Fromer hinges his argument on the recent Lebanon/Hezbollah debacle as being akin to Vietnam. But this does not work for me. For one thing, Hezbollah launched missiles into Israel and kidnapped members of the IDF. Whatever one thinks about Israel vis a vis the Palestinians, I cannot imagine how one could not see some sort of response from Israel as justified. And while one might try to justify Vietnam, I cannot imagine how one could see any serious act of provocation justifying war comparable to that Israel experienced, Gulf of Tonkin machinations notwithstanding.
But beyond the clear differences of context, the crucial aspect of LBJ's demise was that it developed over time. In a matter of just four years LBJ went from signing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts to resigning to virtually no lamentation. Four years is not a long time, and in fact his collapse seems to have occurred in a flash. But four years is not six months, and Olmert's equivalent to the Great Society was far more directly linked to what Fromer sees as the cause of Olmert's possible demise than was LBJ's. As has often been said, LBJ suffered because of his inability to balance guns and butter. Olmert's Great Society equivalent was always directly tied to the same ubiquitous concern of security that is a tangible reality in every day Israeli life as was the Hezbollah confrontation.
Fromer nonetheless uses the analogy to make a larger point, and that is, as hewrites in his lede, "The last person you'd want to bet on these days is Ehud Olmert." About this, he may be right. But security is still a fundamental issue in Israel, where guns or butter is not a distinction Israelis have the luxury to make, and if Olmert can manage to buy time and convince the populace that he is still the rightful heir to Ariel Sharon's vision, he may yet emerge victorious. If this is the case, an equally flawed analogy might be with JFK and the Bay of Pigs, wherein an unproven president entered office and met with utter failure in his first major Cold War confrontation. JFK recovered until his tragic death just over two years later. Perhaps Olmert can recover too, as just with the threat of Communism in 1961, Israel's threats are not going away any time soon.