Accepting Reality: the US Politics Edition

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14 Responses

  1. L. Oberstein says:

    For once, you and I are ,at the moment, both supporting the same candidate.I do not agree with most of what the Republican Platform advocates and find their total devotion to the 1%, whom they like to call “small businesses” to be a facile way of hiding their agenda, to destroy the New Deal,The Fair Deal and the Great Society,as much as they possibly can. Romney honestly believes what he said at that “Parlor Meeting’ where he was surreptiociously recorded. The party today is not remotely connected to the Republican Party that was progressive and advocated many worthwhile social programs, including what you call “socialized medicine” under Nixon. The Tea Party scares me and it is not my desire to identify with them.
    That being said, I am a Jew who values Eretz Yisroel and whose son is a chayal in tzahal who will be based in Jenin, as of next week. Therefore, I am most reluctantly going to cast my vote for Romney. That is because I agree 100% with his assessment of the Arab stance , he said what he believes and what many know is true. They don’t want any State of Israel and do not accept our right to exist in any portion of their part of the world. They deny not only the Holocaust,but the presence of Jews in Israel in ancient times or the existence of the Bais Hamikdash. Who can negotiate with such lunatics?

    I also do not believe that Obama understands in his gut the situation. He is not in my opinion, an anti semite by any means and he is not an enemy of the Jewish People or of the existence of Israel. He is of the same opinion as many Israelis, of the Yossi Beilin camp, that Israel will only save itself if the US practices tough love and forces it to do what it has to do to survive. Beinart is a spokesman for those who love Israel so much they want to force it to leave the occupied territiories.
    Obama, like many neophytes, who become President before they are ready, naively thought that he could make peace in Israel by what he did at the beginning of his term. He was very wrong and set back negotiations by what he did. He messed up big time there and elsewhere. He didn’t deserve a Nobel Peace Prize just because his intentions were good,even if his actions were counter-productive.

    Personally, I wish that Shimon Peres would be right but ,at the moment, I don’t see Israel being accepted as the Singapore of the Middle East and accepted as a legitimate inhabitant of that part of the world. I am scared to death of what is going on in the Moslim world and hope that somehow,some way, the less extreme elements keep those millions of people from their self destructive hatred of not only Jews but of anyone who has another opinion. Shooting a 14 girl in Pakistan should wake up those of us who want to kiss and make up. I haven’t changed my opinion, as much as I have reassessed reality.
    I am not a racist and not a bigot and think that Jews should be very careful of how they talk about other groups here and abroad. We walk a fine line in golus and we need Heavenly Mercy at this stage.

  2. david luchins says:

    Reb Yaakov, I suggest you google the words “Rice” and “Shrink Israel” and see for yourself if I put any words into her mouth. Last I checked she was the Queen of Republican foreign policy and the Rev. Wright was an utter pariah in this Administration. Think Obama was wrong to push settlement freeze and Bush was wrong to be first President to call for a Palestinian state, demand that Israel allow Hamas to run in the PLO elections, micromanage the removal of Israeli checkpoints because they reminded our Secretary of State of her childhood in segregated Birmingham and demand that Sharon pull every Israeli soldier out of Gaza( Rice’s stunning Autobiography , googling “Rice” and “Shrink Israel” and Gil Troy’s piece on the “disengagement” will document all the above. Frankly, Israel is a wash in this election. Which leaves domestic issues….

  3. Yaakov Menken says:

    Actually, that’s what I had done, as directed. It’s putting words in her mouth.

    And even were Rice as negative towards Israel as Obama, Rice is not Romney (while, needless to say, Obama remains Obama). What Romney himself thinks has been caught on hidden camera, and Mother Jones is very proud to show its left-wing audience how terrible Romney is because he thinks the Palestinians don’t really want peace, and do want to destroy Israel. In other words, more than any other president or presidential candidate in memory, with the possible exception of John McCain (“Someone is going to have to answer me the question of how you are going to negotiate with an organization that is dedicated to your extinction”), he apparently understands the truth about the Middle East… and is a personal friend of Netanyahu, who will likely remain Prime Minister and whom Obama can’t stand.

