***Note to Moderators: You may or may not want to embargo this thread until the election is over.

Taking a cue from Rex Brynen in post #43 of this thread:
One could start an entire thread on how the hyperpartisanship around ME issues (and the demonization of outstanding regional experts like Rashid Khalidi and Rob Malley in the current presidential campaign) inhibits the ability of the USG to effectively pursue its national interests in the region...
To which Tom Odom replied:
Agreed. The boogie man complex is working overtime right now. The Khalidi vilification is especially over the top.
Abu Muqawama has noted:
How in the world did Rashid Khalidi become a part of this campaign? Is knowing Palestinians now enough to disqualify one from public office? If so, I'm in big trouble. My dissertation adviser was part of the negotiating teams in the 1990s. I can say goodbye, then, to my dreams of one day leading the breakaway republic of East Tennessee. Oh well. (The Washington Post thinks this is all stupid as well.)
Similarly, but on the flipside of this:
Obama's Neocon in Residence, by Philip Giraldi. Antiwar.com, 2008-11-04.

Ross is a commentator for Fox News and the Ziegler distinguished fellow at WINEP, which he helped found in the 1980s. He is also chairman of the Jerusalem- based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. He would only be a spear-carrier in the latest neocon absurdity if it weren't for the fact that he is a major player in the Obama campaign as Obama's top adviser on the Middle East and a key link to AIPAC. Ross reportedly has been helping the Obama campaign formulate positions that AIPAC would be comfortable with. It has been reported that Ross has aspirations to become secretary of state, but he lacks the seniority for that position and may instead focus on the Middle East, either at the State Department or the National Security Council. Ross-watchers believe that if he is put in charge of Middle Eastern policy, he will guarantee that only Israeli security concerns will matter to the new administration, because that is the position he has always taken in the past. If the bipartisan report is any indication, he will be particularly interested in defanging Iran, a position that he has made clear in speeches to Israeli audiences.

My focus on Dennis Ross and what he represents is not intended to single him out for demonization. Rather, it is a word of caution to the electorate not to expect too much from Obama if he is elected, as he is surrounded by people who already have agendas.