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February 22, 2017 / 26 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘candidate’

Mitt Romney for President

12 Heshvan 5773 – October 28, 2012

I am not a partisan voter. My voting record clearly shows that. Here is my voting record since 1968:

Humphrey (D) McGovern (D) Carter (D) Reagan (R) Reagan (R) Bush (41) (R) Clinton (D) Clinton (D) Gore (D) Bush (43) (R) McCain (R)

I choose candidates based on who I think will be do the best job for the country, for Israel, and for the Jewish people. I do not vote by party.

Although I have finally made my decision – for the first time I am not as sure as I usually am about which candidate will actually be the better President.

The last debate added nothing toward that end. The two candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney remain the same in my eyes. Their views were not made clearer at all on any of the issues that are important to the American people nor to me as a Jew.

I recently wrote that their views on Israel though not identical are both positive – and not all that dissimilar. I also said that for the first time my decision would not be based on that issue. Instead -“It’s (still) the economy, Stupid!” Of course the economy matters to Jews just as much as it does to everyone else. But it is definitely not a Jewish issue.

I do not see any break away solutions by either candidate. The President’s policies have thus far not done the job. Unemployment is still high – as are gas prices. His stimulus polices haven’t really helped all that much. The deficit is soaring . He is also over focusing on environmental issues – by over regulating businesses and preventing more opportunities to become energy independent. That too stifles economic growth. And adds to the deficit

His counter to that is that a divided congress is holding him back from doing more. And that his energy policies are the most productive in history. But that doesn’t explain why he didn’t do more to fix the economy during the first 2 years of his administration when he had a bullet proof congress. Instead he focused on a passing a controversial health care bill that contributes to the exploding deficit.

Romney on the other hand wants to implement a supply side economic policy that lowers taxes for everyone. He says that small businessmen many of whom file individual tax returns would be hurt by the higher taxes the Obama administration wants to impose on them and that would dis-incentivize them from investing the capital they need to grow their businesses and hire new people.

The President countered that Romney’s economic policy does not add up and that it would either explode the deficit even further, or that he would have to cut popular deductions like mortgage interest to make up for the loss.

Romney says that he would go full bore into developing all sources of energy including off shore drilling and do things like extending the Canadian pipeline (which the President rejected).

Obama also claims that he has actually increased oil production under his administration.

Romney would increase the military budget to restore it to the levels that existed before the Obama military budget cuts.

Obama says that the military doesn’t need to be as large and expensive as is used to be – even according the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Increasing the military budget will only grow the deficit.

How the President will grow the economy is still a mystery to me. Platitudes like “the rich must pay their fair share” are meaningless hyperbole designed to appeal to class envy in my view.

He has had four years to fix the economy and he hasn’t done it yet. He still blames Bush saying he inherited this mess from him – and that it was much worse than anyone thought. He touts the fact that in spite of that – the economy has still improved. Though admittedly only slightly. He now claims he needs more time and a willing congress.

Romney says Obama’s polices have failed and it’s time for someone else with a different approach to try. He claims his business experience will help him achieve more private sector jobs and a return to a healthy economy.

‘Career Politicians Are What’s Killing Us’: An Interview with Councilman and Congressional Candidate Dan Halloran

9 Heshvan 5773 – October 24, 2012

New York City Councilman Dan Halloran is looking to pull off a BobTurner-like victory as a Republican congressional candidate in a predominantly Democratic Queens congressional district (the newly redistricted 6th CD).

Halloran, 40, is a lawyer who worked in private practice and as a prosecutor for several district attorneys before being elected in 2009 to the City Council. He recently spoke with The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press: How did you get your start in politics and what attracted you to it?

As an attorney I’d always been peripherally interested in politics, interested in the policies that drive our legislation. I grew up in a very tight-knit Irish Catholic family with roots in the political world. My father was a deputy commissioner in the Koch administration, my great-grandfather was a chief of police, and my cousin, Lieutenant Vincent G. Halloran, an FDNY First Responder, died on 9/11. But in 2009, one year into the Obama administration, I became very concerned about the direction in which our country was headed.

You’re a Republican who has been endorsed by the Libertarian party. Though much of fiscal conservative and libertarian philosophy overlap, there’s a sharp difference when it comes to foreign policy. Can you explain your views on both?

I’m what’s called a right libertarian or constitutional libertarian. I believe very firmly that our economic policy has to be market driven; that over-taxation will be the death of the republic. I believe very strongly in the Constitution itself and staying within the four corners of that document. I think we have expanded the commerce clause to mean almost anything and it’s absurd. That’s the libertarian side of the coin.

But as a right libertarian, my perspective on foreign policy is that the world is such a convoluted place right now that what we should do in the ideal is not practical. We give seven times as much money to Israel’s enemies as we give to Israel. And you can’t wonder why Egypt has an authoritarian Islamic regime when we’re the ones who helped topple a stable, albeit non-democratic, regime. Now we see the fallout in Syria, in Yemen, in Libya. Once we’ve destabilized that region we see what the consequences are. We have an ambassador dead, our embassies stormed…. And threats continue.

Do you feel the policies of the Obama administration, particularly during the Arab Spring, increased those threats and what advice can you offer to address them?

It wasn’t a spring; it was the beginning of a winter. Obama ushered it in under the feigned promotion of democracy – one man, one vote. And what it’s been is one man, one vote, one time. After that you will not see democracy; you will see theocracy.

There are things we can do about this crisis. America should maintain its military presence vis-à-vis Israel and we should keep the fleet there to ensure that the trading waters are open for business. Foremost, we need to cut off economic aid to any country that defies our foreign policy perspectives, and that should include humanitarian assistance. Look, I understand the notion of fostering amity, but there’s a bottom line. And the bottom line is if you want our help, you have to play on our team. And if you’re not willing to, then go your own way. Because what happens is that when you give them humanitarian aid, they’re able to divert the resources they do have to war and violence.

Hamas is a perfect example of how through bad foreign policy we’ve armed the enemy, given them legitimacy, and now a stage to act on, an appearance of being legitimate. Yet all we’ve done is undermine Israel’s national security, which in turn undermines ours because it’s the only stable, democratic rule-of-law government there…. There’s a perception in the world that we no longer stand with our allies and that we will only pay lip service to longstanding relationships.

You traveled to Israel this past summer with the International Committee for the Land of Israel. Can you describe how seeing the facts on the ground affected your perception?

