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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

Robert Strauss, Democratic Kingmaker and Ambassador, Dies At 95

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Robert Strauss, the son of small-town Texas shopkeepers who became an adviser to presidents of both parties, died Wednesday at the age of 95.

He helped found in 1945 Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the energy law firm that pioneered powerhouse lobbying after its 1971 move to Washington.

Strauss, whose parents ran a general store in a small town in Texas, forged his first important political ties at the University of Texas working on the congressional campaign of Lyndon Johnson and the student body campaign of John Connally, who later became governor.

Connally’s sponsorship decades later led to Strauss becoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee after the party’s presidential candidate, George McGovern, suffered a crushing defeat in 1972.

Strauss led the rebuilding of the party and started advocating on behalf of the little-known governor of Georgia as a possible candidate — a bet that paid off in 1976 with Jimmy Carter’s election as president.

Carter made Strauss a trade envoy and later named him a special ambassador so he could help negotiate the emerging Egypt-Israel peace agreement. Strauss was among Carter’s advisers who successfully counseled the president to resist bringing the Palestine Liberation Organization into the process until it recognized Israel.

Strauss also endeavored to smooth relations between the Jewish and black communities after Carter fired Andrew Young, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, for meeting with PLO officials.

Strauss, like so many top Jewish officials before and after him, was his administration’s unofficial liaison to the Jewish community — a role he did not appear to always relish, storming out of one particularly testy meeting with Jewish leaders over Carter’s peace process policies in 1980.

After Carter’s inauguration in 1977 and his naming Strauss as a trade envoy, JTA asked Strauss whether Carter would preserve Jackson-Vanik, the legislation linking human rights performance to trade status that was considered critical to liberalizing exits for Jews from the Soviet Union.

The Nixon and Ford administrations had fiercely resisted the legislation — Henry Kissinger, the Jewish secretary of state, was especially contemptuous of it — but Carter would go on to embrace it, one of the rare high points in his relationship with the Jewish community.

However, Strauss was noncommittal and felt it necessary to explain to JTA how being in government necessarily changed his perspective.

“I could have emotional and historical views and the prejudices from that,” he said. “Now, with my present responsibilities, I must be absolutely certain that I am looking at it [Jackson-Vanik] from the standpoint of the whole America. I will take a purely critical and analytical look and I will speak out when I have the authority.”

Strauss said he suffered little anti-Semitism growing up in Texas, saying that he only thought about being Jewish when his parents kept him home on Yom Kippur.

He joined the Baptist Young People’s Union to meet girls, he told the Dallas Morning News in a 1981 interview, and was elected its president.

“Of course, the preacher had to put a stop to that because I wasn’t a member of that church,” Strauss said.

Within weeks of Carter’s defeat in 1980, Strauss — who had chaired Carter’s campaign — began to meet routinely with President-elect Ronald Reagan and became an adviser to him.

Reagan awarded Strauss the Medal of Freedom in 1981, and his vice president and successor, President George H. W. Bush, named him ambassador to the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991, which led to Strauss becoming the first U.S. envoy to the post-Soviet Russia.

Once it became clear in the 1980s — with credible female and African-American runs for the president and vice president – that presidents no longer had to be white, Christian and male, pundits often would turn to Strauss and ask him to name the first likely Jewish president. He invariably would offer himself.

The self-promotion ostensibly was in jest — Strauss liked to remind people that his mother expected him to become the first Jewish governor of Texas — until it wasn’t. Jack Germond, the political columnist, once recalled trying to talk Strauss out of a presidential run in 1983.

“He was a Jew from Texas and a lawyer and businessman who had made a lot of money in ways that might have to be defended,” Germond said in a 2005 Washingtonian magazine article cited in Strauss’ Washington Post obituary. “Above all, he had a wise mouth that no candidacy could survive in this age of political correctness.”

President Obama in a statement lauded Strauss’ appeal across the spectrum.

“Bob was one of the greatest leaders the Democratic Party ever had, yet presidents of both parties relied on his advice, his instincts, and his passion for public service — not to mention his well-honed sense of humor,” he said.

Strauss’ wife, Helen, died in 2006. Strauss is survived by two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

Wasserman Schultz Turning Her Back on Israel over Iran Sanctions

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s pro-Israel image is being tarnished – make that blackened – by a firmly based report that she is the number one obstacle to a bi-partisan Congressional initiative to threaten new sanctions on Iran, effectively scuttling the recent interim agreement secured by President Barack Obama and the rest of the P5+1 club.

