Believe it or not, there is one US politician acting out of principle and displaying the courage of his convictions. And it isn't Obama, Clinton or McCain. His name is Carter. Jimmy Carter. He recently ended several days of what used to be called Middle East shuttle diplomacy visiting Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Israel seeking to break the logjam that has blocked an agreement between Israel and Hamas.
Carter knew his mission would be unpopular, in fact reviled by the Bush administration, the American Jewish leadership and Israel. But he also understood something none of them do: that the current "freeze out" policy toward Hamas is a failure. You can't simply claim that a policy of inaction is a policy. So Carter decided to call everyone's bluff and create a policy where essentially none existed.
It was, as I said, a gutsy move, since almost no one was willing to give him the time of day. The Bushites called him naive and a dupe of terrorists; the Israel lobby called him anti-Israel; and the Israeli government, with one prominent exception, boycotted Carter entirely. It was an inauspicious way to conduct international diplomacy. But he did it anyway.
Carter understood that no matter how odious one might find Hamas, there simply is no alternative to dealing with them. And in negotiating with them, Carter was only doing what Israel and the US should be doing themselves. In fact, many experts in both countries predict that the US and Israel will eventually be doing this themselves despite all protestations to the contrary. It's important to note that Israel already is negotiating indirectly with Hamas under Egyptian auspices. The question is not "if" but "when".
Of course, Carter is being villified by the mainstream press.