It made it more real. But I’ve always been a hawk. In that respect I am a right-wing Republican. I’ve always supported settlements, because if the rule of law applies, then whether you’re black or white, Christian or Jew, it shouldn’t matter where you live as long as you lawfully purchase property there. For us or the UN to say unilaterally you may not buy land there because you are a Jew would be the equivalent of my saying if you’re Catholic you can’t move into Williamsburg because you’re not an Orthodox Jew or you’re a black man you can’t move into [a white neighborhood]. Really? Would that stand up in some court of law somewhere in the United States? That would never be tolerated. Yet when the world community tells Israel the very same thing, somehow it’s okay because it involves Islam.

Topics For Third Presidential Debate – This One’s On Foreign Policy

7 Heshvan 5773 – October 22, 2012

Bob Schieffer of CBS News is the moderator for the final presidential debate which takes place tonight, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET in the Lynn University auditorium in Boca Raton, Florida.  Schieffer chose and announced the topics which will be addressed – subject to late-breaking news.  They are, in random order:

America’s Role in the World

Our Longest War – Afghanistan and Pakistan

Red Lines: Israel and Iran

The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism I

The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism II

The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s Word

The issue of what happened in Benghazi, Libya in September 11, 2012 is likely to come up in at least one if not several of the different topic areas.  President Obama will seek to put a definitive end to the questioning about how his administration handled the crisis, and presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney will seek to lay out the inconsistencies in the narratives presented by this administration over the course of the six weeks since the tragedy.

The consequences of the “Arab Spring” is likely to come up during at least one of the topics, as will the question of whether or not terrorism is being routed by President Obama’s policies, or whether it is in the rise, in part because of the president’s policies.

The decision to leave Afghanistan and the continued drone policy favored by President Obama is also likely to be discussed tonight.

Israel is most likely to be discussed in the “Iran Red Line” topic, and each candidate will try to show why he is the candidate whose policies will be most effective in protecting Israel and promoting regional stability.

An economic aspect of foreign policy may come up in the form of a question about the European financial crisis and what role the United States should play in addressing that problem.  In addition, questions about the economic fallout of China’s ever-growing and influential role in the global economy is sure to further highlight the stark differences between the two candidates.

The format will be six 15-minute segments addressing each of the different topics.

Bob Schieffer has been with CBS News for more than 30 years.  He has covered all four major beats in Washington – the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Capitol Hill.  Schieffer has covered every presidential race since 1972.

Obama’s Last Stand

7 Heshvan 5773 – October 22, 2012

Democrats do not have a great track record in the White House. The number of Democratic presidents who have won second terms is small and becomes much smaller with the second half of the 20th Century. Unlike Congressional shifts which reflect regional politics more than a national referendum, the Presidency is a referendum on the usages of the nearly unlimited power of its holder.

The Democratic strategy has been to substitute iconography for competence and their iconic presidents have invariably been men of dubious character. FDR rode to power on the coattails of the Roosevelt name, after conducting a smear campaign against Teddy Roosevelt’s son who would have been the natural candidate.

Once in power, FDR assembled a grab-bag of bad ideas from European Socialists and Fascists and employed a small army of writers and artists as propagandists to lionize his programs. Marginally competent, Roosevelt the Second cultivated an aristocratic paternal air, surrounded himself with experts and programs to create public confidence.

FDR did not fix the economy, but he did lead the country through World War II while preemptively losing World War III, which was enough to give him the iconic status that had made his presidency possible.

The Roosevelt Administration, with an assist from Harry Truman, had largely created the Soviet Empire through its betrayal of Eastern Europe and the Republic of China. The Liberal camp had been thoroughly infiltrated by Communist agents and was full of sympathizers for the Soviet Union.
Before WW2 the USSR had been a regional backwater power with a network of international agents at its beck and call. After WW2, Communists were on the verge of swallowing up Western Europe and had taken China.

Truman’s disastrous China policy led to the Communist takeover of a potential world power and to the bloody Korean War. The aftermath of the FDR Administration was largely preoccupied with covering up the disastrous results of its Communist-friendly program. The campaigns against McArthur and McCarthy were necessary to cover up the consequences of Truman’s China policy and FDR’s USSR policy.

The Democrats lost the White House and the public turned to Eisenhower to clean up the strategic mess left behind by the progressive party. The great national crisis was Communism and the Democrats had not seen the crisis coming and had no credibility in deploying a policy to combat the Soviet Union.

To retake the White House the Democrats needed a new image and a candidate with credibility fighting Communism. That candidate was to be a Kennedy, a member of a family at odds with FDR due to its Nazi sympathies, whose patriarch had taken careful care to burnish the Anti-Communist credentials of his sons.

FDR had been the avuncular figure in the chair; JFK was to be the youth candidate. The new man, a creature of the old Joe Kennedy, with fresh new ideas written for him by ghostwriters. Like FDR, JFK was a manufactured figure. And like him, JFK was a man of ideas with no ideas who disguised that lack with an army of experts and the cultivated illusion of intellectualism.

JFK was not particularly Anti-Communist, but that was a necessary qualification for any candidate looking to carry on FDR’s work. The Democratic Party had adapted to the collapse of its old coalition of New York merchants and Southern plantation owners after the Civil War by embracing Republican Unionism with a vengeance and jettisoning the last of Jefferson to become the party of big government.

FDR had borrowed Lincoln’s ruthless unionism and blended it with Teddy Roosevelt’s anti-monopolism; mixing together the work of two Republican presidents and claiming it for his own. JFK similarly took up elements of a Republican civil rights program and blended it with their aggressive Anti-Communism to create a new Democratic identity.

The underlying program in both administrations had nothing to do with the depression or war; but of building up a national political machine using the same methods of urban political machines. The core ingredient was class warfare. FDR put a genteel patina over class warfare while JFK phrased it as an idealistic ambitious form of American Exceptionalism that made it seem American.
FDR and JFK both borrowed Lincoln’s martyrdom, FDR by acting as a long-serving wartime president, and JFK, posthumously through his assassination. Obama has taken on a crude form of that martyrdom by virtue of race.

JFK’s death left his upgrade of Eisenhower’s “Dime Store New Deal” unfinished. LBJ took up the baton as the consequences of Vietnam tore apart the coalition between Liberals and Leftists leading to a culture war.