Her spoiler role, reported Wednesday by the Washington Free Beacon, starkly differs from her wild support in August 2012 for the “hardest-hitting sanctions in history” against Iran thanks to Congress having made “clear to the world [that] we are resolute in using all tools at our disposal to halt Iran’s nefarious nuclear ambitions.”

Those “nefarious ambitions” apparently have transformed in less than 18 months into the development of enriched uranium for medical research and other do-good humanitarian efforts that are a disguise for a nuclear warhead headed for Israel, if not Washington.

President Obama has threatened he will veto any Congressional bill to impose harsher sanctions on Iran and put a hole in his “engagement” with the Ayatollahs. Nevertheless, leading Democrats such as New York Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey’s Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker don’t buy it, and they support the proposed bill that shows Iran it cannot get away with murder literally.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland also was on the sanction bandwagon but backed off in the past two weeks. Why?

All fingers point to Wasserman Schultz, the Free Beacon reported, and the reactions back home in her strongly Jewish South Florida district are far from favorable.

“Every minute she is publicly silent, or working against bipartisan efforts to pressure Iran, is a minute she is siding with the Mullahs over the American people who overwhelmingly want mounting pressure,” one Democratic Congressman told the Washington newspaper.

“Debbie has been busy at home telling her constituents she is doing all she can to stop Iran, but in reality it appears she is busy behind the scenes working to scuttle bipartisan action to put increased sanctions pressure on Iran.”

It quoted a South Florida Jewish community leader as saying that her constituents have serious problems with her new soft-on-Iran position.

She has a Congressional ally with Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, who also opposed the bi-partisan effort, but she will have a lot of explaining to do at a meeting this week called by Jewish leaders in her South Florida district.

Wasserman Schultz’s spokeswoman did not reply to the Free Beacon’s request for a comment on the report.

The first sign of her currying favor with President Obama and closing her eyes to Iranian’s Islamic wish to annihilate Israel came on November 25, after the interim agreement was reached.

“I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Under Secretary Sherman and their team for the tremendous amount of work they put into these negotiations,” she said in a press release. “This agreement provides a framework to stop the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran while we work to negotiate a broad, comprehensive deal to permanently dismantle their nuclear weapons capability.”

After having bragged in 2012 that the Congressional sanctions caused Iran “a daily loss of $133 million and 1.2 million barrels of oil… [and] that we will not accept a nuclear Iran, and that we are prepared to use all options at our disposal to keep the world free from this Iranian threat.” she has swallowed the Obama “let’s trust Iran” policy hook, line and sinker.

Wasserman Schultz is ignoring official Iranian statements that make it clear it signed the agreement to buy time.

For example, the interim agreement would prohibit Iran from adding more centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facilities.

So how did Iran follow up? Well, at least it is honest, to wit:

“We have two types of second-generation centrifuges. We also have future generations [of centrifuges] which are going through their tests,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said less than two weeks ago.

Also last December, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Arak reactor in Iran that is designed to use plutonium, which could be used to construct a bomb, is “frozen stone cold, where it is” and “we’re actually going to have the plans for the site delivered to us.”

Really?

Salehi announced a week later that Iran’s heavy water installations Arak will continue its work with full power.

If Wasserman Schultz still believes that Iran has turned over a new leaf and no longer has “nefarious ambitions,” all she has to do is look at Lebanon and Syria.

Hezbollah, now up its neck in Syria and working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is smuggling anti-ship missiles from Syria piece by piece after previous attempts to smuggle them into Lebanon were ruined by Israeli intelligence, followed up by Israeli aerial strikes on the weapons.

So Iran really does not need a nuclear bomb if it can simply use Hezbollah to blow Israel off the map.

Wasserman Schultz may be the woman who saves President Obama from having to veto the sanctions bill, which already has the support of 50 senators, twice as many as when the bill was introduced last month, and one short of a majority.

The bill is aimed at putting teeth into the interim agreement by declaring that Iran must abide by it rather than simply biding time until a final agreement is reached, if that ever happens.

If not, then new sanctions would go into place.

It appears that the only thing that might change Wassermann Schultz’s new go-soft-on Iran position is a severe backlash from her constituents, who are more worried about the Iranian nuclear threat against Israel – and the United States – than she is.

GOP: Polls and the Hinge Points of History

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

What does it mean that recent polls show 7 in 10 respondents think Republicans are putting their agenda ahead of what’s good for the country, as opposed to the 5 in 10 respondents who think President Obama is doing the same?

