How would an Israeli attack on Iran impact the Presidential election?

Of course it could be disinformation, posturing, or plain ole rumoring, but Israeli TV is claiming that the plan is for Israel to attack Iran before the US Presidential election.

And of course the logic is sound: if Israel is ever going to do it, before the election is the time. If they do not do it by then then Iran knows that they probably never will. I’ve been nervous about this for the last year.

Debate about Israel and Iran can go elsewhere; this is a horse race question. How would it impact the election if Israel attacks? How about if we assume that the President expresses strong support for the action and asks Congress to consent to backing that support up with tactical military support and an ugliness results? Would the short term rally around a “strong” President (never mind any thoughts about whether such is actually being strong or weak, open a GD thread for that) help him, or would such an outcome help Romney?

I think it will be good for Obama, especially if he decides the US has to get involved on Israel’s side. Just look at the approval ratings GWB got after 9/11.

I also have to chuckle because Obama will absolutely have the Republicans over a barrel here. Assuming Obama does go to Congress for approval, are they really going to say no to him on this? They will certainly criticize everything he does but when it comes down to it, it would be very counterproductive for the Republicans to hang Israel out to dry because they don’t like Obama.

  1. How reputable is Channel 10 when it comes to reporting on the current Israeli government?

  2. I think it goes either way. On the one hand - it depends on how Obama responds. On the other, some people who are allies with Israel feel that Romney would be more solid in that regard.

If this did happen and Obama went to Congress for support, I predict Romney & Company will claim he hasn’t been supportive enough in the past and try to blame the current (well, imaginary) situation partially on US foreign policy.

Yea, I think we’re getting close enough to the election where the “rally around the flag” boost Obama would get from any international kerffufle would ensure his election, even if the longer term effects on his popularity were negative.

But I think this is the tenth or so time an “Israel is about to attack Iran” story has made the rounds over the last couple years. Methinks someone in the Israeli gov’t just likes circulating them for whatever reason.

If Israel were to attack without any stronger evidence of an actual Iranian nuclear weapons program emerging in the meantime, I doubt Obama would be actively supporting them. Perhaps because of the election, he would refrain from joining the chorus of international outrage, but I don’t see him actively supporting what would be basically an unprovoked attack.

I don’t think there’s much overlap between “people who demand unconditional support of Israel” and “people who would ever vote for Obama in a million years” so I would think that particular scenario would have little effect on the election. I agree with everyone else that it would be a boon for him were the attack to be preceded by the discovery of compelling evidence of a weapons program.

God, I hope this doesn’t happen.

But if it does, can anyone tell me what Obama would actually do?

I always understood that Obama was not a great supporter of Israel. Is this not true?

Same here.

No one can tell you what he will do, but what I believe he will do is continue to let the US play the useful idiot to Israel and support the military action, whether he personally feels it’s the right thing to do or not.

It is not true.

I think that if Israel really intended to attack Iran, they would not be talking about it the press.

If they do attack Iran, the U.S. will know about it before anyone else, and would have to at the very least look the other way in order for the mission to succeed. You can’t launch that many aircraft, and conduct large scale refueling operations enroute, in that part of the world, unless the U.S. allows it to happen.

That noted, Israel isn’t likely to need much in the way of support after such an attack. Iran can’t hit back with anything beyond cruise missiles, which Israel is prepared to absorb. We would not allow an Iranian strike package to reach Israel, and they know that. Iran won’t risk having most of their air force shot down by the U.S. to retaliate. We might shoot down some of the missiles to help the Israelis out, but that’s about it.

I think any effect on the election would be minimal. If I was Israel, and bound and determined to attack Iran, I’d do it doing the Democratic Convention, on the theory that most of America would be watching news of the attack instead of the convention, and that might help the GoP in some small way.

It’s impossible to predict, IMO. A lot also depends on the Iranian response. If Iran responds to an Israeli attack by attacking the US, that would likely create a “rally around the CIC” effect, assuming an appropriately firm response from the President. If all that happens is Israel attacking Iran, which I think is the most likely result, then it’s not going to have a big impact. Obama will do what he has to do by backing Israel up at the UN, something he might not have done if it wasn’t before the election, and that will prevent any problems with his base.

What it comes down to is Israel does not have the military capacity to launch a successful attack on Iran to achieve the goals they have laid out. If they launch an attack, they need the military support of other countries. It’s possible they could find allies elsewhere but a US alliance is by far the most likely.

If Israel went at it alone it would not be able to take out Iran’s nuclear capacity and would most likely accelerate Iran’s nuclear weapons programs.

Politically Israel has reasons internal and external to talk big and be threatening and they’ll continue to do so. They could not risk attacking without the US, as they could find themselves without US backing if they attacked before we are ready. It’s not a risk they can afford.

Obama’s base doesn’t care about Israel. They’re more interested in his domestic policy.

I suspect in excess of 99% of the US population cares more about Obama’s (or Romney’s) domestic policy then about Israel.

Not much risk there for Israel. They have nukes, so nobody is going to invade them. The U.S. is not going to allow an air strike to reach Israel. They risk pissing off people that have repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map, so they’ve got little to lose there.

They probably do not have the military capacity to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program with conventional weapons, and they are not going to use nukes, but they can do significant damage. Essentially, and attack would delay Iran’s quest for a bomb by a couple of years or longer. When they attacked Iraq’s facilities, that program never recovered. The same thing might happen in Iran.

I don’t think that’s true. None of us can know for sure, but given that Israel took out Iraq and Syria’s programs and Iran isn’t THAT much farther away, or that much more capable of air defense, I don’t think it’s farfetched to believe that Israel is more than capable of severely damaging Iran’s program on their own.

Israel has shown an ability to project power in creative ways far from their borders. If they said they could take out North Korea’s nuclear program I wouldn’t discount them. And I doubt Kim would either.

If the US doesn’t back Israel in the UN, that divides the Democratic Party in a very vocal way. Many Democratic Congressmen will condemn the administration’s stance. Sure, domestic policy is more important, but loud infighting in the Democratic ranks in the heat of an election campaign would not look good.

Sorry for beating perhaps a dead horse, but I thought there was concern by Israel and I guess American Jews about Obama and his commitment to Israel.

Or am I misremembering? I thought there was concern because of Obama’s possible Muslim roots that he would have sympathy toward Islamic POV’s, such as Palestinian rights.

Or was this just BS?


It wasn’t BS that people were “concerned” about it, but like so many other “concerns” people have had about Obama they were completely unfounded.

It would be a beautiful thing to see from my perspective. Let them cannibalize themselves. It would be a joy to watch.

Here is an NPR story on this subject I listened to last week.

Both Romney and Obama support Israel, it’s not clear who would benefit more from Israel attacking before the election.

Obama’s opponents have tried to paint things this way. Others can speak to the specifics more than I can but I do not believe this is the case. Obama doesn’t have Muslim roots, nor does he have Muslim sympathies.

Actor Norman Reedus had a great quote about how “if you have enough footage of Santa Claus you can cut it to make him look like an asshole.” This is what Obama’s opponents do, all day every day. Obama doesn’t agree with Israel 100% of the time (and FWIW Netanyahu does not look like a particularly agreeable fellow) but Obama’s opponents try to spin every minor disagreement into a major diplomatic incident that shows Obama’s nefarious Muslim roots. So yes, it is BS and it’s part of a spiteful agenda that causes tensions where there shouldn’t be any. Or do people actually believe that Israel would have been pushed into the sea by now if not for the Republicans hound dogging Obama all the time?