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January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

GOP Choice: Dirty Suit with Full Pockets v. Reliable Republican

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

GOP voters have a tough choice to make of which candidate they’d put up as a against the eventual Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City. On the one hand, Joe Lhota has the experience and the temperament to serve as mayor on day one, but in a City whose Republican voters are outnumbered by a 6-1 ratio, the Republican needs a chest full of coins to at the very least get out his message to voters.

On the other hand, John Catsimatidis has the money to wage a campaign against the Democratic nominee for mayor and has brilliant ideas on how to keep the city safe and move it forward. There’s one hurdle though, voters don’t seem to take him seriously.

In an interview with the WSJ, Dan Isaacs, chairman of the New York Republican County Committee, admitted that Mr. Catsimatidis is “not your conventional candidate” in terms of his “mannerisms and appearance.”

As an example, the WSJ reporter points out an appearance by Mr. Catsimatidis last Monday, where the candidate wore a dark suit with a large, eye-catching stain.

“Yeah, he’s got a dirty suit and maybe he’s got a stain on his tie or his shirt. But you know what? He’s real,” Mr. Isaacs said. “And I’d rather have a guy like that than someone who’s perfectly coiffed and is full of bull—. And that ain’t John. John calls it like he sees it. He’s honest.”

At his campaign launch on the steps of City Hall, Mr. Catsimatidis pointed to his suit as an example he’s not a Michael Bloomberg billionaire. “I’m not wearing $5,000 suits,” he said. He didn’t even shy away from showing it off, when Hunter Walker from Politicker (now TPM) came close to see what make the suit was.

“I think it was $99 at Joseph A. Banks,” he said. “So, I’m not wearing a $5,000 suit and this is what I wear every day.”

Mr. Catsimatidis is currently trailing Mr. Lhota in the GOP primary by a 6-11 point margin, but has managed to turn the race into a horse race.

Speaking to the WSJ, Mr. Catsimatidis said he’s willing to spend whatever it takes to win City Hall. “Money is not an object. It’s getting the message across to everybody,” he said, estimating he will ultimately spend about $8 million on the primary and, presuming he wins, as much as $19 million in the November general election.

As of early August, he’d spent about $4 million on his campaign, roughly 2.5 times the amount spent by Joe Lhota. Campaign finance records show Mr. Lhota with roughly $1.7 million cash on hand.

Bill Cunningham, a former communications director for billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg who helped steer Mr. Bloomberg to victory in 2001, told the WSJ that Mr. Catsimatidis faces an uphill battle in the primaries since primary voters tend to be more conservative.

“He’s running against a lifelong Republican,” Mr. Cunningham said. “On resume, and temperament and experience, [voters] may look at Catsimatidis and say, ‘He has wonderful experience in the business world but Lhota has much more experience in government and politics.’”

In order to counter that impression, Mr. Catsimatidis has argued on the campaign trail that Mr. Lhota is mean-spirited and has a bad record of raising taxes, by pointing out that as MTA head Mr. Lhota raised toll prices that ultimately hurt New Yorkers who struggle to make ends meet.

Cantor to Lead Tour of GOP Lawmakers to Israel

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives, will lead 26 GOP lawmakers next week  on a tour of Israel funded by AIPAC’s educational affiliate.

The visit follows on the heels of a similar one this week for 37 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House Democratic whip. Such tours, funded by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, are held on off-election years and are geared to freshmen lawmakers.

Participants meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and tour congressionally funded facilities, including Israel’s anti-missile systems.

Hoyer Again to Lead House Democrats to Israel

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, again will lead fellow Democrats on a tour of Israel funded by AIPAC’s educational affiliate.

Two freshmen, Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), said they would be joining this week’s visit, which will include meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as well as tours of U.S.-funded defense systems, including the short-range Iron Dome anti-missile program.

Such tours, funded by the educational affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), routinely take place during the August recess of off-election years. Hoyer, the minority whip from Maryland, has led a number of the tours. A spokeswoman for Hoyer said that 31 of them are freshmen, out of 38 in this class of Democrats.

The Democrats’ tour, which lasts about a week, usually is followed by a similar tour for Republican freshmen. In past years the GOP visit has been led by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader and the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress.

Netanyahu Names American Immigrant Ron Dermer Ambassador to US

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday he is appointing American-born Ron Dermer as Israel’s next Ambassador to the United States, the second American in a row to represent Jerusalem in Washington.

Dermer, who will replace Michael Oren, has served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser for the past four years and served as the economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington from 2005 to 2008.

He was born in Florida, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.

Dermer immigrated to Israel in 1997. He once wrote in the now defunct New York Sun that he “left America because I wanted to help another nation I love defend the freedoms that Americans have long taken for granted.”

Dermer has a background of political activism in the Republican party, having worked with the GOP in the 1994 mid-term elections before going to Oxford. While studying there, he shuttled to Israel to work on behalf of Natan Sharansky and his Yisrael B’Aliyah party.

His appointment gives Prime Minister Netanyahu a close ear in Washington, where Dermer is familiar with back channels, noted JTA’s Ben Sales last year, when Dermer’s name was being floated for the ambassadorial post.

