web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘election’

What We Lost in This Election

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Now that we have lost the election of 2012, where our champion, a third-rate imitation of Ronald Reagan, without either his charm or his principles, who believed in absolutely nothing except being the best salesman he could be; let’s pause to reflect on all the things we lost out on through his defeat.

When we lose something, a relationship or a job, the grief comes from what we thought we had and what we imagined it was, not from what it truly was. Perspective means getting a true sense of what we had and what we never had to begin with.

So let’s look at what we might have had with President Mitt Romney.

We lost the chance to have universal health care, with the mandate, become a principle that every conservative was duty-bound to defend.

Oh I know. Mitt Romney was going to repeal ObamaCare. And he was. And by “repeal”, I mean he would have tinkered with it a bit and turned it into RomneyCare. And for the next four to eight years, it would have been heresy to ever suggest that we opposed universal health care with a mandate. Once Romney did that, it would have turned out that we only opposed universal health care with a mandate when it was badly enacted, without regard for businesses, by a Democrat.

We lost the chance to have a Republican president deliver weapons to Syrian Jihadists. Not to mention apply more sanctions to Iran in order to force it to the negotiating table. We could have been so privileged as to have a Republican president execute these two items of Obama’s agenda. Instead we’re stuck with a Democrat doing it.

Of course President Mitt Romney would not have done these things out of a deep abiding hatred for America and a sympathy for terrorists. But he would have still done them anyway. He wouldn’t have understood what he was doing, but his foreign policy would still have been sixty percent of Obama’s foreign policy, without the conscious malice. It would have been an improvement in that regard and only in that regard.

Those of you pro-Israeli types who imagine that a President Romney would have taken the boot off Israel’s neck, would have been shocked when a month after taking office, his Secretary of State would have commenced condemning Israeli “settlements” in Jerusalem. Just like it was in the days of the Bush Administration.

But, Romney would have been different, you say. He had a great rapport with Netanyahu. And Bush had a great rapport with Sharon. He had an even better one with Saudi Arabia. The same would have been true of Romney.

Still Romney would have appointed conservatives to the Supreme Court. And there you may even be right. I wouldn’t place any bets on it though. Oh we probably wouldn’t have gotten any Wise Latinas on his watch, but then again we might have, but I wouldn’t count on too many members of the Federalist Society ending up on the bench either.

Romney would at least have been pro-business. So was George W. Bush. And how well did he deal with the problems of government overreach? It’s all well and good to be pro-business, but even a former businessman who becomes a president, sees problems from the government’s end, not from the standpoint of a businessman.

And, for that matter, if you doubt any of this, do look back on the Bush years and consider that Romney would have been worse in every area than Bush. It’s human nature not to believe that, but it’s so. And if the election had gone another way, in a few months you would have seen it for yourselves.

The 2012 election was of course a disaster. A complete and thorough disaster. But it was a disaster because Obama and his cronies won. Not because Mitt Romney lost. Mitt Romney filled a void. He stepped into a spot that we needed, became a symbol and then he failed, because he was only a man, and worse still he was a blue state politician who was light on principles and heavy on being a people person.

What we lost in this election was not a chance for better leadership, but a chance to remove a bad leader. But what we gained was an end to complicity in the actions and policies of this administration. What we gained was a chance to use this defeat to launch a movement that can actually win an election by confronting the issues.

Obama Wins Close National Vote, Mandate Denied, US Future Dim

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

It hasn’t been a long night. Around 10 PM Eastern, someone on one of the channels I had been following said that President Obama’s motorcade was getting ready to take him to his election center, in Chicago. It meant that the Democrats were certain about their presidential win.

I could feel the anguish emanating from our own chat line here, at the JewishPress.com. I was hearing similar cries of woe from a few open Skype lines on my desktop. Towards the end there, I think many of us started believing that a Romney win was a real possibility. A Dick Morris prediction of a Romney landslide win we ran here got close to 30 thousand page views in half a day. Regardless of its very loose connection to reality on this planet, the story expressed the yearnings of so many who flocked to our website in search of a voice to reflect their own.

