Week in Review

Election Year Issues: Iran, Jobs, and Delegate Counts

Kal Decato ‘12

The Israel-Iran dilemma: Obama’s primary objective.

On Thursday, March 8, in an Investor’s Business Daily blog, Charles Krauthammer opined on President Obama’s handling of the Israel-Iran situation. The message being projected by the U.S. President is one of strong resolve for preventing Iran from going nuclear. He has stated this several times of late, including Sunday in front of AIPAC. The President has done a lot of political posturing on this issue, yet has not committed too much in terms of viable plans to change the course of Iran’s nuclear program. Sanctions, according to the Director of National Intelligence, will not do the job; and yet, this is the current strategy.

So the question becomes: what is the real strategy? Krauthammer reported this leak by an Obama administration official to The Washington Post: “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel.” This would make sense, since all three countries are in election season and the last thing anyone needs is for someone to pull the trigger amid the political posturing.

Iran is reportedly tripling its uranium output and moving facilities under mountains. How critical is this fact? President Obama seems to be waiting for the right moment to strike, which may come at the end of the month when Israel and Irani elections are over – Iran just finished up their parliamentary elections last week and Ahmadinejad’s opposition gained ground.

Obama proud of new jobs created in manufacturing.

On Friday March 9, the February report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released. Good news! The economy added 227,000 jobs, including 31,000 in manufacturing. This resulted in overall stock market gains despite the Greek default, which took its bite out of the market earlier in the week. Obama, in a speech on Friday, referenced his contributions to manufacturing, including: the auto bailout (GM and Chrysler in 2008), higher fuel standards (better gas mileage reduces dependence on foreign oil), and investments in aerospace technology (Boeing’s Dreamliner airplane). While the unemployment rate did not change, the jobs report was a sure sign of an improving economy. This is reflected in the stock market trend over the last several months as consumer confidence is on the rise. However, keep an eye out for the Solyndra situation, which is being investigated at a pace that suggests it is being held as a political chess move.

Santorum takes Kansas, Romney strong in Wyoming.

Saturday’s caucuses ended with Santorum seizing the state he needed in Kansas and Romney picking up a seventh state out of the twelve this week. Santorum believes that with this victory it will be a two-man race on Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi, where Gingrich is still fighting to remain viable. Not much further to discuss here, only the current delegate count, including decided superdelegates: Romney 452; Santorum 216; Gingrich 107; Paul 47. There are 1,499 delegates remaining and 1,144 are needed to win the nomination. Tonight’s results in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii, and American Samoa will deal out an additional 116 delegates.