    I’m glad Dr. Luchins believes the Rev. Wright to be a “pariah” simply because the Obamas left his church under intense political pressure. In 2007, Obama praised Wright as a “friend and great leader.” Just a year later, he tried to condemn Wright’s comments while defending Wright, before being forced to jettison him to keep his candidacy alive — and not because of Wright’s comments about Israel. Let’s be completely honest: if Obama had been a steady congregant of a white minister whose remarks were even half that poisonous, Obama’s political career would look like David Duke’s, and for good reason.

    If Romney acts upon his privately-stated beliefs, he will make GW Bush practically look unfriendly by comparison, perhaps almost as much as Obama is in comparison to GWB. But either way, “Israel is a wash in this election” is wishful thinking from a dedicated Democrat; objectively it’s simply untrue.

  4. david luchins says:

    “Dedicated Democrat”? Alas, is that what this has come down to? Name calling? First the race card (“if wright were only white”) and now this. I worked for Nixon, campaigned for Goodell, Dole, Pataki and D”Amato. Voted for more Republicans in my life than Democrats in statewide elections in NY. Lord Palmerston once opined “Her majesty’s Government has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies-only permanent interests” So should we.And we choose to disagree on what they are . No need to get Down!

  5. Yaakov Menken says:

    Oh please. Name-calling? A close staffer, if not chief of staff, of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s for two decades should hardly resent being termed a dedicated Democrat. Would “career Democrat” be better? I agree with him that Pataki and D’Amato were far better than the alternatives, but call me unconvinced. Since there are no logical reasons to imagine that Obama and Romney are merely equal as far as their friendliness to Israel, and a mountain of evidence to the contrary, I admit it leaves me scratching my head as to why Dr. Luchins might imagine it to be so.

    Now as far as “playing the race card,” does the hypocrisy know no bounds? What I said was factually accurate, and in a truly race-blind world Obama’s career wouldn’t exist as a result of his association with Wright (among other reasons).

    Meanwhile, for claiming that Obama was too “lazy” and “disengaged” to prepare for his debate against Romney, NH Governor John Sununu was called a “racist,” although his assessment had nothing to do with dated stereotypes and everything to do with the fact that Obama himself called debate preparation “a drag” and spent his time at the Hoover Dam instead.

    If you want to see where the race card is being played, just Google “Stacey Dash” and you will no longer wonder why 0% — literally, 0% — of Black Americans are willing to admit to unnamed callers (claiming to be pollsters) that they plan to vote for Romney. Barbara Walters (hardly a Republican operative) said it directly on The View, that the attacks on Dash are specifically because she’s a black woman and not supporting the black candidate.

  6. Daniel says:

    Rabbi Menken: Too strung out; focus on your best arguments; stick to the issue of Israel.

    We know that conservatives tend to take Israel’s side, and that liberals tend to take the palestianian side. We know that about half or more of the attendance at the DNC take the palestinian side.

    That much is not debatable. And should tell us something about the democrats we elect.

    I get that Dr. Luchins thinks that nevertheless Obama will help us, either because he thinks it is in America’s best interest or because he thinks the electorate likes it. But the electorate is no longer relevant after the election. We can still bicker about predicting what he will do. The only point I think he should agree with me, is that it is delusional to continue thinking that Democrat politicians personally take Israel’s side in this fight.

  7. Mr. Cohen says:

    Yaakov Menken said:
    Obama was caught on an open microphone sharing how little he likes dealing with Netanyahu, and (at the very least) silently acquiescing to Sarkozy’s claim that Bibi is a liar.

    Romney, on the other hand, was caught on hidden camera saying that it is obvious that the Palestinians do not truly want peace, and remain committed to the destruction of Israel — and for that reason, “this is going to remain an unsolved problem.”

    Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

    It was worth writing that entire article just for those two sentences.

  8. david luchins says:

    The vsast majority of elected officials of both parties are pro-Israel.Just ask AIPAC! Also , Reb Daniel, I thought only people willing to sign their full names were invited to comment on Yaakov’s’increasingly shrill opinionsl

  9. Daniel says:

    Thank you Dr. Luchins.

    I am aware that is AIPAC’s position; I believe that is an attempt to avoid politicizing Israel–which I think is a good idea. I do not support writing articles like this one. However, I know that my liberal friends do not support Israel, while my conservative friends do. And I know that op-eds written by liberals do not support Israel, while the likes of Charles Krauthammer do. I think the old liberals like Alan Dershowitz who supported Israel are becoming an anachronism (did I use that word correctly? I didn’t go to college.)