The Democrats have retained control over the Senate, with 51 seats plus two independents. Not the kind of numbers that can break a filibuster. The Republicans will keep the House, with a net loss in the single digits. This means Obama had no coat tails whatsoever in this election. He barely got over the hedge himself. He has won better than 300 delegates to the Electoral College, but that does not mean that he received a mandate from the people. He won by a squeak.

I believe the Republicans have achieved their most basic goal this time around, namely, that their presidential candidate—who was destined to lose to an incumbent—wouldn’t perform so atrociously that his defeat would coat-tail the Republican House with it down in flames. Remember Governor Perry? Speaker Gingrich? Congresswoman Michele Bachmann? So Romney delivered the bare minimum that was expected of him: Don’t make matters even worse. That was the reason the party leaders, along with the Bush clan and Karl Rove were so adamant about supporting Romney – they and the billion dollar budget they brought in with them.

The fact that Romney almost won the presidency while he was at it was above and beyond their initial expectations. I think Romney spent much of the campaign playing to tie rather than win. It was only when he met the enemy in the first debate and drew blood that he realized he could actually make it. That’s my hunch.

Political Science majors should take note of the miracle performed by Obama Tuesday. Until this year, no incumbent president since FDR in 1940 has won re-election with unemployment over 7.2%. Well, Obama has broken the mold, winning despite unemployment hovering at between 7.6 and 7.9%. This means there were additional circumstances that weighed in his favor. I believe two factors were in play:

1. America is losing its White majority. It is sinking fast, and this year it is 72.4% White. Back in 2000, it was 75.1% white (In 2011, White new births were outnumbered by non-White 50.5% to 49.5%). Since Romney lost by such a small margin (roughly a million votes nationwide), it means that had this election been held in 2004—all other things staying the same—it would have been a Republican victory.

A good friend suggested to me early Tuesday morning that the Republicans were experiencing the broken glass effect, meaning they would crawl over broken glass to vote their choice, that’s how much they hated Obama. But my wife commented that, judging by the images of long lines of African American and Hispanic voters standing in line in Florida, Virginia and Ohio, it appears they, too, would be perfectly willing to take the crunch. That’s how much they feared Romney.

2. The Republican Party has to regain the center for real. Let’s face it, Romney was working hard to appear like a benign centrist, but you can’t be against the Dream Act and against abortion rights in this country and hope to be considered a centrist. I’m afraid that with its zeal to embrace the authentic Tea Party candidates, the Evangelicals, and the NRA crowd, the GOP has edged out the last of its liberal and moderate stars. This works well for the red states and even for local races in many blue states, but if the GOP wants to govern, it has to rediscover its businessmen/women, its bankers and its moderate intellectuals, or it won’t stand a chance to win presidential politics ever again.

PM Netanyahu Congratulates US President-Elect Obama

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

From the Government Press Office:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulates US President Barack Obama on his election victory. The Prime Minister said,”The strategic alliance between Israel and the US is stronger than ever. I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, this afternoon (Wednesday, 7 November 2012), will meet with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.

Barack Obama Pic Flies Across Social Media

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

President Barack Obama, who has won a second term as President of the United States, tweeted a victory photo which has garnered over 440,000 retweets across Twitter and over 1.6 million Likes on Facebook:

Even After Sandy – It’s Still Romney for President

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

During the Republican National Convention, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a statement that has stayed with me. He said that President Obama is not a bad man. He is just a bad President.

I do not agree with the latter part of that statement. He is not a bad President. More on that later. What I want to focus on first is that he is not only not a bad man – he is a good and decent man. A caring individual who truly wants to serve the American people and has tried to do so to the best of his ability for the past four years .

Whether he has been successful at any level is a matter of debate. But one can certainly not fault his sincerity or intentions. He is a good man. One that deserves our respect, not only as President of the United States, but as a Mentch.

This was amply demonstrated by a press conference held yesterday in New Jersey. Democrat President Obama stood next to Republican Governor Chris Christie and promised the people of New Jersey and all other victims of Hurricane Sandy that the U.S. government will do everything it can to alleviate their pain. He promised that red tape will be eliminated and that the government has learned from past experiences how to more expeditiously serve the victims of natural disasters. That remains to be seen but I somehow think it will happen. Especially now when his re-election may depend on it.