FDR died before events would have forced him to block Communist ambitions in Europe and turned the intelligentsia against him, allowing him to retain the services of the progressive propaganda corps. But JFK’s façade of Anti-Communism had committed him to international policies that broke apart the coalition between Liberals and Leftists. As much as the left might have supported JFK’s domestic program, and even forgiven his domestic show of affiliation with the Anti-Communists, by the time he was replaced by LBJ, the stress fractures were just too big and they tore apart the Democratic Party.

After that the Democrats lost the ability to compete on national security. Their attempts at salvaging the white male vote led them to two southern governors. Carter imploded on National Security, but Clinton thrived through two terms in the Post-Soviet period when history no longer seemed to matter. But history did matter.

The Communism menace had risen on FDR’s watch. Muslim terrorism began its ascent under JFK and reached critical levels under Clinton. The Democratic failures on Communism made Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan possible. Their failures on Islamism made Bush possible.

Obama was the third Democratic bid at an iconographic presidency. Like FDR, he was confronted with an economic crisis, and like JFK he faced a global conflict. And like both men, he proved inept at handling both, relying on armies of experts and making unwise decisions. As with JFK’s first term, the consequences of his foreign policy have not still struck home with a decisive enough emphasis to turn the public against him, but unlike FDR, there is no war to distract from the economic situation.

Obama has been running on his iconography for a while now and like an old beat up car, he never noticed that it gave out on him a while back. The debate was a wakeup call, but it won’t be the last one. He has to run on something, but he can’t run on the economy or race and that just leaves national security. The Benghazi attack emphasized the disastrous consequences of his foreign policy, but they also did him a favor by shifting the debate to the foreign policy arena.

With FDR fading and the cult of JFK not as strong as it used to be in the twilight of the Boomers, the Democratic Party needed a third icon to further integrate its political machine into the infrastructure of the government.

The Democrats needed to win badly in 2008 because it put them in a position of exploiting a crisis to protect and expand their institutions, both private and public, that might have otherwise been targeted by a Republican on an austerity mission. Defeating McCain, who despite his own reputation for pork had a cost-cutting streak, was a major victory because it avoided the specter of having McCain do to them what Prime Minister Cameron, another non-conservative conservative, had done to the institutions of the liberal state in the UK. Defeating Romney, who is also running as a cost-cutter, is an even bigger priority for the same reason.

The ideological and emotional issues are secondary to this core bureaucratic mandate of protecting the political machine that the post-Civil War Democratic Party had built up. Unlike Bush, Romney is not running as a compassionate conservative looking to reconcile social spending with conservative politics. And Romney’s campaign is not focused on the international politics that might divert him from putting the domestic house in order.

Pushing Romney back into Bush territory, as Benghazi may have done, may neuter him even if he wins, and shifts the focus away from the economy. But the public does not appear prepared to follow that shift with polls still showing the economy as the primary focus. And that focus contains a dangerous trap.

Any shift to foreign policy risks a dangerous discussion about the Islamist rise to power that was aided and abetted by Obama, in the same way that FDR had aided and abetted the rise of Communism. The Democrats did not survive the debate when it broke out during the Truman Administration. Should an honest discussion begin about the defeat in Afghanistan and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the Middle East under the guise of the Arab Spring, the result may be as great a blow to Obama’s prospects.

Obama’s last stand is also the Democratic Party’s last stand. A hundred years of foreign policy and economic failures at the hands of a corrupt mafia is about to come home to roost. The Democratic Party has marginalized itself, abandoning mainstream Americans while openly embracing a trillion dollar welfare state.

Iconography elevated Obama as it did FDR and JFK, but it cannot see him through a constellation of crises. And if he falls, then his party falls with him.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

To Tell The Truth: An Unlikely Scenario

1 Heshvan 5773 – October 17, 2012

Despite public surveys that show the general public largely opposed to negative campaigning, the overwhelming majority of candidates in contested races have refined this strategy almost to an art form.

And why not? After all, many of these same polls also conclude that this type of campaigning – whereby the candidate too often distorts his or her opponent’s record while spewing venomous personal attacks – works, as seeds of doubt regarding the opponent’s fitness for office are planted in voters’ minds.

But imagine if Barack Obama and Mitt Romney discarded this strategy in favor of saying what they really think and what they offer the American people.

Under this unlikely scenario, here is what I’d like them to say. We’ll begin with President Obama:

I have been accused by some political detractors of supporting economic policies that have a distinct socialist bent.

Well, if governing with compassion by advocating the creation of a society that benefits the American people by equalizing the social status of all Americans makes me a socialist, I proudly plead guilty.

If ensuring that as many Americans as possible have the basic necessities of daily living, even at the cost of taking more from those who have made it and giving that share of the pie to those who, for whatever reason, have not, makes me a proponent of income redistribution, I will proudly wear the title of the “Robin Hood of American politics.”

If the cost of solving today’s economically challenging times is to spend beyond our means, a strategy nobody really likes but one that is sometimes necessary, then I will propose in a second term more stimulus spending and more entitlement programs. Yes, there are times in a nation’s life when the government must spend, even when resources are scarce, to protect the have-nots.

I realize that some describe this policy as an irresponsible means of spending other people’s money and mortgaging the fiscal future of the next generation. But, if reelected, I will continue my policy of deficit spending to rescue America from an economic catastrophe that I inherited from my predecessor – something I apologize for reminding you of yet again.

The protection of Social Security in its current form from insolvency and the maintaining of Medicare and Medicaid for our nation’s seniors and disabled are areas I will pay particular attention to in a second term. And if adequate resources in the national treasury are lacking to fix these impending problems, I will yet again tax the wealthy Americans among us.

And my justification for this is simple: If the ultra-conservative chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, concluded that it is within the government’s right to force one American to provide health insurance for his or her fellow American through higher taxes – as he ruled recently when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of my universal health care legislation – then surely Congress and I can see to it that certain Americans, namely high-income earners, pay whatever is necessary to secure a better future for the most vulnerable among us.

If a judicial champion of conservatism like John Roberts says that any type of taxation can be left to the discretion of the executive and legislative branches of government, its imposition on anything those branches deem necessary to improve America’s human condition should logically be supported.

And speaking of government’s legal right to impose necessary revenue enhancers on taxpayers, government must have the same right to impose mandatory regulations – similar to my administration’s health care legislation’s rules – on businesses that unfairly profit off the backs of American workers. And my administration, in protecting workers’ rights, will determine what constitutes unfair profits and act accordingly.