“Netanyahu likes him, respects him and listens to him,” Netanyahu’s former national security adviser Uzi Arad told the JTA. “I often asked for his advice. In many ways he was a guy to listen to. When it came to knowledge and being cultured and erudite and intellectually inclined, that’s him.”

“He understands how Americans view Israelis and how Israelis view Americans,” Mitchell Barak, an Israeli pollster who met Dermer as an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Sales. “He knows how to work [in Washington] and has personal relations.”

Dermer’s views are strongly nationalist and indicate that Netanyahu is finished with any more “good will” concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Dermer castigated The New York Times in 2011 with an open letter that attacked its news coverage and its Op-Ed page.

Times columnists “consistently distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace,” Dermer wrote in the letter, which was published in The Jerusalem Post. “It would seem as if the surest way to get an op-ed published in The New York Times these days, no matter how obscure the writer or the viewpoint, is to attack Israel.”

Dermer wrote in 2003 that Israel would be giving up its sovereignty if it were to agree to the Bush “Roadmap” plan.

“It is one thing for Israel to take into consideration what America says,” he wrote. “In fact, Israel’s national interest demands that it do so. But it is quite another to cede to a third party, no matter how friendly, the right to determine Israel’s future.”

Dermer co-authored with Sharansky “The Case for Democracy,” a book that reportedly was a major influence on President George W. Bush..

GOP Jews Leave Meeting with Rand Paul with ‘Pleasant Surprises’

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul held a conciliatory meeting with the Republican Jewish Coalition in his latest bid to forge ties with the pro-Israel community and left the GOP Jews with some “pleasant surprises,” Matthew Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s director, told the Washington Post.

“While there may be areas of disagreement, he is very, very different — and certainly different with regard to his father,” Brooks said of last week’s meeting between Paul (R-Ky.) and the RJC board.

The RJC has sharply criticized Paul since his successful 2010 run for the Senate, particularly because of his opposition to defense assistance for Israel. Since then Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, has visited Israel and taken pains to distinguish himself from his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a perennial presidential candidate who has cast his own opposition to aid for Israel in stinging criticism of the Jewish state.

Brooks told the newspaper that Paul spoke of “putting Israel in a different category” than other nations. Paul earned a standing ovation last month at a meeting of the Zionist Organization of America on Capitol Hill.

Staunch Israel Supporter Rep. Bachmann Calls It Quits

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, a staunch supporter of Israel, announced Wednesday she will not for a fifth term in Congress next year.

Like Alaska’s former Gov, Sarah Palin in 2008, Bachmann was a darling of the Tea Party. After she launched a campaign for the GOP presidential nomination last year, she quickly became a frequent target for media mockery for several statements that were full of historical and factual errors.

Bachmann, who is not Jewish but volunteered on a kibbutz in 1974, delivered speeches as a fundamentalist Christian who has said she “grew up with a love for Israel.” She has asserted that Israel and the United States “share the same exceptional mission – to be a light unto the nations. I was raised in a home full of love for Israel. We learned that our Christian faith is rooted in Judaism.”

She was one of the founders of the Tea Party movement but believed the support from a vocal minority was broader based than it was. After she topped initial polls and then fell to the bottom of the pack in the crowded contest for the nomination, she dropped out of the running.

The campaign is history, but recent federal investigations have targeted her for misusing campaign funds.

She denies any wrongdoing and said the probe has nothing to do with her decision not to run again. In an eight-minute video explaining her decision. Bachmann tried to persuade supporters, if not herself, that she was sure she would win if she were to run again, although Jim Graves, who almost defeated her last year.

Which Genius in the GOP Came Up With This One?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

There was a time in the 80s when standup comedians were required by law to wear loud blazers and louder ties and to demand answers to life’s unanswerable questions about senseless products, airline regulations and the other inconveniences of modern life. “Who were the geniuses who came up with that one?” was their demand.

The Republican Party, which has been a joke for almost as long as it has been a party, is in the hands of those same geniuses. Fresh off two defeats in presidential elections, they have come up with the plan of all plans to get back on top.

First, they will nuke their own grassroots by raising money to attack deviant Tea Party candidates and protect true conservatives who support amnesty, tax shelters and tax hikes. Considering that the Tea Party was responsible for the first Republican victories since 2004, how is spending money going after it bound to attract voters and improve prospects for more victories in 2014.

Second, they will add 11 million Democratic voters to the rolls through amnesty for illegal aliens as part of a brilliant plan to stop being a national party and settle down to fighting pitched battles for local council seats. Even the geniuses behind the election polling and ORCA should be able to win a few those. And if they can’t, then it’ll be time to raise more money to keep down some of those pesky Tea Party types trying to run for school boards while saying politically incorrect things.

Fortunately there is a clear path to victory. All we have to do is convince the Party of Consultants that all is lost and that they should come out as Democrats now. If they do that, then the Democratic Party will be a useless ruin within a decade. If they don’t do that, the Republican Party will have the same policies as the Democratic Party, except for the part where it wins elections.

