Accepting Reality: the US Politics Edition

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It is interesting to see how far partisans are willing to stretch (or flatly deny) obvious facts. I don’t know what motivates either David Luchins or some of the commenters (notably Charles Hall), but I don’t think either is being objective or even particularly rational. [On one point I agree with Dr. Luchins (whom I know personally and respect greatly) entirely: if you’re going to disagree with someone in a public forum, you should be willing to tie your name to your work. That’s a post for another time, but I will request and require that comments to this post be accompanied by the author’s real name in order to be published.]

I will start with Israel, because that’s where the discussion of Dr. Luchin’s article has led.

It is true that Obama not visiting Israel, by itself, is not particularly troublesome. But the fact that Israel’s Interior Ministry approved a tender for previously-approved settlement construction during Biden’s visit has never before been equated (by anyone even remotely pro-Israel) with bad treatment of Biden, much less exploited to justify the deliberate mistreatment of Netanyahu by Obama himself.

Speaking of settlements, what truly beggars explanation is why Obama infamously demanded a settlement freeze as a prerequisite for further negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians — rather than something to be negotiated. This is perhaps the single most significant American political misstep in the entire misguided peace process. Meaning, until now at least the Americans were doing everything they could to keep the negotiations moving. Obama, by comparison, required that Israel stop building on land that all previous administrations understood that Israel would keep (something which Obama himself purported to understand, in his reference to “land swaps”). Abbas himself blamed this on Obama to Newsweek:

He told me bluntly that Obama had led him on, and then let him down by failing to keep pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank last year. “It was Obama who suggested a full settlement freeze,” Abbas explained. “I said OK, I accept. We both went up the tree. After that, he came down with a ladder and he removed the ladder and said to me, jump. Three times he did it.”

It is true that the resulting complete halt in these “negotiations” is about the best possible outcome for Israel. This was the “attempt to ‘shrink Israel'” to which Dr. Luchins referred. [I should add that I have found no indication that Condoleeza Rice said the goal was to “shrink Israel” or anything of the kind, and, if so, it is unjustified to put these words in her mouth; she was apparently discussing the peace negotiations, which we pro-Israel partisans (realists) recognize means Israel giving up more territory for terrorist bases. It was Bill Clinton, of course, who got this particular ball rolling, early in his first term.] The Obama-induced halt, though indeed the best those with more realistic eyesight could hope for, is evidence not of Obama favoring Israel, but of his utter lack of experience and wisdom, his ineptness, and quite possibly his antipathy.

Romney, for his part, will quite possibly not seek to restart those negotiations — but for entirely different reasons, ones vastly more in accordance with our own. You see, 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.” One who fails to appreciate the difference between the two really does not need a voting booth, but a padded room.

Can Charles Hall document for us how many other state leaders made a specific request to meet with Obama during the UN GA session? Can he document how many leaders volunteered to travel to Washington, DC for that specific purpose? Obama slammed the door on Netanyahu, which even Reuters, hardly known for pro-Israel partisanship, called a “snub” and a “highly unusual rebuff to a close ally.”

As far as the claim that the evidence of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitism relies upon a few “possibly out of context videos,” and we could find similar videos of Orthodox Rabbis if filming were allowed on Shabbos… well, let’s have a brief look at what it is Mr. Hall is dismissing.

As reported by the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, VA, Wright showed up at the annual Hampton University Minister’s Conference shortly after his former congregant took office. Wright told the paper that he’d like to talk to Obama, but:

“Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me,” Wright said. “I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office. …

“They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. … I said from the beginning: He’s a politician; I’m a pastor. He’s got to do what politicians do.”

Wright also said Obama should have sent a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism held recently in Geneva, Switzerland, but that the president did not for fear of offending Jews and Israel. He specifically cited the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

“Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing (by) the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel,” Wright said.

I’m sure that was out of context.

Earlier this year, Wright was one of the backers and advisers of the “Global March to Jerusalem,” an attempt to organize a massive march to “Palestine” in order to stop what it called “the deliberate and systematic attempts to expel and reduce the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population of the city [of Jerusalem] as part of the policy called ‘Judaisation,’ which is being applied to every part of historic Palestine.”

