Why I don't think it's a FULL explanation for the fact that politicians basically across the board are so one-sided here. After all, the politicians you mention as ones you think would naturally have supported the Palestinians have bucked interest groups in other areas, I'm sure. AIPAC et al. really cannot be the whole explanation, or they'd either be the most powerful interest group ever or there'd be a lot less opposition to other PAC backed issues than there are. Similarly, apparently you think that the only reason I saw that attitude among the almost entirely gentile (and non Christian Zionist) folks I grew up around is because of brainwashing by the Lobby. That, to me, is nonsense. It's clear it's more complicated. Similarly, that the right machine seems to have become much more focused on Israel seems to me to suggest there's more going on that the Lobby, than politics as always.
Where I spoke of a Jewish Lobby influencing
the media and politics and hence, indirectly, your gentile peers, you now speak of brainwashing. If I explicitly say that the influence of the Jewish Lobby would not have worked as it did in the absence of other cultural and historical factors that allowed it to work, you recast my position as saying that the Jewish Lobby explains everything about the attitudes of your gentile peers to Israel-Palestine. I mean, I say the Lobby is not the only reason, and then you say that I say that it is the only reason. A bit frustrating, from my point of view.
I think that the specifically Jewish Lobby is crucial to understanding the special relationship that has developed between the US and Israel. It is of crucial and critical importance. It does not explain everything. I do not think it is remotely possible to understand the US-Israel relationship without paying due attention to the Jewish Lobby's influence in electoral politics, on the federal bureaucracy, and in the media. The entire question is how much of the relationship it explains. How about 51%?
On the more general issue of our different approaches and stances to politics generally, I regard myself as an empiricist and a pragmatist, just as you regard yourself. If slamming the rich for wanting to abolish the estate tax turns out to be counter-productive, I'll abandon the slamming. But liars are liars. When someone is lying, is it demonizing them to point out that they are lying? I'm not wedded to intemperate rhetoric because it makes me feel good, although in the context of a board like this I do like to vent. In any case, I am not a politician, I am a citizen and amateur polemicist. If you think that your gently, gently, hypermoderate and sensible approach always gets the results you want, or that no other approach could produce results that are equally good or better, that's your thing. I'm not going to pretend that I know what to do in the face of the recalcitrant fact that people tend to be both selfish and stupid at least 51% of the time.
I really wish that you would try to find a Friedman quote that antedates the W&M article and that tends to demonstrate, to your mind, that Friedman was unaffected by W&M when writing his recent column about American-Israel relations.