But I would posit that it would happen anyway. The President cares about the victims and is determined to help them as quickly as possible. To that end Governor Christie has praised the President. From Matzav:

“I have to give the president great credit,” Christie, who delivered the keynote address at Romney’s nominating convention, said on the Fox News Channel. “He’s done, as far as I’m concerned, a great job for New Jersey.”

Just as the President is a good and honorable man, so too is Governor Christie – giving the President credit when it is due despite his harsh political attack against him during the convention. It is to the shame of Matzav that they have politicized this. Instead of joining Governor Christie in recognizing the “great job” he’s done for New Jersey, the home of Lakewood Yeshiva, they used the following headline for this story:

Governor Disappoints: Obama Gets Christie’s Praise as Storm Aftermath Assessed

Very disappointed in Matzav. One can only surmise that they actually hate the President. It is as though they think he is some sort of closet anti Semite! If they don’t hate him why do they use the most unflattering picture they can find whenever he is the subject of one of their posts?!

I know all the reasons given as to why they don’t like him. Reasons that I do not agree with. Matzav has much company along those lines. But there is no excuse for politicizing a tragedy like this.

Let us examine for a moment the charge that he is some kind of anti Semite. It can’t be for his lack of support of the state of Israel. Because as I have pointed out many times that wouldn’t be true. Is it because of his former association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright (he was his pastor) – who is demonstrably anti-Semitic? That argument may have played well during the first election 4 years ago. But any claims to that effect now are simply wrong and so ridiculous that one would have to be blind deaf and dumb to believe it.

The fact is that he not only respects the Jewish people, he respects those of us who observe the Mitzvos. So much so that he actually goes out of his way to make sure observant Jews in his administration do not violate Halacha. If that is a surprise to anyone they should read an article about the President’s relationship with his Chief of Staff, Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew. From theForward article:

When Jack Lew was appointed chief of staff to President Obama in January, many in the Jewish community wondered how he could observe Shabbat in such a demanding position.

Luckily, Lew has the most powerful man in the world to keep track of time as the sun starts to dip low in the sky on Friday afternoons.

“I saw the president on many occasions on Friday afternoons look at his watch, and ask: ‘Isn’t it time for you to get going?’” Lew said, “or, ‘Why are you still here?’ The president was not checking the clock “because he doesn’t think I can keep time,” Lew said. Rather, the extra care on this issue reflects the President’s wish “to remind me that it’s important to him, not just to me, that I be able to make that balance.”

Lew, who is Orthodox, revealed the details about his keeping Shabbat in an extraordinary interview with the Forward that touched on his need to observe the Jewish holy day.

“And he’s respected that time and again,” the chief of staff said of Obama.

So much for his anti-Semitism!

One thing this storm has done is to give the President an advantage in the election this coming Tuesday. If there are no glitches, the President gets to look Presidential. This is something Romney can’t do. He is only a candidate. He can replace campaign speeches at political rallies with humanitarian drives for victims of the hurricane. But that is not the same as standing with the governor of the most devastated state and promising them all the federal help he can – as quickly as he can. Romney cannot look Presidential because he is not the President. Yet (if ever).

This will surely tip the close race in the President’s favor. But I hope it doesn’t. Although as I said above, I don’t think Obama is a bad President, I don’t think he is the best President for the country right now for reasons I stated in my post endorsing Romney. Reasons having to do with the economy and foreign policy.

We need a change at the top. That is still the bottom line for me. I am grateful for the service the President has given to this country and for the good and decent man that he is. But it takes more than that to be a good President.

Does Romney have what it takes? I’m not sure, but I don’t think four more years of Obama will change the domestic and foreign situation for the better all that much. It’s time to let someone else try. I don’t think anyone world say that Romney is not a good and decent man – much the same way the President is. Let’s hope he’s elected and makes a better President.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

European Jewish Association Calls for Protection of Ukrainian Jews

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The head of the European Jewish Association has called on the Ukrainian government to ensure the safety of the country’s Jews in the wake of the election to parliament of an anti-Semitic party.