In addition to the Reverend Wright, other participants in the “global march” included Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The logo of the march features an image of the entirety of Israel in Hamas green. Was that out of context, too?

Considering how Obama has acted towards Netanyahu and Israel, it is only rational to question the sincerity of his disavowal of the minister upon whom his family depended for spiritual guidance for two decades.

But needless to say, that’s not all that Obama has “accomplished.”

He promised us a new era in Muslim-American relations, given his own background. As Egyptians were throwing objects at the American Embassy in Cairo, the embassy, under guidance from Obama’s state department, demonstrated its friendship by continuing to issue comments on Twitter to disavow and apologize for the publication of a YouTube video disrespectful of Mohammed. When the Libyan ambassador was murdered, the administration claimed that this was more of the same, a protest about the video. They kept this up for over two weeks, despite the fact that there is not a single report to document that protesters surrounded the Libyan embassy — as the administration has now admitted, it was a full-scale terrorist military assault on the compound, expressly targeting the Ambassador, conducted by Al-Qaeda terrorists on the anniversary of 9/11.

The first murder of an American ambassador in three decades came in the wake of the failure of the State Department to approve the continued higher levels of protection which, according to Eric Nordstrom, the top security official in Libya earlier this year, and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who led a Site Security Team of 16 soldiers in Libya, was urgently needed. As Nordstrom told a congressional hearing on Wednesday, “all of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources.” The person most responsible for declining the request, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Charlene Lamb, told Nordstrom that “there would be too much political cost” to extending the presence of the security team. True to form, she also refused to call the attackers “terrorists” even when asked directly by Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana.

According to Obama’s deputy campaign manager, the “entire reason” this is a political issue is “because of Mitt Romney” — not, of course, because it evidences an appalling, but entirely consistent, placement of political appearances ahead of American lives.

Why do I call it consistent? Because from the beginning, Obama has been nothing more than political appearance. He had no record, merely “hope and change.” Having discussed foreign policy, let’s see how that played out at home.

Obama promised us bipartisan action to create jobs. Instead he gave us ObamaCare, a singularly partisan effort which we were told we would have to approve so we could find out what’s in it, and which the people of Massachusetts (which had preferred Obama over McCain by over 25 percentage points in 2008) gave Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat to a Republican in a desperate attempt to halt. As summed up by Dr. Barbara Bellar, a physician, college professor, lawyer, Army major, and state senate candidate in Illinois:

We are going to be gifted with a health care plan that we are forced to purchase, and fined if we don’t, which reportedly covers 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman doesn’t understand it, passed by Congress, that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that is broke.

So what the blank could possibly go wrong?

Well, for one, we are already losing jobs. Multiple restaurants, in particular, are already trying to keep hourly workers under 30 hours in order to avoid ObamaCare coverage requirements. This is not because they are callous about their workers, but because ObamaCare will slash already thin profit margins in half, overnight.

Immediately after the passage of ObamaCare, AT&T announced that it would take a $1 billion charge against its earnings due to resulting tax changes, slashing its profitability by one third. Democrats in Congress reacted by threatening to hold hearings demanding that AT&T explain itself.

Apparently, Obama’s supporters are unable to discern why employers are reluctant to hire more full-time workers in the current environment, instead doing everything they can to hold people to part-time work, resulting in not only high levels of unemployment, but even higher levels of underemployment as well. This isn’t rocket science.

Oh… and one other point. If we learned last week how little the President has to say for himself, we learned last night that the man a heartbeat from the presidency is about as professional and courteous as a schoolyard bully. He knew that the candidate to replace him knew the current administration’s multiple areas of incompetence, had concrete plans to improve matters, and could express them articulately if given the opportunity to complete a sentence. It is little wonder that preventing Ryan from doing so was Biden’s primary goal.

If you are looking for another four years of a sick economy, of unfulfilled dreams of the same number of doctors treating 10 million more people for less money, of enemies around the world exploiting American weakness, and an American relationship with Israel going from bad to worse, by all means, vote to reelect Obama.

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L. Oberstein
2 years 10 months ago

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.

Bob Miller
2 years 10 months ago

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

L. Oberstein
2 years 10 months ago

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.

Bob Miller
2 years 10 months ago

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.

Tal Benschar
2 years 10 months ago

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.