Mitt Romney, who lost to President Obama in the last election, is considering running again for the job.Jewish Press News Briefs
Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’
Mitt Romney used the inaugural convention of the Israel American Council (IAC) on Friday to lash out at President Barack Obama for his letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader less than a month before the deadline for a nuclear deal at the end of month.
The letter reportedly beseeched Iran to cooperate with the United States in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), but the White House denied that there was any suggestion of military cooperation with Iran.
Romney, who has not said one way or the other if he will take another crack at being the Republican party’s candidate to defeat the Democrats in 2016, said he was “stunned” and “speechless” over the fact that President Obama would even suggest at cooperating with a “rogue” state.
He castigated Obama for being “divisive and dictatorial to our friends,” obvious referring to Israel.
Romney charged that the president “continues to diminish himself and America and leads bad people to think America can be pushed around.”
The 2012 GOP presidential candidate roundly tore Obama apart and delighted his audience with repeating a joke he told while campaigning for victorious Republican Senatorial candidate Joni Ernst in Iowa.
“Obama went to the bank to cash a check. He didn’t have his ID. And the teller said, ‘You’ve got to prove who you are.’ And he said, ‘How should I do that?’
“She said, ‘Well, the other day Phil Mickelson came in, he didn’t have his ID. So he set up a little cup on the ground, took a golf ball, putted it right into that cup, so we knew it was Phil Mickelson. We cashed the check.
“And then Andre Agassi came in, and Andre Agassi didn’t have his ID either. He put up a little target on the wall, took a tennis ball and a racket, hit it onto that target time and again. We knew it was Andre Agassi, so we cashed his check.”
“So she said, ‘Is there anything you can do to prove who you are?’ And Obama said, ‘I don’t have a clue.’”
Moving on to Obama’s foreign policy, the former Massachusetts governor demeaned it as one that is “weakening our military and distancing us from our allies.”
Romney disagreed with Obama’s approach that “we have common interests” with adversaries, and explained, “This is a battle going on, and you don’t start shedding the members of your team” while fighting.
Former Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney and former Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman will address the inaugural Israeli American Council (IAC) National Conference in Washington next month.
The IAC’s stated mission is “to build an active and giving Israeli-American community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel.” The number of Israeli-Americans is estimated at 500,000-800,000.
The event will mark Romney’s first formal address to the Jewish and Israeli-American community since his loss in the 2012 presidential elections, and it will be Lieberman’s first opportunity to address the Israeli-American community.
Romney has said he will not run in 2016, but not everyone believes him because he has been active on the campaign trail. Just in case he might change his mind, billionaire Donald Trump told Breitbart News, “I don’t think he should run. He had his chance and he blew it.”
One source close to Trump told the Mediate website that Trump figures that if Romney could not beat Barack Obama, he would do even worse against Hillary Clinton, who is considered a shoe-in as Democratic presidential nominee if she runs.Jewish Press News Briefs
Fox News talk show host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is already looking ahead to 2016 when he thinks American Jews who care about Israel will support him if he makes another stab at becoming the Republican party presidential candidate.
“I’m looking at it very seriously” he told JNS.org when asked about 2016, adding that he is having exploratory meetings to determine “whether people who I trust, and people whose views I have confidence in, believe that there is a pathway forward for me through the primary.”
Presidential candidates always have their eyes beamed on the “Jewish vote,” which includes “Jewish money.” One lesson from the 2012 election was that money cannot buy an election. Just ask Sheldon Adelson who GOP fundraisers said was $150 million poorer, in a virtual way, after President Barack Obama handily won re-election.
Most of the dough went to super PACs. Adelson also spent a few million dollars to prop up Newt Gingrich’s efforts to go head-to-head against Obama, but the money could have been better spent on supporting a yeshiva or some soup kitchens in Israel.
But Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, must view the American Jewish vote as something spiritual with roots in the Holy Land and an ear in the Heavens.
“Israel could have no greater supporter than Mike Huckabee, and as far as any concerns we have about the safety and security of the state of Israel, we couldn’t ask for better than Mike Huckabee,” Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and major donor to Republican presidential campaigns, told JNS.
President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and “only” 69” percent in 2012. Republican pounced on the drop as indicative of a trend of Jews fed up with the President’s attitude towards Israel in general and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in particular.
“I would certainly hope” that the downtrend in Jewish support for Obama will continue in the next election, no matter who the Democrats nominate, Huckabee said.
He understands that Jews traditionally vote Democrat because of a liberal socio-economic orientation.
But if Israel is a factor, why would anyone committed to the safety and security of the future of Israel “be supportive of the policies of Barack Obama, which you can call the most frighteningly non-supportive [U.S.] policies on the state of Israel since its inception,” he asked.
