The Best Case for Obama

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30 Responses

  1. Mr. Cohen says:

    President Obama did everything he could to humiliate the Prime Minister of Israel,
    for example, pointing his feet at him and forcing him to use the side entrance
    to the White House, as if he were a servant.

    In contrast, President Obama literally bowed down to the King of Saudi Arabia
    and led Muslims in prayer at the White House.

    If President Obama is re-elected, he will try to throw Israel under the bus.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    If we’re a wise and discerning nation, 2012 is the time to begin to establish that at the polls. Those of our leaders who have thrown in with the rapidly sinking welfare state, and with those who constantly threaten Israel behind the scenes, have some explaining to do.

  3. Dovid Shlomo says:

    I agree that Obama’s stance toward Israel makes it unconscionable for a committed Jew to vote for him.

    However, here’s an argument for Obama that you left out: Universal access to Health Care.

    Yes, vote against Obama (I will do so as well), but don’t be so gleeful about it, as it means turning one’s back on the very precious Torah value of how society should be structured.

  4. Dan says:

    The interesting thing to notice in articles like this is that if you have strong convictions that lead you to support a certain party (in Jonathan Rosenblum’s case, to support Republicans), you will interpret the reality to fit your existing convictions.
    So, if you’re a democrat, then Obama has been doing a good job with the economy (“he got it bad and is improving it”)
    If you’re a republican, then Obama “got it bad, and made it worse”..

  5. James says:

    “The economy left for future generations of Americans will be strangled by debt unless spending and entitlements are dramatically cut.”

    Wrong. You can also raise revenue.

  6. Phil says:


    That’s a brilliant strategy for a stagnant economy and will work just as well as Keynesian deficit spending has.

  7. L. Oberstein says:

    Since I rarely if ever write that I agree with Jonathan on politics, I have to say that this time we agree.
    Several of my children have ,in all seriousness, said that my decision not to support Obama brought tears to them . As Shira said, she knows how much I am committed to the ideals and goals of the Democratic Party, I really do have profound differences with the policies of the current Republican Party, but I cannot vote for Obama in this election. The fact that the rank and file of the party did this sneaky and deliberate act of taking pro Israel rhetoric out of the platform indicates to me that they are identifying more and more with the deligitimization of Israel that is so prevalent in much of Europe. I see this much deeper than the headlines, I see this as a real threat to Israel.
    One has to realize that the US government has no intention of moving the embassy to Jerusalem and the wording in the platform is just an empty promise never meant to be fulfilled. However, taking it out shows a hostility to Israel and identification of Israel as an illegal occupier of another’s land. Taking it out is a big thing.

    I think both parties are off the path and that neither one has all the answers. The United States cannot abandon the social safety net, cannot reduce support for education so that this country becomes second rate, cannot expel the millions of immigrants who do all the hard work in this country as well as the smart Asians who should be working for Microsoft in the US instead of abroad. The policies of the Tea Party are dangerous and very narrow minded and short sighted.The Republican Party is being held hostage by its fringe,which is using popular frustration to turn back the clock and make the rich richer and the poor, poorer. If this is what I deeply believe, than the fact that I am abandoning the Party at this juncture is a sign of how angry and disgusted I am with Obama’s amateurish and counter productive attempts to force Israel into a dangerous deal through tough love. He became President too soon in his career and is not up to the job.

    Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are on the horizon. Let us all pray that this year will be one of peace and tranquility for Israel and for the world.

  8. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    I am unsure as to how I will vote, but the case for President Obama is a whole lot stronger than you present it as.

    Foreign policy: 1) Obama has significantly increased the use of drone attacks to eliminate terrorists. He has even used such attacks to eliminate American citizens much to the chagrin of Human Rights groups. 2) Obama gave the order to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. 3) He has not closed Guantanmo Bay. 4)America has been safe from terrorist attack for four years. 4) He scuttled Palestinian plans for statehood at the UN. 5)He substantially increased sanctions on Iran and had them thrown out of the SWIFT banking group. 5) He used American force effectively in Libya. 6) He was instrumental in the rescue of Israeli Embassy staff in Egypt. 7) He has provided extra funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense.

    Domestic Policy. 1) He rescued the US automakers. 2) The stock market is at its pre-recession highs. 3) The bailout (arguably) helped prevent the collapse of the US banking system. 4)The Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers use 85% of premiums on Health Care costs and refund any excess amounts. Children can now stay on their parents plan until age 26. People with preexisting conditions cannot be denied insurance. Lifetime benefit caps have been removed. Furthermore, the universal mandate will help lower insurance premiums by expanding the insurance pool. 5)Student loan reform will help more people get an education and help prepare them for the jobs of the future.

