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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
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Four More Years

When it came to Obama’s foreign policy, I gave him points for supporting Israel with deeds, if not so much with warmth.

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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

Once again I find myself congratulating the man I did not vote for. Barack Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term as President of the United States.

As I said in my endorsement of his opponent, the President is a good and decent man. I don’t think he has been a bad President. He just hasn’t been a great President. His economic policies have not done enough to improve the economy. I thought a return to a more Reagan like approach was the way to go. But the country disagreed. Taxes will now increase and I don’t see how taking money out of the hands of the consumer is going to get that consumer to spend more.

When it came to Obama’s foreign policy, I gave him points for supporting Israel with deeds, if not so much with warmth. A lack of warmth that I attribute to his antipathy towards Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Not to the Jewish people. I in fact firmly believe that he has very warm feelings towards the Jewish people, genuine respect for Judaism, and a strong commitment to Israel’s survival as a Jewish State. Although I might disagree with him about how we get there.

The American people have spoken. By a very slim margin in the popular vote and by a huge margin in the electoral vote President Obama will be serving this great nation for another four years. Congratulations Mr. President.

I first want to echo what Governor Romney said in his concession speech: I hope and pray that the President succeeds in his task of restoring the economy to one of prosperity and in his goal to secure Israel’s existence. I also hope that he stays the course in his determination to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. I only pray that he does not wait too long to take military action if (and I emphasized “if”) it is needed.

My biggest concern with respect to Israel is that comment he made to Putin about having more flexibility after the election. I’m not sure what that means. But if it means pressuring Israel to make more concessions without some sort of quid pro quo from the Palestinians, that is not a formula for peace. It is a formula for instability and terrorism on the part of the Islamists who will take advantage of any weakness caused by American pressure on Israel. But all that remains to be seen.

What direction Obama’s foreign policy will take can be seen by who the President chooses as Secretary of State for his 2nd term. My hope is that he will take someone that is not “more even handed” which is a code word for pro Palestinian.

Among the candidates I have heard mentioned by pundits for the post is John Kerry. Not a fan. He claims to be pro Israel. But I don’t trust this opportunistic flip-flopper.

I wonder if the President has considered Joe Lieberman. I know he’s available. And his foreign policy credentials are impeccable. As is his integrity. If the President does not want to be surrounded by “yes men” then Joe Lieberman would be a good choice.

Of course it will probably not be either one of those men. We’ll see. As I indicated – who the President picks will foreshadow what direction his foreign policy will take. I sure hope it is someone more like Lieberman than it is someone like Kerry.

I have also heard the name Jack Lew mentioned as a possible new Secretary of the Treasury to replace Tim Geithner. That too would be a good choice. Lew was the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Bill Clinton. The OMB is a cabinet level White House office that devises and submits the president’s annual budget proposal to Congress. It sure would be nice to go back to the Clinton Era economy…

I mentioned at the time of my endorsement of Romney that it took me a while to decide who to vote for. That’s because I didn’t see all that much of a difference in policy with respect to the Middle East, nor did I see any solutions to our economic problems coming out of either candidate. This is still true. We will have to wait what happens. As I said, I hope the President succeeds in returning the economy to Clinton era prosperity. I hope his foreign policy benefits the State of Israel. And that his domestic policies benefit the country.

The country is divided. The demographic blocs that voted for each candidate tells the story. Social and religious conservatives favored Romney and the social and religious liberals favored Obama. The popular vote was almost evenly divided. It appears that we are headed down a socially liberal track. Is that good for the Jews? In some cases it is. And in other cases it isn’t. Too big a topic for this post to go into detail. Perhaps another day.

I would like to address the Obama haters. Please get over it. He won. And he is not the devil you all portray him to be. The venom I sometimes see coming out against him by normally sane, rational, and intelligent people is shocking. And it is reprehensible. I don’t know what causes such hatred of the man.

The “reasons” I have heard for this hatred are either completely untrue, or extremely exaggerated. To the point of being ridiculous: He is a Muslim. He is a socialist or even a Marxist. He is a liar. He was not born in America. He’s anti Israel. He’s pro Arab. He is a closet anti Semite because of his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright… and so on. None of that is true.

I truly do not understand this hatred at all. One can disagree without being disagreeable. The visceral hatred I sometimes see for this man is so irrational you would think we were talking about Yassir Arafat… or Karl Marx… or worse! During the Presidential campaign the anti Obama rhetoric was so over the top you would think that a 2nd Obama term would be a precursor to another Depression or Holocaust.

Those of you who think living in America under a 2nd Obama term is the end of the world… well you don’t have to live here. I’m sure Israel would love to have new Olim (immigrants). What better time than now to do so with a depression or Holocaust in the offing?! (Of course we should all be thinking about making Aliya. But certainly not because we want to run away from Obama. But that is a different conversation.)

Please. Some of the rhetoric is so bad it is a Chilul HaShem. Especially when it comes out of the mouths of religious Jews. Let cooler heads prevail. Let us give the man the 2nd chance he deserves. And the respect that the leader of the free world deserves. Anything less is unacceptable.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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