My general philosophy of good government at work is this: The longstanding general business principle of putting greed over equality and profit over compassion must go by the wayside. For as President Woodrow Wilson once said, “we are all caught in a great economic system which is heartless.”

* * * * *

In the national security and foreign policy realms I will continue to punish the guilty, as my order to kill Osama bin Laden and my policy of using drones against terrorists in Pakistan has demonstrated. But my overall goal remains what it has always been: a secure international peace that will stand the test of time, through the values of decency and humaneness that made and that keeps America great.

Adelsons Again Donate $500K to Super PAC Supporting Boteach

1 Heshvan 5773 – October 17, 2012

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife for a second time have given $500,000 to a Super PAC supporting Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s bid for Congress.

The Adelsons gave the money to the Patriot Prosperity PAC, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the gift, after having given the same amount earlier this year. They also gave $10,000 directly to the Boteach campaign.

Boteach is running as the Republican candidate in New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District against eight-term incumbent Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

Boteach, who once was affiliated with the Chabad movement, bills himself as “America’s Rabbi.” He hosts a show on TLC called “Shalom in the Home” and is the author of several books, including “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Adultery,” “The Kosher Sutra” and, most recently, “Kosher Jesus.”

Adelson has said multiple times that a candidate’s support for Israel is critical to whether he gives and how much. He has given $10 million to a Super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and earlier in the campaign put $20 million toward Newt Gingrich’s GOP primary bid.

Super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as individuals, and indirectly support a political candidate. They cannot by law coordinate with the candidate’s official campaign.

Zionist U.S. College Students Are Favoring Romney

29 Tishri 5773 – October 15, 2012

The 2012 presidential debates are underway, and the race for the 45th president of the United States is in full swing. On university campuses around the country, students are gearing up for the elections, getting informed, and deciding which presidential candidate will best suit their needs.

Young people, (ages 18-29) account for 21 percent of the voting population entitled to vote, according to civicyouth.org. According to yda.org, in the 2008 elections, 62 percent of youth enrolled in college cast their votes, in contrast with the 36 percent of youth who voted, but did not attend college.

For Zionist students, foreign policy, and particularly the candidates’ positions on Israel and the Middle East, play a pivotal role when choosing their candidate. For many of these students, Israel is ultimately the deciding factor in determining for which candidate they will cast their vote.

American University junior and Voorhees, New Jersey resident Gabe Duec told The Jewish Press that the only thing standing in the way of his voting for Obama are the current President’s positions regarding foreign policy.

“I don’t care that Obama hasn’t gone to Israel—Bush didn’t go until late in his second term,” Duec said. “I do care that Obama isn’t taking as hard of a line against terrorism and extreme Islamism in the Middle East, and in my opinion Romney is much better for Israel right now, especially if Netanyahu gets re-elected.”

However, Duec is hoping for Romney to find his way into the White House, but for a Democratic controlled Congress.

Currently, one of the major concerns for both the United States and Israel is the issue of Iran’s rapidly growing nuclear program.

Yiriel Liss of Sharon, Massachusetts, is a sophomore at Yeshiva University in New York, and specifically concerned with the safety of the U.S. and Israel, and believes that Iran’s nuclear program demands immediate and serious attention.

“Neither candidate is outspoken enough in decrying the alarming rate at which the Iranians are building their nuclear weapons, and that itself is tantamount to anti-Zionism,” Liss said. “Instead of focusing on who would tax us more, the candidates should be explaining to us their policies on foreign affairs, and specifically the calamities befalling the other nations throughout the world.”

Liss, who studied in Israel for two years, believes the world has failed to provide sufficient support to the tiny country, which has produced technological and medical advancements of epic proportions, sharing its innovations with the world. Liss has deemed it “our duty to help save indefensible countries from destruction,” and expects to see more than, “laughable sanctions and little pats on the back,” and hopes that whichever candidate is elected will emphatically defend the Jewish homeland.

It seems as though for Israel-conscious students, Mitt Romney is the best option for Israel, though many of these student-voters don’t necessarily identify themselves as Republicans.

“This year we saw that Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel, was taken out of the Democratic party’s platform, and after immense pressure from Jewish groups it was forced back in, against the Democratic National Convention’s own rules,” said Aaron Elkin, a native of Broomall, Pennsylvania and a freshman at Cornell University. “It seems clearer than ever that Mitt Romney is the real supporter of Israel. He, unlike President Obama, understands the stakes of a nuclear Iran and the premature talks with Palestinian partners who refuse to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.”

Elkin’s standpoint is clear, and though Obama is a supporter of Israel, Elkin belives he has only done the bare minimum in order to propitiate the majority of the Jewish public.

“Obama has done what is necessary to please major Jewish interest groups, that’s it,” Elkin said. “Is he truly behind Israel? I think not.”

Generally, the younger, pro-Israel population enrolled in universities seem to heavily favor Romney. Obama has not been nearly aggressive enough in his attempts to prevent Iranian nuclear weaponization. Obama signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act this summer, and outwardly expresses his support of the Jewish state, but for students such as Elkin and Duec, this support has been appreciated, but isn’t enough to earn their votes.

No one seems to be perturbed by the fact that Obama has yet to visit Israel, despite making trips to Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The underlying problem rests in the security of Israel itself, and it seems at the moment that President Obama needs to take action in halting, or at the very least attending to, the Iranian nuclear program, if he expects to receive votes from Zionist students.

In Latest Poll Runners-Up Pose Little Threat to Netanyahu

25 Tishri 5773 – October 11, 2012

There is much suspense in the political arena in anticipation of a decision by Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni as to whether they will run in the upcoming elections. However, according to a poll publicized by Maariv, it seems that the two former Kadima party leaders pose no threat to Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future. Nevertheless, another poll, published in Haaretz, shows that a full 28% of the public feel that Livni is the candidate best suited to serve as prime minister.

The Kadima party is applying a lot of pressure to Ehud Olmert to return and head the party. They also hope that Livni will return, in order to chip away at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strong position. It appears, however, that the public is largely unimpressed by their wishes.