    Mitt Romney promises to repeal “Obamacare”. What will he replace it with? He threatens a trade war with China by threatening to label them as currency manipulators. He promises tax cuts but how will he fund them? He says he will close loopholes in the tax code but he refuses to identify which ones. Paul Ryan plans on cutting Medicare grants to the states.

    The Kollel/Yeshiva system in America exists on Government largess. Cutting the social safety net is probably not the answer to America’s woes. Tax cuts for the rich(or not so rich), trickle down economics, and capitalism without proper government regulations does not work. Over the past decades the American middle class has seen a decrease in their spending power. The Republicans know that their policies of the past have been a failure and that is why past Republican presidents were nowhere to be seen at the RNC convention in Tampa. On the other hand the Democrats were proud to showcase Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at their convention in Charlotte.

    Romney’s one trip overseas was a failure. He managed to offend the British and pick a fight with the Palestinians for no good reason.

    I believe that Romney does have the upper hand on social issues and that the Republican party does have a more hawkish pro-Israel base. However that does not necessarily weigh the scales in their favor.

  9. James says:


    Cross-Currents is not the place to debate economic policy. I will just note that there is nothing worse for a stagnant economy than reduced spending and non-partisan studies (like those of the CBO) confirm that the stimulus saved jobs that otherwise would have been eliminated.

    My point was to show that if a deficit is the result of higher outlays than revenues, it is dishonest to state that the only way to reduce that deficit is to reduce spending. I was not advocating for one particular policy over another and was not advocating for increased taxes at this moment.

  10. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Mr. Oberstein:

    Do you really agree with Jonathan Rosenblum? Rabbi Rosenblum favors taking apart the safety net in any way possible. He has argued that employer-paid health insurance was a mistake, because it took health care out of the marketplace and allowed for inflated costs.

    In 1992, when the Republicans were running Bush 41, the most anti-Israel president since Eisenhower (and Dulles), rabbonim such as Avigdor Miller and Rav Shimon Schwab argued that HaShem would take care of Israel and voters should worry about the US. Clinton, they argued, would cause a moral decline, and therefore we were obliged to vote for Bush 41.

    When push comes to shove, there will be little difference on Israel and Jerusalem between a Romney administration and a contiuance of Obama. The only question is: Does the Torah command us to vote like rednecks?

  11. L. Oberstein says:

    Lawrence, or do they call you Larry, we are on the same team. I honestly believe in the values of the Democratic Party of Truman and Johnson and have often expressed my disagreements with those who think we have common cause with the present day Republicans. My children feel very sorry for me at the moment. Several of them say that they cried when they read my comment because they know how deeply I believe in what I believe in. However, when it comes to Israel, I have to think about the precarious state of the State of Israel, the worry I have is that Obama doesn’t have the guts to do what may be necessary and I am afraid of Israel being left alone to deal with a nuclear Iran. I have to shelve the other concerns in the interests of Israel. I am a one issue voter in this situation.
    On the other hand, Obama will most probably win. My vote in Maryland won’t alter his victory by a long shot. What he needs to see is not how I think but how his millionaire donors feel. I believe that the National Jewish Democratic Coalition is more Democrat than Jewish. They write to me daily,as does Michelle,etc. emphasizing gay rights and abortion on demand as the pillars of the party. I don’t subscribe to that.
    One other major fact. My son,Yoni, just finished basic training and is in a combat unit of the Israeli Army. That has a lot to do with my decision.

  12. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Vote your conscience, whatever that is. I know that Obama is a symbol of a sea-change in America which should be frightening to Jewish and Christian Americans. If you think otherwise, vote otherwise. But I firmly believe that the last 64 years of history should have taught us that we as Jews have a G-d-given opportunity in history to come home to Eretz Yisrael. A Jew can live as a Jew in Eretz Yisrael despite some ugly manifestations of hatred for Torah. A Jew can make a living in Eretz Yisrael as never before in history. A Jew can educate his/her children in Eretz Yisrael for a fraction of what it costs in America despite having to give up the posh private-school shtick of the MO day school. You will have to rub elbows with your fellow Jews daily with no cool WASPs for buffers. Live with it. It’s worth it.

  13. Robert Lebovits says:

    Dovid Shlomo: Universal health INSURANCE, as mandated by Obamacare, is not the same as universal ACCESS to health care. As the government assumes greater and greater control over price-fixing in the delivery of services – which is the real meaning of “cost containment” – the number of providers who will acccept these patients will diminish, ultimately leading to rationing. That consequence is already evident in Medicare and will only expand if the reimbursement rates continue to fall. If the government subsequently mandates that all practitioners must accept Obamacare patients, you will see a spiraling shortage of providers further exacerbating rationing. Obamacare is a cure worse than the disease.

