web analytics
May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


J.E. Dyer: America – This time, it’s personal

American flag

Photo Credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90

I believe the Obama campaign is wasting its time with attacks on Mitt Romney.  That doesn’t mean Team Obama will wise up; it has only a few tricks in its bag, and it deploys them over and over.  But it does mean that the public is inured to the Obama shtick.  There’s no there there, and increasingly, the people know it.

There’s something else about this election that tends to rob the trademark Obama demagoguery of its effect.  A growing number of Americans perceive our nation to be at a turning point (or a precipice; choose your metaphor).  If Romney were a more galvanizing candidate for conservative Republicans, there would be a greater tendency to associate him with the prospect of an American turn-around, on the order of the Reagan presidency.

But Romney is not the object of widespread enthusiasm.  He comes across as a decent, accomplished man who wants to do the right thing, but he is perfectly comfortable with big government, and seems to have no philosophical underpinnings: certainly not conservative ones – constitutionalism, limited government, originalist philosophy – nor any of the kind that help meaningful policies weather the storms of political opposition.

Throughout the very competitive primary season, millions of voters were hoping intensely for someone else.  Yet Romney didn’t tack to the right much during the primary season, and his “inevitability” has meant that he sees little reason to do so in the general campaign.  He won’t be doing heavy lifting for small-government conservatism in the Oval Office.

His difference with Obama is more profound than merely a set of disputes over the precise content of big-government policy.  Romney comes across as having a better character.  He’s not steeped in cronyism, he doesn’t want to “Alinsky” his opponents – or Alinsky the middle class, for that matter – and he generally respects the people and the idea of their private property.  Romney in the Oval Office would not be a predator, ideological or otherwise.  But his idea of the proper role and scope of government is much closer to that of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and all the Democratic presidential candidates since 1964 – including, ultimately, Barack Obama – than that of Ronald Reagan.  Romney’s a Massachusetts pol; a Republican in Massachusetts would be a Democrat in a good 35 of the other states.

Reagan, by contrast, was a defining leader, even philosopher, of the limited-government conservative movement.  He did, in fact, do the heavy lifting for conservatism in Washington, DC.  He didn’t get everything he wanted, and he didn’t satisfy conservatives on every point.  But he was the person leading the charge, acting on a set of philosophical premises about the proper relationship of government to the people.  His premises were opposed in important ways to the assumptions of the New Deal and the Great Society.  Reagan, when he went to Washington, acted on the understanding that he had a mandate to literally reverse the encroachments of government on the people’s lives.

Conservatives in 2012 understand clearly that Mitt Romney will not do this.  He has never said he will, and he has never spoken in philosophical terms that suggest he might.  Electing Romney isn’t electing a champion of the American political idea.  It’s a tactical move to get Obama out of office.

The period of the Obama tenure, and now the 2012 election, are forcing Americans to reconsider, in a way I’m not sure we have for a good 200 years, what the vote means, and what politics means to our lives.  Since 1792, the sense has gradually crept upon us that when we elect a president, we are electing our collective future.  That sense took a giant leap forward with the FDR presidency, and frankly, it took another one when Reagan entered office.

Some of the most important (although not necessarily good) legislation in the 20th century was actually passed under other presidents, like Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter.  But FDR and Reagan were seen by their respective constituencies, in a way none of the other presidents in the last century was, as leaders who could steer our course decisively by using the power of the executive.  An idea has spread in the public consciousness that electing a president is tantamount to electing a savior.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “J.E. Dyer: America – This time, it’s personal”

  1. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    Oh please, Romney comes across as a very rich man without a clue about the needs of the majority of American, as well as a man who will happily contradict himself in order to win the election. He's been a very decent Governor of Massachusetts who implemented a worthy health program in his state. He now is willing to scrap the same program from the whole nation for a chance at becoming president. Ask yourself the question: what else will he be scrapping according to expediency? Maybe his support of Israel, if it become cumbersome? I'm no fan of Obama, but I have no choice and I'll vote for him. Better a devil you know….

  2. Anonymous says:

    re Muriel: Your "better a devil you know…" is illogical and unethical. It is better to vote for a potential devil than a proven one.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Seder at the White House. The one without the kippa is President Obama.
Obama Reaching Out to (Liberal) Jews in Sermon at Synagogue
Latest Indepth Stories
Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Lion-052215

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

Saudis, Bahrain & UAE recalled ambassadors from Qatar protesting its support of Hamas & terror orgs.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Steven Joel Sotloff as a hostage of ISIS, before his beheading.

In his travels as a journalist in the Islamic world, Sotloff never referred to his Jewishness.

ZIM Piraeus in happier days. (Image: ShipSpotting.com user b47b56)

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Obama is transparent, if you read his oracular signs with the right key.

ISIS has no intention of “marching on” Baghdad. The Sunni affiliates of ISIS are going to disrupt life there.

Oslo’s moment of unchallenged American supremacy and the illusion of unforced global stasis, passed.

Could the Obamas be any more “let ‘em eat cake”?

The Obama administration wants to take over the short-term financial services industry.

The topics are “The Reagan Strategy,” and the “Iran Time Bomb.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-america-this-time-its-personal/2012/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: