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Chas Freeman Is Out

The old spin was that Freeman's nomination, and the failure of his critics, shows how evil the Israel lobby is. Stephen Walt, three days ago:

Fortunately, the screeching of Freeman's critics has not worked; Freeman will be the head of the National Intelligence Council. In fact, this heavy-handed behavior, with its McCarthy-like overtones, may even backfire, by showing just how obsessesed his critics are with their own narrow-minded vision of U.S. Middle East policy, a vision they expect all other Americans to share. I would not be surprised if President Obama and other key figures in his administration are angry about these malicious smears, and wisely decide to pay even less attention to these individuals in the future.

The new spin will be that Freeman's, ahem, resignation shows the Israel lobby is even more powerful and sinister than we thought. Any event involving The Lobby, win or lose, further proves its sinister role in American life.

(Non-snarky note: Of course I recognize that the Israel lobby is powerful, and was a key element in the pushback against Freeman, and that it is not always a force for good. I just don't ascribe to it the singular, Manichean, different-category-than-any-other-lobby status that its more fevered critics imagine.)

--Jonathan Chait