The answer probably lies in an analysis of the ancillary question posed in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: do respondents agree or not with the statement that the GOP or the president is “demonstrating strong leadership and standing up for what they [he] believe[s] in”?

For Republicans, only 27% of respondents agreed with that statement.  For Obama, 46% of them agreed.

On the face of it, that’s actually a contradictory assessment about the Republicans.  Only 27% of respondents think Republicans are standing up for what they believe in – and yet more than 70% of respondents (the actual figure was 74%) think Republicans are putting their agenda ahead of what’s good for the country?  How can that be?

Here’s how: a meaningful number of the respondents are conservative Republicans (call them the “Tea Party,” for short) who are disappointed with GOP leaders, because the conservative respondents don’t think GOP leaders are standing up for Republican beliefs.  Those respondents add to the number who are predisposed to blame or dislike Republicans for other reasons.  But the “Tea Party” demographic despises GOP leadership because it thinks the party is doing too little to combat current trends in government, rather than too much.

I don’t think it can be disputed that the opinion-poll numbers are bad for Republicans.  But I do think the narrative that reflexively calls this a linear reaction to The Stupidity of Cruz is all wet.  For one thing, that narrative itself falls apart on examination.  The specialized thought process and the poll-respondent demographic just don’t exist to make it descriptive.

Equally important, however, is the key difference between Democrats and Republicans in October 2013, which is that Republicans are profoundly divided.

As long as the Democrats keep their communications reasonably disciplined, they can be sure of getting a unified set of characterizations across to the public without interference.  But the Republicans, who already find every talking point distorted by the media, have the added burden of genuine disagreement among themselves.  There’s no question that Republicans look, at this juncture, like we can’t get our act together.  This is because we can’t get our act together.  We don’t agree on what it should be.

Poll respondents are quite reasonable in recognizing that there would be no government shutdown if everyone in the GOP agreed with the Democrats on what should be done.  That’s really kind of a forehead-slapping “duh!” revelation, and I suspect it’s what the poll numbers are telling us.  Of course it’s the GOP’s fault that there has been a shutdown.  Of course the shutdown has been forced by political differences.

Does it follow that 74% of poll respondents – or of Americans in general, who may or may not be well represented in this poll – think “the” problem is the Tea Party, and that the way to resolve it is for the GOP to crush the “Tea Party wing” and get on with the business of agreeing with the Democrats?

No, it doesn’t – any more than it follows that the GOP should do the converse: rout the GOP “moderates” in a turkey-shoot from the right.  There is no such quantity out there as a 74% majority making it clear that Republican blame for the shutdown should translate into gigging Ted Cruz like a swamp-bottom frog, or into running John McCain out of town on a rail.

What there is instead is a profound dispute within the GOP about who we are and what our way forward is.

There may no longer be a unifying “center” to hold the GOP together.  If the GOP doesn’t encompass the limited-government views of the Tea Party, there is an essential sense in which the party no longer represents an alternative to the Democratic Party.

But there is still a sizable number of Republicans who see a viable future for a Republican Party that makes its name on what George Will has been calling “splittable differences” with the Democrats in Congress.  I admire Will’s broadly positive and genial take on the current impasse between the parties, and between the factions in the GOP.  But ultimately, I’m not convinced that being the party of “splittable differences” would be a big motivator or vote-getter for Republicans.

Hillary Tells Huma to Choose between Her and Weiner

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Hillary Clinton, an undeclared candidate for the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, has told Human Abedin to ditch Anthony Weiner if she wants to advise her former boss at the State Dept., The New York Post reported Monday.

The ultimatum has been given before but has greater meaning following Weiner’s embarrassingly poor finish in the race for New York mayor. He surprised observers by topping the polls three months ago, but his popularity rapidly sank when it was revealed he continued to send “sexting” messages ever after he repented and said he had returned to the straight and narrow path.

A source told the newspaper, “Hillary is horrified by Weiner, and thinks that he is an embarrassment to his accomplished wife. She wants Huma to leave him behind. But Huma is torn between her family and loyalty to Hillary.”

A representative of Clinton denied the report, but relations between Human and Weiner are known to be far from the best despite her decision last year to stick with her man – and their Muslim baby boy – and their Muslim baby boy

Anthony Weiner to Attend Jewish Press’s Mayoral Forum For Jewish Community

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Anthony Weiner’s aide has confirmed that the newest mayoral candidate will attend The Jewish Press’s mayoral forum, making it one of his first public forums.