    I don’t post my full name because of employment concerns, but if you must know, my official title in Orthodox circles is Rav.

  10. Tal Benschar says:

    The vast majority of elected officials of both parties are pro-Israel.Just ask AIPAC!

    This raises something I wanted to comment on. Putting aside Obama and his administration, it should be clear to any objective observer that support for Israel is becoming more and more of a partisan distinction. On the Republican side, I think there is a deep, grass-roots sympathy for Israel, mostly as a Western country facing a sea of Islamic opposition and terrorism, and to some extent for Christian eschatological reasons. Not surprisingly, most Republican politicians follow suit.

    On the Democratic side, OTOH, although many politicians are sympathetic, the grass-roots support is on the wane. This summer’s fiasco over the Jerusalem plank is one symptom of this phenomenum — the majority of delegates were hostile to that plank, and it was only the Orwellian intervention of the Democratic party chairwoman (that told the person to count the voice-vote as supporting) that saved the day. This seems to me part and parcel of the general trend in both the US and abroad — with some notable exceptions, those on the right tend to be more sympathetic and those on the less more antagonistic to Israel, and the trend appears to be deepening.

    I can see how for Jews, even Orthodox Jews, of a certain generation, this can make them very uncomfortable, but I think it is reality.

    Lord Palmerston once opined “Her majesty’s Government has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies-only permanent interests” So should we.

    Yes, that is precisely the point that many of us have been making. There seems to be, in many Jewish circles, including many Orthodox circles, and almost knee-jerk devotion to the Democratic party. That might have made sense in 1930 or even 1970, but one wonders whether it make sense today.

  11. Bob Miller says:

    We should not exonerate the Presidents Bush and their foreign policy people for their own acts against Israel, but President Obama has done far more damage and plans yet more if we don’t retire him.

  12. L. Oberstein says:

    What if Obama does win re-election and he remembers that we were against him? Isn’t it important for some orthodox Jews to have entre to his circle? I don’t know about Axelrod, who was raised secular, if not leftist,but, Jack Lew is a shomer shabbos Jew. As chief of staff, he sees the President more than anyone else every day, I think. I am not voting for him this time but I do think chances are he will be re-elected and I am concerned that we have burned bridges to the Leader of the Free World.
    As far as not supporting the Democrats, what makes one think that either party today is doing what is in the best interests of the people. Both are dominated by wealthy donors with agendas. Members of Congress and others who regulate aspire to make money when they leave and are open to influence peddlers. Long term planning for energy independence, long term solutions to medicare bankruptsy,an immigration policy that would allow in guest workers to pick our crops and scientists to keep America number one are just a few of the issues that can’t be dealt with in a reasonable way. I don’t care if it is a Republican or a Democratic solution as long as it works, but we have gridlock. I find the almost universal disdain for the Democratic Party by many heimishe yiddin to be overblown. Sure, they want a lot of things we don’t,but that is not all that the party stands for. The Republicans have their issues also. I wish we could do away with both of these tired and corrup parties and have a better system that was not so dominated by money from rich people with agendas. Why pretend we have democracy when the very rich have the power and we are pawns.

  13. Bob Miller says:

    Why pretend we are pawns? We still have some leverage as a voting bloc.

  14. L. Oberstein says:

    No matter which party is the majority, they need hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise and campaign. Does anything think that the billionairs give money without expecting something in return?
    Every study shows that the top earners are doing better than ever financially and the rest of the country has stagnant or declinging income.
    Democracy shouldn’t work this way.We should be able to elect the most qualified people to govern us and instead we have candidates who can pass an endurance test equvilant to a triathelon. Have you ever wondered why there are no really great leaders anywhere in the world today? To run for office in the USA one has to be able to look good, raise lots of money and pander to the base and what Eisenhauer called the Military Industrial Complex. Congress is deadlocked and reapportionment has made it worse than ever. Districts are so polarized that a moderate doesn’t stand a chance in many districts.
    Aside from that, thank G-d, we have a democratic tradition in this country and free elections which change parties from time to time.It could be worse. As far as voting blocs are concerned, Jews used to be 4% of the US population, now they are 2% and New York is not a swing state any longer,nor is California. The biggst leverage is in local elections and the fact that many of the fat cats are Jewish.That AIPAC is so strong has a lot to do with the wealth of many of their leaders and how they spread their donations.

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