  14. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Mr Reisman,

    Employer paid healthcare is a huge mistake. It unfairly discriminates against the self-employed and unemployed who must buy inflated individual plans with pretax dollars. It causes Healthcare premiums to rise because the employee doesn’t feel the pain of the increase therefore negating the rules of supply and demand. Furthermore if an employee loses his job he loses his insurance. If healthcare was unhinged from the employer true market forces would prevail. I am in favor of Universal Healthcare but absent that, the minimum that should be done is to let individuals buy their own healthcare.

    The arguments of Rav Miller and Rav Schwalb would actually make the case against voting for President Obama as his positions on same gender marriage and reproductive health are products of moral decline. One can argue Hashem will take care of America’s poor if we would only vote for the traditional values candidate.

    Otherwise I agree with your post.

  15. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Employer-paid health care may be a huge mistake (and there is a strong argument to be made), but in today’s environment, it’s all that’s there for some people. “True market forces” will not drive the cost down if there aren’t enough people who can afford it. If you took away all the employer-provided healthcare in the US, do you think that employers would pay that money to their employees in the form of cash wages? Of course not. They would retain the money to increase their profits.

    Kanoly, Avigdor Miller always argued that were were required to vote Republican because they stood for the right values. He made no bones about it. My point was that Israel is just a pretext to vote Republican for most people in the Orthodox community. We’d vote Republican no matter what, because we believe that the Torah commands us to be rednecks.

    Mr. Oberstein, if Mitt Romney and the Republicans win this fall, we should pray that Moshiach comes, that Israel solves all its problems with all its neighbors while Romney is in power, or that the Republicans manage to repair the economny and either keep the safety net or make it unnecessary. If the economy does not improve and the safety net is dismantled, you will see a far more radical Democratic party coming to power, and they will be far less pro-Israel than the Obama administration. That means that if Israel hasn’t solved all its problems with Iran and the Arabs by 2016, it will be faced with an administration far more hostile than we can imagine now.

  16. A. Schreiber says:

    R. Oberstein, when you sa “Obama will probably win”, you are reflecting that you naturally hang around with democrats and read democrat-leaning media. From the GOP side, most of us are pretty confident Romney is going to win. The polls show them neck and neck, and polls always skew leftwards. [Drudge showed a 1984 Gallup poll yesterday showing Mondale beating Regan.] All the Red states that temporarily went Blue in the doomed 2008 campaign are coming back, and even states like Oregon and Wisconsin are trending republican locally. We could be wrong too, of course. The point is, anyone who says either of the candidates will “probably” win is just engaging in wishful thinking or rank sepeculation.

  17. Phil says:


    I get it, vote for the Democrats because if they lose this time they’ll be even more hostile and crazy next time around. Makes perfect sense; and you mock those who vote Republican?

  18. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Phil: The Democratic party is a large tent, and it includes those who are more hostile to Israel than the present leadership. What moves the Democrats to the center on all issues is the need for support from the largest number of voters they can get. If both the economy and the support network tank under a Republican administration, the Democrats could win an election with a ticket of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. If you think the Republicans can fix the economy and keep the country content with them, by all means vote Republican. However, if you are liberal-minded and are voting Republican because of Israel (and to my mind, there wouldn’t be a big difference between the two parties as regards Israel), then you’d better hope that things don’t get worse.

    What I’m mocking is those who claim they’re voting Republican only because of Israel, when they would vote conservative no matter what position either party had on Israel. As far as I’m concerned, they’re being dishonest.

  19. L. Oberstein says:

    General Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA and now an advisor to Romney said on TV this morning that it is fair to criticize the foreign policy of this administration. The riots and anti American rage all over the Arab world today have to have some effect on policy. Is it good for the Jews or bad for the Jews? Will it show the Americans that Israel is its only reliable ally and friend in that area or will it further drive America into isolationism? I know that I would love to just say, ignore those crazy people in the Middle East and worry about our economy,but we can’t do it. In the context of the Iranian threat, would an Israeli/US attack on Iranian nuclear facilities further inflame the Arabs, the Sunis who hate the Shiites but seem to hate everyone else even more. My hope and prayer is that Obama and whoever wins this election does indeed see Israel as worth defending and that the alliance is based on mutual interests that supercede political calculations. That being said, is Obama willing and able to do what needs to be done(whatever that is) to stop Iran before it is too late or will wishful thinking overcome cold calculation? The Democrats who took Jerusalem out of the platform are part of a Western European trend that ultimately questions the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Those apologists who say it was just a misunderstanding and no big deal (that is what they write to me) are failing to see how this may be a serious sea change. In the end, we really are a lot better off if we have belief in the One Above because that is the way to see some light at the end of the tunnel. One more point, even my died in the wool Republican friends (who like me a little more now) tell me that Romney is going to lose. Gong to war with Iran is not in the cards for Obama now or ever, in my opinion, but what to do I know. May we all be inscribed and sealed for a year of peace, health and nachas from our children.

