Polling today at 37 seats, it seems doubtful that anyone can dent Kadima’s lead in the three weeks remaining before Israeli elections. My heart is with Amir Peretz and Labor. But they’re holding steady at 20 seats, a small improvement over their current representation. Today’s Robert Rosenberg column at Ariga.com analyzes Kadima’s overwhelming, but shallow support:
Still, there is something mysterious about these elections, which are unprecedented in Israel in the way a new self-declared Centrist party has appeared out of nowhere to grab not only the center of the political map but parts of the Right and Left. Every other centrist party that appeared on the eve of elections either faded by the time the vote came around or broke up within weeks of the elections. Kadima is not yet fading, but there does not seem to be any gravity holding its membership together other than a tautological conviction that together they deserve being the ruling party by virtue of the fact that they are the ruling party. That a third of the electorate has accepted that at face value is not a sign of Olmert’s popularity, but more likely tied to the strange circumstances of Ariel Sharon and Israeli society’s need for some kind of cathartic moment — a state funeral — that would once and for all might lay the ‘Sharon legacy’ to rest.
I think that italicized passage is very insightful analysis and it doesn’t bode well for Kadima as a long-term player on the Israeli political scene (though it still will probably win the next election).