Here’s a glimpse at some of the stories your ABC News political team will be covering in the week ahead:
The term President Obama used to describe the nature of the downing of a commercial airliner in Ukraine goes a long way toward explaining its implications. A festering regional conflict is back on center stage for policy-makers in Washington and beyond, and pressure will build on the self-described “bear” – the one who’s been let loose around town of late – to take on the Russian Bear. The president’s measured response – calling it a “wakeup call for Europe and the world” – will be tested by allies and enemies alike in the coming days. Depending on where the evidence leads, the U.S. government will be pushed to be more forceful. Within hours of the attack, Sen. John McCain was on television warning that there would be “hell to pay” if Russian or even just pro-Russian separatists were behind it.
As for that other hotspot, Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza will demand close watching by the American political class. President Obama met the news with characteristic balance, expressing “strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself,” but also saying he’s “deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation.” But the spiral of violence in the Middle East is of deep concern to the Obama administration, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry, who has invested countless hours and miles into moving the Israelis and Palestinians toward peace. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that a wider and longer-lasting campaign could be in the offing, challenging the Obama administration in a relationship that’s never quite been comfortable.
President Obama’s request for nearly $4 billion and increased legal flexibility to deal with the influx of minors crossing the nation’s southern border landed with a thud on Capitol Hill. With the August recess looming, the chance of any action on the border crisis before then is receding. Some Democrats are objecting to faster deportations for children from Central American countries. Many Republicans, meanwhile, don’t want to approve billions of new money for a president they don’t trust to enforce immigration laws. Sen. Ted Cruz is, perhaps predictably, vowing to block any immigration law until or unless the president’s “deferred action” stance on so-called DREAMers – children brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents – is reversed.
|ON THE RIGHT|
Republicans in Georgia on Tuesday will select their nominee to take on Democrat Michelle Nunn in the race that marks one of the only real chances for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat this year. The primary runoff – pitting business executive David Perdue against Rep. Jack Kingston – is largely free of the tea party tensions that have dominated 2014 for the GOP. But you don’t have to travel far to find the Republican civil war in full force. In Mississippi, the tea party-backed Senate candidate is still mulling his legal options against Sen. Thad Cochran weeks after Cochran won the primary. In Tennessee, tea party favorite Joe Carr is getting campaign help Tuesday from Laura Ingraham, whose boost put Cantor-slayer Dave Brat on the national map. And in Michigan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now helping the establishment challenger in a race against one of the tea party’s favorite House members, Rep. Justin Amash.
|ON THE LEFT|
It’s not just Republicans coping with internal party splits these days. The immigration crisis has divided the left, with a growing number of voices resisting President Obama’s call for more flexibility in expediting the deportation of children coming to the U.S. illegally. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a potential 2016er, is engaged in an unusually public spat with the White House over where and how to shelter children flowing in from Central America. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is becoming a regular campaigner for congressional candidates, including in red states where her populist appeal makes her more of a draw than the president himself. Even Vice President Joe Biden is getting into the act, drawing applause from a liberal gathering for his work on behalf of gay marriage. Biden even offered applause of his own when a group of immigration protesters interrupted him to chant, “Stop deporting our families.”