The Jewish Press newspaper, the largest independent Jewish weekly in America, will be hosting a mayoral forum for the Jewish community, featuring the Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City.

When: Wednesday, May 29 at 8:15 pm

Where: The Manhattan Beach Jewish Center, 60 West End Ave, Brooklyn, NY. Questions for the candidates will touch upon crime, economics, education, among other topics.

Members of the community are invited to submit questions for the candidates by emailing sgreenwald@jewishpress.com (use the Subject line “Mayoral forum”), and The Jewish Press will select the best questions for inclusion in the forum.

Death & Taxes: Welcome to Obamaland

Friday, May 24th, 2013

In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.

We’ve heard this clever aphorism countless times, and nodded our heads in bleak recognition. And yet, have we ever really pondered the ghoulishness that equates taxes with mortality?

Anyone who has ever been audited by the IRS—Seraphic Secret has been twice audited, each time emerging battered but owing the government zero dollars—knows the helpless feeling of being forced to submit to an absolute power, where the normal rules of law and civil society are suspended by an all-powerful government with unlimited resources.

The IRS is a temporal tyranny. Death is the ultimate tyranny. One was created by man, the other by God.

Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrat party are now playing God, by joining death and taxes into one sinister package.

Obamacare is administered by the IRS.

The same lawless agency that has been targeting and oppressing citizens who disagree with the current administration’s policies, is the very agency now tasked with the health—which is to say every breath—of every American.

Indeed, the Obama administration is now setting in motion a system whereby a central government data base will connect Health and Human Services with the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Homeland Security, and who knows how many other government agencies.

This makes Big Brother look like a benevolent midget.

The dream of the left, articulated by Marx and Lenin, is to create a rigidly ordered society where messy individualism—AKA liberty—is suppressed in favor of  a utopian common good. Of course, the common good, as defined by the ruling leftists, is forever being downgraded to new normals.

For Obama, this is the new normal of massive unemployment and unsustainable national debt. In a few years, the new normal will be further redefined and downgraded. Before you know it, you live in a society where the common good has been so degraded that the very act of remembering what life used to be like under the banner of liberty and free enterprise is but a distant memory, if not a subversive thought as defined by those supermen who regulate our intake of salt, the size of our soda cups, what light bulbs we can use, and how we flush our toilets.

Welcome to Obamaland, where death and taxes is no longer an ironic statement, but a grim reality.

Visit Sephardic Secret.

Partisan Nation

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The use of the IRS to target conservative groups should be the least surprising development in years. Not only does that sort of thing date back to Clinton and JFK, both of whom unleashed the IRS on their enemies, not to mention Nixon who never managed to pull off the things that JFK grinned, did and got away with, but there was no reason for not to do it.

The two reasons not to sic the IRS on your enemies are decency and the law. Is there anything in Obama’s career, including his treatment of fellow Democrats, to suggest that he cares for either one?

The man in the White House clawed his way to power by stabbing his mentor in the back, leaking the divorce records of his political opponents and throwing out the votes of Democrats in Florida and Michigan to claim the nomination.

And he was just getting started.

In the last election, Obama urged voters to punish our “enemies.” It was a window into the mindset of a man who moans and groans about partisan politics, but talks like Huey Long when he gets in front of the right audience.

But these days the description is fairly apt. Who was the last president that both sides could agree was an okay sort of guy or something less than the devil incarnate? The answer might be George H. W. Bush, who was pilloried for being an out of touch rich guy, but really not all that bad when you think about it. And that means we have to go back two decades to find a president that the other side didn’t think should be put on an ice floe and pushed out to sea.

And before Bush I, we would have to go back all the way to the Eisenhower or Truman era. Politics was never nice. It was often very nasty indeed. But this isn’t the petty infighting of the political class anymore. We’re not talking about Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr shooting it out or Eleanor Roosevelt driving a car with a teapot on its roof behind Theodore Roosevelt Jr to keep him away from the job that would eventually go to her husband. This is a partisan politics born out of ideology.

The old politics sought a status quo that could be tweaked to favor one side or interest. The new ideological politics seek a fundamental transformation that will entirely destroy the status quo and eventually tear out every element, overturn every trace of what was and replace it with what should be. Ideological partisanship of this stripe is not concerned with the stability of the system. It is not worried about burning bridges because it believes all the bridges will have to be burned anyway.

