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Voters to Obama: ’Solve Our Problems before Taking on the World’

Voters sent a clear message to Obama: solve America’s problems before taking on the whole world. Long-term effect may lower US profile in Mideast.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/3/2010, 9:02 AM / Last Update: 11/3/2010, 9:00 AM

Tea Party

U.S. voters sent a clear message to U.S. President Barack Obama that he should solve America’s problems before taking on those of the whole world.

The State Department insisted that the mid-term elections were not a vote on foreign policy, but the long-term effect of a decidedly more isolationist and neo-conservative Congress may change the president's "engagement" policy of negotiating with countries such as Syria and Iran. 

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley agreed that "this election was not primarily about international affairs. It was about domestic affairs” and admitted, “Clearly, what happens today may change some of the key players. They’ll bring in their own ideas in terms of how to execute foreign policy.”

Israeli media, mostly center and leftist, emphasized only part of his statement: “Foreign policy in the United States is bipartisan most of the time. It is in pursuit of our national interests, which don’t change administration by administration or election by election.”

However, American media from coast to coast noted that the nationalist Tea Party’s victories that helped the Republicans win control of the House of Representatives were a clear message to President Obama. He suffered a further embarrassment with the Democratic party losing his former Senate seat to the Republicans.

Congress does not dictate foreign policy, but it influences it, especially through approving or rejecting funds for foreign aid. “President Barack Obama could find many of his priorities stalled or tripped up by lawmakers,” the Canadian Press noted. “Obama's arms control agenda and U.S.-Russian relations could be the first foreign policy casualties of the election…  Obama's support for Russia to join the World Trade Organization could be blocked by Congress.”

The Tea Party’s platform on domestic issues will change the emphasis of Congressional interests. The right-wing flank of the Republican party sent “a message that I will carry with me on day one,” said victorious Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky. “It is a message of fiscal sanity, it is a message of limited constitutional government and balanced budgets," he said.

The new Congress clearly worries leftists. The J Street lobby, which has fallen rapidly in popularity because its rabid anti-Israel stance behind its "pro-Israel, pro-peace” slogan, was dealt a stinging blow in Pennsylvania. It had backed incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Sestak, who lost his re-election bid to Republican Pat Toomey.

The left-wing Anti-war.com website moaned over the results, despite the Democratic party’s hanging on to a thin majority in the Senate. “The disaster is embodied in the various GOP warmongers who will be placed in key positions in Congress,” the website commented.

It was hysterical over the prospect that Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will become chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “She is a militant supporter of Israel, constantly criticizes the United States for not kowtowing quickly enough to Tel Aviv, and is a vocal supporter of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a Marxist terrorist organization that has provided much of the phony “intelligence” purporting to show Iran is developing nuclear weapons,” according to Anti-war.com.