02 April 2008

02 April 2008 - Experts on Israel pick McCain-Barak combo

(That's Ehud Barak, not Barack Obama.)

Ha'aretz asked its panel of experts to rate the best combination of U.S. Presidential candidates and Israeli Prime Ministers. The top five combinations, in order on a scale of 1 to 5, are as follows:

1. McCain and Barak (4.25)
2. McCain and Netanyahu (3.875)
3. Clinton and Livni (3.75)
4. (tie) Clinton and Barak / McCain and Olmert (3.625)

Obama doesn't feature.

Every combination involving McCain beats every combination involving Obama. Obama and Livni (3.25), his best comination, would be better than Clinton only if she were paired with Netanyahu (2.125), her worst combination. But Clinton and Livni beat Obama and Livni, and Obama with Netanyahu is just as bad as Clinton.

Let's look at the results slightly differently.

Given that the next Israeli elections are only scheduled for 2010, the next U.S. President is likely to be working with Ehud Olmert. So--which candidate would be the best under this realistic scenario?

Again, the order is the same:

1. McCain (3.625)
2. Clinton (3.25)
3. Obama (2.625)

So--McCain is the best and Obama is the worst overall, regardless of who is the Israeli PM. The only circumstance in which Clinton is best, according to the panel, is if Tzipi Livni runs the Israeli government.

This is, of course, just a measurement of perceptions, and it's not entirely clear what the panel understands the purpose of a good combination to be.

But these results do tell an important story.

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