At the packed-to-the-rafters brunch preceding Nancy Pelosi's formal swearing-in, Melinda and I ran into Wes Clark (and I mean that literally; like I said, it was packed). Clark was really angry about what he'd read in this column by UPI Editor at Large Arnaud de Borchgrave. In the piece, which Clark quickly forwarded to my BlackBerry from his Trio, de Borchgrave details Bibi Netanyahu leading the charge to lobby the Bush administration to take out Iran's nuclear facilities, and paints U.S. air strikes against Iran in 2007/08 as all-but-a-done deal.
"How can you talk about bombing a country when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, what will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."
It's interesting to see a Democratic presidential hopeful denounce "the New York money people," people whom Clark spent some time with in 2003-04. It's a sign that pro-Israel sentiment is not as strong in Democratic politics as it used to be. As I've pointed out, rank-and-file Republicans are now more pro-Israel than rank-and-file Democrats.