  20. Bob Miller says:

    Learn the facts, make up your mind, and vote. The campaign horserace with its vast spending is a distraction.

  21. Phil says:


    As far as I’m concerned, those who say that there wouldn’t be a big difference between the two parties as regards Israel are being dishonest. The current administration has treated Israel and its leaders in a very disrespectful manner and are dismissive of the existential threats against it.

  22. Reb Yid says:

    Both Israeli and American officials acknowledge that the level of security assistance to Israel has never been higher.

    If you want to talk about disrespect, Bibi has taken it to a new level by very visibly injecting himself repeatedly into US electoral and presidential election politics, on the eve of them in America. I cannot think of another Israeli PM who has ever come close to doing this.

    Imagine if a US President actively did the same to an Israeli PM. If Obama wins, Bibi might see his tactics boomerang on him, and he will have absolutely no-one but himself to blame.

  23. Crazy Kanoiy says:


    If Healthcare Insurance would stop being provided by the employer one of two things would happen. One the market pressure would force a reduction in price, or two the price would remain high and pressure would build for real universal healthcare. Having the employer pay premiums only helps to mask the problem from the public, while also creating an inherently unfair tax break.

  24. Lawrence M. Reisman says:


    You are right about employer-provided healthcare masking the problem of rising costs from the public. However, at the same time, employers, especially large ones, have more bargaining power to keep those costs down than do individual consumers. So it’s six of one and half-dozen of another.

    Reb Yid:

    Are you old enough to remember the 1972 election? The Israeli ambassador to the US, Yitzchak Rabin, actively worked for Nixon’s re-election, which paid off in the Yom Kippur War, and the backfired spectacularly when Nixon burned out due to Watergate, and nearly ended Rabin’s political career. History repeats itself.

  25. Phil says:

    Reb Yid,

    Not true; Bibi has not injected himself into the US election and has not said that he favors any candidate. As a matter of fact, it was DNC Chairwoman Debby Wasserman Schultz who injected Israel into the election by falsely claiming the Israeli Ambassador told her that he favors Obama over Romney, which he denied saying and then she denied saying, until recordings of her saying so were released.

    Bibi Netanyahu is deeply concerned over the existential threat from Iran to Israel’s 6 million Jews and rightfully so, that’s his #1 job.

    When you mention a U.S. President actively injecting himself into an Israeli election, you must be referring to President Clinton back in 1999, who even sent his trusted advisor James Carville to Israel to assist Ehud Barak in defeating Bibi Netanyahu.

  26. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Reb Yid:

    One more thing. Bill Clinton as president made a point of actively supporting Labor in the election after Rabin’s death that brought Bibi to power the first time. I doubt he is the only US president who intervened in a foreign election. Of course, such interventions don’t arouse the same outrage on our part as when others do it to us. And others don’t remember how much they resented it when they try the same tactics in the US.

  27. Reb Yid says:

    Phil and Lawrence:

    No, the top public rebuff remains by far Bush I and what his Secretary of State Baker did, with the “if you’re serious about peace” line. Bad enough that they were threatening to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees.

    And neither Clinton nor any President appealed directly to the Israeli people, as Bibi has been doing with the American public. He is finding every opportunity he can to flaunt any opening, any distance, between the two countries, no matter the level of extremely close cooperation that exists on so many levels. And no matter the billions of dollars that this Administration is providing him.

  28. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Reb Yid:

    I think you are splitting hairs as to what Bibi is doing as opposed to what Clinton did (or for that matter Rabin did in 1972). It was still an active intervention in a foreign election. But I do agree with you that Bush 41 and Baker were the worst since Eisenhower and Dulles. (Why was Pharoh a better ruler than Bush 41? He knew what to do with his baker!) I also agree with you that Bibi is making a big mistake, which will backfire badly if Obama is re-elected and even worse if Romney is elected and things go downhill.

  29. Crazy Kanoiy says:


    You write “employers, especially large ones, have more bargaining power to keep those costs down than do individual consumers.” This fact is essence of the problem. The costs of Healthcare are not spread evenly. Employees of large companies get the lowest rates and best coverage while everybody else pays inflated premiums. The employees of small companies suffer and the self employed suffer more because they must buy coverage with pre-tax dollars.

    The current system has more flaws than benefits. Its time to level the playing field and to expose Healthcare costs for what they are by stopping employer provided Healthcare.

  30. Crazy Kanoiy says:


    You write “employers, especially large ones, have more bargaining power to keep those costs down than do individual consumers.” This fact is the essence of the problem. Healthcare costs are not spread evenly. Employees of large companies get the lowest rates and best coverage while everybody else pays inflated premiums. The employees of small companies suffer and the self employed suffer more because they must buy coverage with pre-tax dollars.

    The current system has more flaws than benefits. Its time to level the playing field and to expose Healthcare costs for what they are by stopping employer provided Healthcare.

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