There is a limit to what any political movement can do out of greed or personal vendettas in a democracy, but there is no limit to what it can do when it combines these with a political ideology whose ends justify all means. There is nothing that it will not do because it is unconcerned with the long term consequences of its actions, only with the short term results. It has no long term investment in the existing system which it intends to destroy.

Corrupt ideologies treat men with no decency as valuable assets. Their lack of scruples proves their willingness to put ideology over all mores and norms. The more extreme the ideology, the fewer limits it accepts on its freedom of action against its enemies and the more such actions come to seem natural. And then why not punish your enemies by using the full force of government against them?

The practical reason for not using government agencies to repress your opposition in a democracy was that they might do the same thing to you. But the mobilization of the bureaucracy as an arm of the left has made that fear largely irrelevant. Using the IRS to target Democrats would be dangerous business for a Republican. And the same would go for every other Federal agency whose appointees may be loosely conservative, but oversee organizations stuffed full of liberals and union members.

There is no such deterrent on the other side. And the only remaining deterrent, the fear of public exposure was largely nullified by the media. The impression was that Obama Inc. could do anything it pleased and get away with it. And so it did.

The Obama-Media War

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Revolutions are rarely undone from the outside. Mostly they come apart from the inside as the forty thieves descend into petty squabbling over the loot.

The loot comes in different forms, but at its core it is always power. It may be the power to kill or to steal. It may be the power to claim a nice piece of real estate or to send a million people off to their deaths. The scale of it will occupy historians and shock the people of the future who leaf through the history books and walk through the silent museums, but it is all of one piece. The purpose of power, as a fellow in a little book by George Orwell once said, is power.

The quarrel between Obama and the Media is largely a lovers’ quarrel, but the love is only there on one side. The media made Obama what he is. But what he is, among many other things, is a control freak spawned by a political ideology that distrusts everyone and consolidates power at all cost.

The media loved Obama, but it discovered early on that he did not love it back. Instead of basking in the adoration of the Candy Crowleys and the Anderson Coopers and the massive corporate machines behind them, the love child of every liberal fantasy shut them out, rigidly controlled their access and ruthlessly punished unauthorized conversations with the press.

The media had made Obama into a tin god, but were constantly suspected of heresy. Instead of being rewarded for their loyalty, they were kept at arm’s length.

Obama Inc. knew that their biggest asset was the narrative. A close study of Obama’s qualifications or accomplishments would have given no conceivable reason for voting for him. The only thing he brought to the table was race and even in this he was less qualified than most of the black men who had run for president.

The narrative was the dearest treasure of Obama Inc. It was the one thing that its cronies protected. The economy could tank, wars could be lost and an asteroid could smack into the Pacific Ocean and none of it mattered nearly as much as the golden narrative. They didn’t trust anyone with it including the media.

The media these days doesn’t have much. Its numbers are bad in every medium from the tube to the inky pages of newsprint to the crackling AM radio waves. It isn’t very profitable. Often it’s a dead weight. But it wields a great deal of institutional power. The New York Times and CNN may both be dogs when it comes to the balance sheets, but owning either one gives you an impressive amount of heft in the national dialogue; though not as much as working for one of them does.

Power is all that the media has. Its power is projected in a fairly narrow circle. Fewer people are reading, watching and listening to it, so its circle becomes more incestuous. Everyone has learned to act like a member of the D.C. press corps, interpreting events through the lens of old West Wing episodes. The resulting noise reaches fewer people, but helps form the shaky consensus on which the institutional power of the media stands.

In its dying hour, the media used that power to ensure the double coronation of a corrupt Chicago politician with a facility for mimicking speech patterns. And that politician rewarded it by trying to bypass it and set up his own media.

Obama’s vision of the proper place of the media isn’t just at his feet, but under his control. Instead of dealing with the media, he has tried to cut it out of the loop by putting a larger emphasis on social media and developing narratives through think-tanks and media influencing groups. It was a power struggle that the media was initially baffled by. It had held out an ice cream cone to the little boy, only to have the little boy kick it in the shin, grab the ice cream cone and run away.

For years the media had groused about a lack of transparency, the unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers and the hostile relationship between Obama Inc’s minions and many reporters. The grousing was usually understated. It could be mentioned offhand, but not too loudly. When Bob Woodward made the mistake of speaking his mind, he was swiftly punished for it by the avatars of the post-media media, while the old media sat silently and watched the show.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/the-obama-media-war/2013/05/21/

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