“We are not presuming of course, to interfere in internal Ukraine affairs and its voters’ decisions, however we are very concerned about the safety of Ukrainian Jews and are seeking to prevent expansion of anti-Semitism in Europe,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in a statement.

On Oct. 28, the ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Party, making unprecedented gains in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, garnered 12 percent of the vote, after winning less than 1 percent in the previous election, in 2007. The percentage means that the party can control a parliament faction for the first time.

Party leader Oleg Tyagnibok has called in the past for purges of the approximately 400,000 Jews living in Ukraine, as well as other minorities. The party has held several protest rallies against the presence of Jews in Uman, in the center of the country.

The Storm that United a Divided Nation

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

I’m sitting here with my kids on Monday night and, aside from the glow of the laptop, the Sabbath has come early this week. Outside Hurricane Sandy is pounding our New Jersey town of Englewood. Earlier in the day we saw trees bend like twigs and wind gusts tearing pieces of our roof clear off. This evening we said Psalms for all the people of the Northeastern United States to be safe and studied the Biblical portion of the day, appropriately, Abraham arguing with G-d to protect the inhabitants of his area condemned to destruction through the elements.

Just yesterday I was fully engaged in my campaign for the United States Congress. Winning, elections, and victory were on my mind. Boy, what a difference a day can make. Today, I just want my family and the 50 million people in the storm’s path to be safe. We just read of a man of 30 who lost his life when a tree fell on his house in Queens, NY. We read of two boys in New York State who lost their lives in similar circumstances. We’ve seen photos of people’s homes blown away. In Manhattan, a giant crane dangles and there is no telling whom it might hurt.

Does winning matter now?

As the storm approached I wondered what it all meant. I am a religious man and believe all to be providence. There are no coincidences. A freak storm, hitting New Jersey of all places, in late October, is so rare as to seriously raise eyebrows. And just a week before such momentous elections that will determine the future of our nation and who will be our President?

I cannot divine the mind of God and we would obviously all have been much better off without this storm. And while, by far, the most important thing is for everyone to be safe, and for the families of those who lost loved ones to be comforted, the storm’s arrival does suddenly put everything in perspective.

For the past few months America has been bitterly consumed by an election that has torn the country asunder. To an extent it’s understandable. While the tone has been at times quite negative, the stakes in this election are very high and the consequences for whichever visions wins very great. It’s understandable that passions are so intense.

Yet, along comes Frankenstorm, just days before the election, and knocks everything about the election clear off TV, newspapers, and the internet. Just try to find a candidate anywhere campaigning. President Obama and Governor Romney have both suspended their campaigns. Our own efforts here in New Jersey are focused on how we can help those who have most suffered in the storm. The only thing that matters now is people’s safety and wellbeing. Suddenly there is no talk of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, tax cuts and entitlements. There are no attack ads and there are no advocacy ads. All the talk is about protecting life, keeping people safe, and being there for each other.

In my book that’s coming out next month, The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering, I reject any belief that suffering is redemptive. I will not dignify human agony with according it some higher purpose. All suffering is awful and any good that comes by its means could be achieved far more effectively through something positive. Better there be no storms, better there be no danger. But to the extent this awful thing is here, perhaps God, in His providence, is telling us that unity is what life is all about and we’re just too darn divided.

Yes, I would prefer that we come together in the wake of something positive than negative. We don’t need hurricanes, we don’t need 9/11’s, we don’t need the murder of American Ambassadors in Benghazi to remind us that we’re one nation, one people, with one heart. Much better to unite around a man walking on the moon, a space shuttle lifting off, and Americans winning gold medals at the Olympics. Better to unite around inspirational stories of diseases being cured, people in danger being rescued, children who are hungry being fed. But to the extent that our country is way too divided, let’s internalize the message, just before one of the most partisan elections of all time, that there is nothing in life as special as unity, nothing more beloved by God than oneness among His children, nothing more inspirational that differences being put aside as humanity unites to protect life.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/the-storm-that-united-a-divided-nation/2012/10/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: