The colorful flap over U.S. relations with Israel that exploded on the scene Wednesday is the latest proof that, only six days before the crucial midterm elections, President Obama's luck keeps getting worse and worse. This fresh clash between Washington and Tel Aviv is very bad news for Democrats who already were limping toward Election Day under the tattered banner of an unpopular president.
It is bad news not because it uncovers a dysfunctional relationship between the president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We already knew about that. And not because American Jews side with Netanyahu against Obama on the question of Israeli settlements in the disputed territories. Most of them don't, polls suggest. And not because Jewish voters hold the key to the closest races being contested. Those races are in states with an insignificant Jewish vote.
It is bad news because it feeds the Republican narrative that the president has lost control of his administration, that we as a country have lost control of events, and that no one is at the national rudder as we drift from crisis to crisis. That is why House Speaker John Boehner pounced quickly after the firestorm was ignited in an article by Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic. Boehner didn't talk about settlements policy in his statement. Instead, he focused on broader themes that match GOP attacks in this campaign, even reviving the long-discredited Republican talking point of an Obama "apology tour."