario is this attack will have no long lasting effects. The worst case scenario is Netanyahu reaches out to Labor to form the government leaving Kadima out in the cold. That would be a tough pill to swallow since Netanyahu has been started the election race saying he wanted Livni in his coalition. Livni has done a poor job in choosing her battles. In the short term it will hurt her politically.

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