The establishment wanted Romney in ’12. And they got him. They assured us that he was the only electable candidate. And when he lost, they told us that he didn’t fail, the country failed him. And if a campaign built on Staples couldn’t catch fire, it must have been due to the descent of the country into a nation of takers.

And they have a plan for ’16. They’ll run an immigration friendly candidate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio to win the Latino vote. Sure, Rubio lost the non-Cuban Latino vote in Florida, and unless the entire population of Cuba gets imported to the United States and legalized between now and ’16, he’ll only win, at best, as much of the Latino vote as Bush did, or as Rick Perry did, which isn’t enough to win an election, especially once you’ve legalized the 10 percent of Mexico that lives north of the Rio Grande. But after they blow that one, the geniuses will step up to the plate and blame the Tea Party for a loss by another of their perfect candidates because during the primaries Rubio or Bush was forced to disavow Amnesty II or Amnesty III.

The Republican Party of ’12 looks a lot like the Democratic Party of ’88. It’s outdated and running on fumes. All its slogans are tired and its leaders seem completely out of touch. Even the most unfair attacks stick to it, because it has no momentum. It isn’t going anywhere because it’s enclosed in a shell of outdated ideas and tired figures from its past who prevent anyone from coming to the fore. That same state of affairs led to the unlikely candidacy of Bill Clinton among the Democrats, but assuming that an obscure southern governor will battle his way through the Republican primaries to reveal a talent for national politics may be hoping for too much. And if he did, the establishment would spend their cash reserves to crush him in favor of a reliable choice like Paul Tsongas.

It didn’t have to be this way. The Tea Party gave the GOP a shot in the arm. Suddenly it was acting and thinking like a revolutionary party. There were ideas in the air, energy on the ground and anger coalescing into action. And then it all got shut down for four months of infomercials about Staples because the establishment had gotten what it wanted and decided to play it safe before the big game.

The Republican Party has no ideas. Its only ideas involve deciding which liberal platform to “evolve” its way up to and how to sell that “evolution” to the base. And a lack of ideas comes from a lack of beliefs.

There comes a time in every struggle when a man wonders why he’s doing this. And if the only answer is to win, then he isn’t really fighting for anything. He’s being competitive. Or he’s fighting to make money. Or because it’s all he knows. All three attributes describe the Republican Party now. Its leadership does not believe in anything. It believes in winning in that abstract corporate competitive way. It doesn’t really know why it’s fighting though, except that the other guys will make a mess.

A party without ideas borrows them from its enemies. The big idea that the Republican establishment has is to be more like the Democrats. They just can’t decide which area they want to imitate them in the most. But the one thing they do know is that they need to get those annoying conservative ideas off the stage first.

Going after the Tea Party is sound strategy for the establishment, not from the standpoint of winning elections, but of keeping their jobs. If you lose, then you need someone to blame. The establishment is protecting its scalps by claiming the scalps of the reformers who might give them the boot. That’s one way of winning a circular firing squad. And of losing all the elections that follow.

Without ideas or beliefs, the Republican Party stands for very little except being the Party of Staples, and while Staples seems like a very nice store, it’s not really enough to base a whole country on. If the United States is to be reduced to a superstore full of office supplies, then America is no more exceptional than a stack of writing paper, four rulers and some office furniture shoddily made in a factory in some polluted Chinese megalopolis.

As the Staples Party, the Republicans are interested in importing more cheap labor into the country. It may not be good for the country, but it is good for the people who sign their checks and that’s good enough. And if Amnesty destroys the Republican Party, then they’ll find someone else to make their checks out to. Influence can always be bought, even in totalitarian countries, ethics and ideas cannot.

The Republican Party is an organization at war with its base. The Republican leadership and its backers think big. Their base thinks small. That inability to think small, to echo the concerns of ordinary people lost two elections. Reagan and Bush won, in no small part, because they appeared to be part of the small world of ordinary people. They shared their culture and concerns. They gave signs of being able to think small, and though the media ridiculed them for it as buffoons and dopes, Bonzo and the Bushisms had the last laugh. But that sensibility never sank into the leadership.

The establishment has failed to come to terms with the fact that the GOP cannot be a party of urban liberals and has been the exact opposite of that for some time. It can’t even be the party of wealthy people who live in liberal areas and agree with liberals on many things, except national defense and excessive regulation. The Republican Party can either become one with its base, or it can either try beating it off with a stick some more while waiting around for Meghan McCain to deliver the new hip conservative movement.

The Republican Party has spent so much time trying to win over swing voters that it has lost sight of the fact that it is presiding over an empty hall, a vast echoing space in which nothing is happening. The Tea Party may be the last hope of the GOP, its final chance to connect with a base, gain some fresh energy and ideas, and emerge in fighting shape in ’14 and ’16. And if it can’t do that, then there’s always room on the standup comedy circuit of the big empty hall.

A longer version of this article originally published at Sultan Knish, under the title, “Who Were the Geniuses Who Came Up with This One?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/which-genius-in-the-gop-came-up-with-this-one/2013/02/05/

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