A poll conducted by TNS Telephone Surveys and published in Maariv shows that a party headed by either of the two (Olmert or Livni) would get only 10 mandates, as opposed to 29 mandates that would go to the Likud party led by Netanyahu. The poll even predicted that in its present condition, with Shaul Mofaz at the helm, the Kadima party would net only a measly 3 Knesset seats—down from 28 in the previous elections.

Still, Tzipi Livni remains the best candidate to run against Netanyahu for prime minister – even better than Olmert. A poll conducted by the Dialogue Institute and published in Haaetz shows that the public thinks that Netanyahu is the best candidate for prime minister and that he has the support of between 57 and 62 percent of the voters. Livni is in second place. According to the poll, 28% showed support for Livni, while 24% felt that Olmert would be the best candidate. The poll showed Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich with 17%, Shaul Mofaz with 16%, and Ehud Barak with 15%.

According to the poll in Maariv, support is growing for Yair Lapid’s new political party. The poll shows the party with 17 mandates in the upcoming elections and this is even before the party has published its full candidate slate.

In the event of Olmert’s return to the political arena and to the Kadima party leadership, Lapid’s stand will be weakened. In this scenario, the poll predicts that Yesh Atid (Lapid’s party) will receive only 13 mandates in the upcoming elections.

According to the same poll, if a party headed by an Olmert and Livni combination runs in the next elections, the mandate distribution will be: Likud – 29 seats, Labor Party – 16, Lapid – 13, Yisrael Beiteinu (Liberman) – 12, Shas – 9, Olmert-Livni Party – 10, Kadima – 3, Mertetz – 3, Ichud Leumi – 2, Bahyit Hayehudi – 5, United Torah Judaism – 5, Independence (Ehud Barak) – 2, Chadash – 4, Balad – 3, United Arab List – 4.

Branding Sold America on Obama like a Can of Soda

16 Elul 5772 – September 3, 2012

What’s the difference between a president and a can of Pepsi? When it comes to winning elections, the answer is very little. The 2008 election was not about issues, it was about image. Not just the image of the candidate, but the image of his brand.

In marketing terms, a brand is not just a label, it’s the way that the customer is meant to perceive the product and interact with it. Take the can of Pepsi. It doesn’t matter what’s actually in the can, you don’t have access to the full list of ingredients anyway. And if you did, it would take extensive research to even make sense of them. It’s not even about how the actual soda tastes. That matters, but not very much. All that really matters is how the customer perceives the brand. It’s not about the content. It’s only about how people view the brand.

From a marketing standpoint, it’s not what the product is, but how people perceive it in relation to themselves. This is an entirely image based approach, but a common one now. The ultimate question is – Is this a brand I want to be associated with? Do I want to be seen drinking this can of Pepsi? Is this a brand that makes me feel good about myself? Does it enhance my self-image?

The branding of American politics worked the same way. Obama was not sold as a set of positions and a track record, but as a brand. A brand that people were encouraged to feel enthusiastic about or at least comfortable with, using the same techniques that were used to sell soft drinks. Cheerful posters, meaninglessly simple slogans, celebrities, theme songs, merchandise, social media, viral videos, fonts, color schemes, logos and everything else that goes into pushing a billion dollar product from the shelves to the kitchen.

That transition took Hillary Clinton by surprise and hurt her most of all. Hillary had been working the party and the traditional campaign circuit, only to be sidelined by a media centered frenzy that centered around brands, not people. By the old political rules she should have won, but the new rules were in and they weren’t political anymore.

Few voters could really nail down the policy differences between Obama and McCain, a mistake that was in part McCain’s own fault and played into the image-over-substance approach of the Obama campaign. And those who couldn’t, mostly voted for the candidate they felt most comfortable being associated with. The election came down to a cultural split with the cultural weapons of mass distraction in the hands of an omnipresent media and social media empire.

There was no longer any point in discussing programs or issues. They had become details, like the fine print at the end of a television commercial that no one can read, and no one is meant to read. It’s there to fulfill an obligation, not to inform or play any meaningful role in the decision making process. All that mattered was the brand.

The approach was to make voters want to be part of the Obama “brand” and not want to be associated with the McCain/Palin brand. The Obama brand was positioned as cool and youthful, in the same way that soft drinks are. And the public was told over and over again that McCain was old and crazy, that Palin was stupid and crazy, and that both of them were uncool. Probably the most constant message repeated through the election and today, is that the Republican is for “old people”. In marketing terms this is worse than being called a Nazi. The constant pursuit of youth means that brands which appeal to old people are ruthlessly eliminated or limited to the export market. (That’s why you’ll find many classic American brands in South America or Asia where they have strong consumer loyalty, but in the United States they were replaced with more “youthful” brands associated with a new generation.)

2008 was certainly not the first time that liberals had worked to position themselves as the face of a new generation, and the Republicans as the voice of the past. The strategy dated back to Kennedy vs Nixon and saw use again with Clinton in 1992 and 1996, when Silent Generationers, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole contended with the country’s first Baby Boomer President. And then in 2008, the boomer Hillary Clinton was pushed aside for a Generation X candidate. The progressive left enjoys being thought of as revolutionary and youthful, even if their ideas and funding come from eighty-year olds like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and George Soros. A youthful demographic is less likely to have the background and the life experience to know that their policies won’t work, and to be fueled by the same inchoate mix of outrage and blind optimism. And a willingness to act without understanding the consequences.

How Romney Can Win this Election

6 Av 5772 – July 25, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/how-romney-can-win-this-election.html

Let’s skip over the issues for a moment and get back to the basics. Elections are transactions in which we buy the services of a candidate for four years. Like any other business deal, closing comes down to salesmanship.

There are two basic elements when buying a product or service.

1. Practical. “I need this product.”

2. Emotional. “This product makes me feel good.”

Smart shoppers will make a practical decision, but not everyone is a smart shopper. And even smart shoppers employ emotional elements. Many people will buy a product because of their associations with this brand, even if the brand only exists as a logo stamped on products by workers in Shanghai. Most people want to feel good about the product that they’re buying, they want to feel comfortable with their purchase.

This is where the media plays its most insidious role, providing reassurance to Obama buyers that they are doing the right thing and damping their unease, while doing just the opposite for Romney buyers. The media can’t compel someone to vote one way or another, but it can encourage bad decisions and discourage good decisions by providing false levels of confidence through their reporting.

Romney has the same problem as a company with a good product, but bad media coverage. The way to counter that is on two fronts, by providing practical consumers with the specifications to help them make informed decisions, and providing emotional consumers with the reassurance that they can count on him.

Practical buyers have built-in confidence about their buying decisions because they carefully research a product and match it to their needs. Emotional buyers, however, lack confidence and shop as a means of boosting their own confidence. Products have to project confidence for them to buy them. They don’t buy products that lack a confident image, because they don’t make decisions that make them feel more insecure than they already are.

In an insecure time, people buy the most confident brand. A brand that exudes confidence and which is recommended by others. Obama projected a false confidence, that some mistook for charisma, and used a media consensus to bring in these voters in the last election. Most of those voters are still worried and nervous, but they haven’t made the change because they don’t feel enough confidence in the alternative.

Attack ads can partly sway them by diminishing their confidence level in the existing product, but they have less effect than positive ads that make them feel good about the other product. An attack ad is just as likely to make them sit out the election as it is to make them vote the right way.

The secrets of the 3 two-term Republican presidents of the 20th Century is that they projected that confident sense that they knew what they were doing. Bush and Reagan both had it. Eisenhower had it to a lesser degree. Teddy Roosevelt had it in spades and nearly won a second term as a third-party candidate. Two-term Democrats like FDR and Clinton had the same skill. Regardless of their abilities and the consequences of their actions, they projected a confidence that swayed voters.

No matter how badly Obama performs, a sizable number of emotional voters are not going to drop him because he still makes them feel better about the future. Those voters may well be the difference between victory and defeat.

To win, Obama has to project confidence while his media apparatus sows doubt. The combination is lethal and toxic. It may not be as effective as it was four years ago, but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be effective enough.

Romney won by running a mechanical campaign that was heavy on attack ads. He ended up crossing the finish line on the sole positive of being the “most electable candidate”. But voters in a general election are not going to elect him because he is electable, that’s an internal strategic calculation. If they elect him, it will be because he makes them feel more confident about the future. And that’s a tall order.

To win, Romney is not just going to have to attack Obama, he is going to have to make emotional voters feel good about going with him. It is possible to do both at the same time. Reagan did it well. Scott Brown just ran a commercial that does it pretty well too.

Mitt Coming to Israel, Banking on Obama’s Cool Ties with Netanyahu

3 Av 5772 – July 22, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will leave on Wednesday for a week-long trip to the Olympics in London, Poland, and Israel.

Romney’s visit to Israel will be an opportunity to appeal to both Jewish voters and pro-Israel evangelical voters. He will also take advantage of his good relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose relationship with President Obama is on the rocky side.

Romney aides say the trip is a “listen and learn” tour, meaning the candidate is not planning to make any policy pronouncements. Readers may recall that candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 trip abroad was a huge success, especially when he spoke to a very large audience in Berlin, declaring, “The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand.”

According to Reuters, in London Romney will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Romney is planning to do some fund raising from Americans living in Britain.

In Warsaw and Gdansk, Romney will hold talks with Polish officials and former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

Romney has criticized Obama’s handling of Iran in no uncertain terms, and vowed not to allow it to develop a nuclear weapon. Romney made few friends in Tehran by declaring that “ultimately, regime change is what’s going to be necessary.”

“The focus of the trip really is about learning, listening … and it’s about continuing to project Governor Romney’s strong view that America needs to stand by its allies, particularly allies that are under siege, like Israel,” said Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Jerusalem in May and heard complaints from the Israeli leadership about the current state of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, a source familiar with her meetings told Reuters.

Then there’s the fact that President Obama has skipped Israel on his trips to the region.

“It’s not a trivial issue that Obama has not been to Israel during his presidency,” Republican foreign policy expert Michael Goldfarb told Reuters. “Of course he went as a candidate, but he ran as a pro-Israeli figure and in office has not lived up to his promises.”

Romney to Visit Israel Before November

13 Tammuz 5772 – July 3, 2012

Mitt Romney will visit Israel during the presidential campaign.

A campaign official on Monday confirmed a New York Times report that the all-but-certain Republican presidential candidate will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other top officials later this summer.

The Times quoted Ron Dermer, a top adviser to Netanyahu, as saying that Romney is a “strong friend of Israel and we’ll be happy to meet with him.”

Romney has said that his first foreign visit as president would be to Israel. Barack Obama visited Israel as a candidate in 2008, but has not visited as president.

The former Massachusetts governor has faulted Obama for not making more clear to Iran that it could face military consequences if it does not stand down from its suspected nuclear program and for calling on Israel to negotiate based on the 1967 lines.

Obama’s support among Jewish voters remains in the low 60s, about 15 percentage points ahead of the general population, but below the sky-high approval ratings at the outset of his presidency. Pollsters attribute the drop mostly to the economy, which dogs Obama among the general population as well.

Obama’s  campaign has been emphasizing the closeness of the U.S.-Israel military relationship, noting that in October, Israel and the United States will stage the largest-ever joint anti-missile exercise.

Marine Le Pen to Sue Jewish-French Philosopher for Libel

21 Sivan 5772 – June 11, 2012

A lawyer for Marine Le Pen said the leader of the French far right will sue French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy for libel.

Wallerand de Saint-Just said he would submit a libel suit on behalf of Le Pen, president of the National Front party, to the Paris Magistrate’s Court next week.

In an article originally published on the website La Regle du Jeu, Levy suggested that Le Pen may bear some responsibility for attacks against Jews because of her alleged penchant for habitually mocking Jewish-sounding names in meetings.

Referring to a recent attack at Villeurbanne in which three young Jewish men wearing yarmulkes were attacked by at least 10 assailants, Levy asked, “Is it really a coincidence that this aggression follows a campaign in which one candidate, Ms. Le Pen, has systematically lampooned Jewish-sounding names in meetings?”

De Saint-Just told JTA that “There is no basis to the claim that Ms. Le Pen jeeringly uses names of Jewish people in meetings and speeches or any other forums. Mr. Levy is simply inventing it.” He added, “Suggesting Ms. Le Pen bears responsibility for the attacks in Villeurbanne is particularly ignoble.”

The article by Levy, which promises to offer “the key to understanding the new anti-Semitism,” was disseminated by CRIF, the umbrella organization of France’s Jewish communities.

Retired Egyptian General Denies Rumors of Israeli Intervention following Egyptian Vote

2 Sivan 5772 – May 23, 2012

Retired general turned security analyst and Junta spokesman Sameh Seif Al-Yazal told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that rumors about an Israeli military intervention in Egypt are “misguided,” because it was “not in Israel’s interest to fight Egypt at the present time, as the situation remained tense with its other neighbors.”

According to the WJS, General Al-Yazal has taken on the role of an informal spokesman for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which rarely speaks directly to the media.

Al-Yazal also told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that he supports Egypt’s reneging on its natural gas deal with Israel last April, said the pipelines should not be bombed “because a lot of the gas is being sent to Jordan and Lebanon as well.”

Over the weeks leading up to today’s and tomorrow’s first round of presidential elections, General Al-Yazal said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is ready to surrender the helm to the winner, but with some non-negotiable conditions, including a requirement that the constitution protect the military budget from public scrutiny, and that future civilian presidents be obligated to get the consent of the military before waging war.

Al-Yazal ridiculed speculation that Egypt would “descend into chaos” if deposed President Hosni Mubaraq’s former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq wins, suggesting the military and the police would ensure voting is carried out safely.

El-Yazal pointed out that the SCAF did not endorse a specific candidate, including Shafiq, and if it wished to back a certain candidate, “it would have presented one of its own and made him wear a civilian suit.”

Ron Paul Halts Campaign, Keeps Delegates

25 Iyyar 5772 – May 17, 2012

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has effectively given up his presidential campaign but will not give up his delegates to Mitt Romney.

Paul, a Texas Republican, said he would no longer compete in his party’s primaries, leaving Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the only viable candidate for the GOP nod still running.

Romney remains about 200 delegates shy of securing the nomination, but his erstwhile rivals, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have either formally endorsed him or pledged to do so.

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Paul would retain his delegates in order to leverage influence.

“Our delegates can still make a major impact at the national convention and beyond,” Jesse Benton, a top strategist for Paul, said in a memo obtained by the Times.

Paul’s presence and influence in the race helped veer the other candidates to embrace some of his libertarian ideas, particularly on reducing or eliminating the role of government in the financial system.

His isolationist views, especially on cutting assistance to Israel, have not gained as much traction.

Poll: 44% Support Kadima Entering the Coalition, But Only 5% Support Mofaz

17 Iyyar 5772 – May 9, 2012

More Israelis support the unexpected pact between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz than reject it, according to a News 10 poll.

The poll, conducted by “Proyekt Ha’Midgam” (“Sample Project”), found that 44% of the public support Kadima’s joining the broad coalition government. The move was rejected by 37% and 18% did not have an opinion regarding the move.

The big winner of the maneuver appears to be Netanyahu. 43% said they thought he was the best man for the job of Prime Minister. His newest coalition partner Mofaz only received the support of 5%.

Just about every potential candidate did better than Mofaz in the poll: Labor Chairperson Shelly Yechimovitch received 16%, newcomer Yair Lapid 8%, and Avigdor Lieberman a mere 6%.

Netanyahu’s popularity rose from 41% to 46% in the new poll.

French Jewry Leader: Hollande Victory a Boost to Anti-Israel Front

15 Iyyar 5772 – May 7, 2012

Following his victory Sunday, the 57-year-old François Hollande shouted himself hoarse, as he had done so often during the campaign, thanking his supporters for electing him president and promising to unite the whole country. “On this May 6, the French have just chosen change in bearing me to the office of president,” he declared before a wildly cheering crowd in his hometown of Tulle, in the rural Correze region.

Richard Prasquier, President of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), the umbrella group of Jewish-French organizations, expressed concerns that one of the changes the Hollande presidency brings is a boost to the anti-Israel left.

Left-wing candidate Hollande has defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s runoff election, becoming the first Socialist to win a French presidential election since François Mitterrand in 1988.

Tens of thousands of people descended on the Place de la Bastille in Paris Sunday night, to celebrate the Socialist candidate’s victory.

Hollande has promised bigger government spending and a 75% income tax on the rich. He also wants to renegotiate a European treaty on budget cuts, to avoid any more Greek style debt crises.

In his victory speech at the Bastille Hollande vowed to move away from the “fatalist” concept that austerity was the only way to solve the debt crisis. He offered instead increased productivity as the direction for France’s economy.

France’s Interior Ministry said the left-wing candidate had claimed around 51.7% of the runoff vote to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy’s 48.3%, with turnout at 81%. Sarkozy, the center-right candidate, was considered the favored candidate among French Jews.

Sarkozy conceded, saying, “Francois Hollande is the president of the republic; he must be respected.”

Sarkozy is the ninth European leader to be ousted since the start of the continent’s debt crisis.

Speaking to reporters Monday  before a meeting at the French Consulate in New York, CRIF President Prasquier said, “We know that some of the parties who are supposed to be partners of the coalition in favor of François Hollande are not friends of Israel. The part they will play we will see.”

Hollande won the backing of centrist François Bayrou, who took nine percent in the first round, and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon of the Left Front, who took 11 percent.

But Prasquier also said that both Hollande and Sarkozy are friends of Israel and share the same views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But, he added, Hollande is untested when it comes to Iran, and there are closer ties between the Socialist Party and the anti-Israel far left than there are between Sarkozy’s party and the xenophobic far right represented by Marine Le Pen’s National Front.

The problem, Prasquier said, is not with Hollande or the people close to him, but with the adamantly anti-Israel parties that are supporting him.

“I do not expect the far left would be given the position of foreign minister,” he said, “but if they have more visibility there might be an increase in demonstrations against Israel in the public society — BDS and so on — and we will have to face them. But we will have to face the demonstrations, not the government.”

Prasquier said he was not happy about the strong showing by Le Pen, but he does not believe that her support is comprised wholly of anti-Semites. Rather, he said, “the new category of Jew-bashing comes from those who present themselves as being anti-Zionists” – namely, the far left.

“Those people who stigmatize, who vilify on the very precise and unique way the State of Israel instead of stigmatizing the other countries,” he said, are showing “behavior very similar to the behavior used in the past to pinpoint Jews as responsible for everything.”

Prasquier said he does not believe France is an anti-Semitic country. He said the way to prevent attacks like the shooting in March at the Jewish school in Toulouse is to increase security.

“I do not see any possibility of preventing another action of this kind without increasing the level of security,” Prasquier said. “It’s not a question of reaching out. We are trying to reach out as much as possible to the Muslim community. We should not mix up the Muslim community with the awful deeds of this murderer.”

Hollande will be sworn in on May 15. The French parliamentary election will be held over two rounds on June 10 and June 17.

JTA reports were included in this article.

Senator Kerry in Talks with Muslim Brothers Presidential Candidate

10 Iyyar 5772 – May 2, 2012

Senator John Kerry, head of the Senate foreign relations committee, arrived in Cairo Tuesday evening, as part of his tour of the region, to hold talks with Egyptian officials about the “democratic transformation” of Egypt, according to the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA. Kerry and his Egyptian hosts will be discussing the presidential elections due late in May, and the conflicts in the region, including Syria, the Sudan and Israel.

According to Al Ahram, Senator Kerry and US Ambassador to Cairo Ann Patterson will meet with Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate and head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Mohamed Mursi, at the FJP headquarters on Wednesday.

The FJP, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, came into being following the January 25 Egyptian revolution. Until then, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and most powerful Islamist organization, was not only prevented from forming a party, but was legally barred from political life altogether. The group paid a heavy price in incarcerations and persecution under the rule of deposed President Hosni Mubarak.

Khaled Kazzaz, an FJP member of Egypt’s foreign relations committee, told Al Ahram, “The visit comes in the context of the US government’s concern over Egypt’s democratic transition, witnessing the evolution of the political scene in the transitional phase, becoming familiar with the FJP’s presidential candidate and reviewing the renaissance project.”

Kerry’s last visit to Cairo was in early December. In their meeting then with the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Brotherhood officials vowed to respect civil rights and international treaties, attempting to allay fears that the Islamist organization would revoke Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

In that vein, the FJP’s website on April 22 cited Dr. Morsi on the peace treaty with Israel “should his bid be successful in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections.”

Dr. Morsi said that “Egypt is a great country, with honorable history and important international relations and diplomatic representation all over the world. A democracy’s institutions oblige the President to be representative of all Egyptians and to also respect agreements and conventions of the Egyptian state with the rest of world States.”

But on April 20, Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood Gomaa Amin said that Egypt’s Grand Mufti’s visit to Jerusalem was unacceptable “because Jerusalem is under occupation. There is an almost unanimous consensus on banning all visits until Jerusalem is free again.”

Amin declared that “the Grand Mufti has violated the emotional perspective of Muslims. Pope Shenouda III had emphasized this ban for our Christian brothers and sisters, against visiting Jerusalem under occupation. So, it certainly is unacceptable for the Mufti to visit the Holy City at this time.”

Rubin Reports: How Egypt’s Presidential Election Will Change the Middle East and the World

9 Iyyar 5772 – May 1, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-egypts-presidential-election-will.html

What might well be the most significant election in Middle East history is about to transpire, yet the situation and its implications are simply not understood abroad. On May 23-24, with a probable run-off on Jun 16-17, the most important country in the Arabic-speaking world is almost certainly going to choose a revolutionary transformation that will ensure continuous earthquakes of war, suffering, and instability for decades to come.

Of the dozen candidates only three are important and the question is which of them will end up in the run-off:

–Muhammad Mursi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

–Abdel Moneim Aboul Fatouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who resigned to run for president.

–Amr Musa, a radical nationalist who combines being an anti-American, anti-Israel demagogue with some real experience in government and some sense of realism and restraint. He has proclaimed the Egypt-Israel peace treaty to be dead. If you don’t have a peace treaty that means you are in a state of [three letter word being with “w” and ending with “r”]. There are also, among the more serious of the also-rans, a leftist, an old regime supporter, three liberals, and another Islamist. The mainstream Western view of the election is bizarre and very damaging. In this fantasy, Aboul Fatouh is portrayed as the liberal candidate. If he wins, everything will be just fine and dandy. You can go back to sleep.

What evidence is adduced for this picture? Basically, none. The idea is that his moderation was proven because he defied the Brotherhood to run for office. Yet the reality is the exact opposite. The Brotherhood refused to run a candidate at a time when it was following a cautious strategy, wanting to show that it wasn’t seeking total power and could co-habit—at least for five years—with a non-Islamist president.

By declaring his candidacy, Aboul Fatouh was in fact taking a more radical approach. Later, when the Brotherhood felt more confident after winning almost half the parliamentary seats it became more aggressive.

Most important of all, Aboul Fatouh is the candidate endorsed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatar-based anti-American, anti-Semitic hardliner. Qaradawi would never endorse anyone who was actually “moderate” much less “liberal.”

There are three factors likely to determine the outcome of the first round:

–What proportion of Muslim Brotherhood (parliamentary) voters will support Mursi? Perhaps a quarter or more of the Brotherhood voters backed the group not so much because they wanted an Islamic state but because they thought the Brotherhood was more honest, would govern better, and so on. Will they stick with the Brotherhood for the presidency or will they go for Aboul Fatouh or even Musa?

–Having no candidate of their own, who will the Salafi support? Since their goal is to provide a more radical alternative to the Brotherhood, some —but not all— of the leaders will probably go for Aboul Fatouh. But what about their voters, who have almost no organizational loyalty—in contrast to the Brotherhood voters—and will presumably support the man they see as the one with the most radical Islamist vision? Few of these people will back Musa.

—Who will support Musa? There is no nationalist bloc in Egypt today. Might Musa emerge as the secularist candidate uniting those voters (only 25 percent we should remember) who don’t want Islamism? No. The Christians and liberals don’t look at Musa as their man and will probably split their vote among three competing liberal candidates who don’t have a chance.

The result may well be an Islamist versus Islamist run-off. In any event, it is likely that by the end of the year Egypt will have an Islamist president, parliament, and Constitution. Laws will be drastically altered, women’s rights will disappear, and Hamas would be backed up if it attacked Israel.

Once in power, an Islamist government would eventually appoint similar people to run the military, the religious establishment, the schools, and the courts. Those who don’t like it will head for the West in droves.

The alliance with America would be over, whatever cosmetic pretense of friendship remained and despite however much money the Obama Administration pumped in. And the whole region will be sent a signal that this is the era of revolutionary Islamism and jihad at a time when America is weak or even—as many moderate Arabs believe—siding with the Islamists.

In the West, no one in power is prepared for this revolution, an upheaval that will rival or exceed the 1979 one in Iran for its impact.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-how-egypts-presidential-election-will-change-the-middle-east-and-the-world/2012/05/01/

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