“I can’t imagine that somebody could look at those policies and say, ‘Boy, [Obama has] really got the Israelis’ back’—because he doesn’t,” Huckabee added. “If that’s a priority, and that becomes a defining factor in how people vote, then it’s inconceivable to me that they could give their support to someone who supports the current administration’s policies toward Israel.”
The key to Huckabee’s mistake is that for most American Jews, Israel is not a factor.
Huckabee does not understand that the majority of American Jews supports their own concept of Israel, not Huckabee’s, and not mine and probably not yours.
This theme has been hammered over and over again in books on Americans and Zionism, but it bears repeating: The existence of Israel makes most American Jews feel good to be Americans, especially when Israel is considered something like a 51st state with kosher food and lots of synagogues open for Yom Kippur. Most American Jews have a good conscience so long as Israel exists, and they don’t care where the borders are so long as no one, God forbid, criticizes Israel.
“Oy, the United Nations says Israel is illegally letting Jews live in Judea and Samaria? The put them back in Tel Aviv where they belong
“Oy, The New York Times condemns Israel for maintain the Western Wall as an orthodox religious site? How Un-American! Let the Women of the Wall make the rules.”
And don’t forget to wave the Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, during the seventh inning stretch.
Huckabee forgets one important point. Sorry man, but most American Jews are not orthodox. Most American newlyweds do not even marry other Jews, unless the term “Jew” is widened to include anyone who decides for himself, ”Yeah, I think I will be Jewish.”
Regarding those who consider Israel a factor, Huckabee certainly has the backing of American Jews, most of them Orthodox, who know that the “peace process” is a bunch of baloney, but dangerously poisonous, and that Judea and Samaria is just as much a part of Israel as is Tel Aviv.
He forgets that most of the remaining real Jews – those who are Jewish according to Jewish law – are “armchair Zionists.” They buy Israel Bonds on Yom Kippur, pushing down a tab with enough zeros after the “1” so that their name can be announced from the pulpit.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
An analysis of a recent New York Times article examining the presidential voting trends of all the New York precincts determined that almost all Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney over Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.
According to an article by Front Page Mag, Romney won over 90 percent of the Jewish votes in Borough Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Manhattan Beach, Belle Harbor, Howard Beach, Kew Garden Hills, Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay.
The article noted that support for Romney was irrespective of the level of income of the neighborhoods.Malkah Fleisher
(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))
Yishai presents a bit of comic relief by presenting audio from this year’s Albert E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, which was held in October 2012. The first speaker is Massachusetts Governor and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is followed by President Barack Obama. This audio segment shows a light-hearted side to both Governor Romney and President Obama that isn’t normally seen.
Given the large election majority received by President Obama and many other of their favored candidates, a reasonable morning-after position for a group such as J Street would be one of quiet satisfaction, or even – why not? – gleeful rejoicing.
But J Street, which has rarely met a critic of Israel it didn’t like, instead tried to promote itself as an integral part of the campaign, a driving wind propelling Democratic victories. So eager to claim a starring role, J Street released details of several exit polls they commissioned which, upon examination, tell far more about how little J Street matters.
But first, to refresh your memory regarding the quality of candidates supported by J Street:
In the Wisconsin race for U.S. Senator, the Democratic contender, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, defeated former Wisconsin governor Republican Tommy Thompson. Although Israel was not much of an issue in the race, the Emergency Committee for Israel, a staunchly pro-Israel organization with conservative political roots, aired an ad attacking what they called Baldwin’s anti-Israel position during her congressional career.
ECI said Baldwin was “nothing less than hostile to the U.S.-Israel alliance. She has accused Israel of war crimes, befriended anti-Israel groups, refused to sign bipartisan letters of support for Israel, and defended the libelous Goldstone Report.”
Yes, that was J Street’s candidate in that race.
J Street supported Cheri Bustos in the 17th Congressional District of Illinois, and she defeated Republican Bobby Schilling. Unlike Baldwin, Bustos has nothing whatsover to say about foreign policy. Her issues are jobs, the economy, Medicare and Social Security, and the second Amendment. But in losing Schilling, Israel has lost a great friend in Congress, with a 0 rating by the Arab American Institute.
There goes another J Street-targeted friend of Israel.
And, as was to by expected, J Street threw their support behind the CAIR and Hamas man in Washington, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota. He is a regular at CAIR fundraisers and pro-Hamas rallies. A former member in Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, Ellison has also participated, later in life, in interfaith dialogue (mostly with Reform rabbis). Even if we were to discard past accusations of Antisemitism and his defense of Farrakhan – what business does a Jewish PAC have supporting him?
J Street also supported Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, one of the most widely recognized anti-Israel members of Congress. With a +3 rating by the Arab American Institute, Dingell voted No on withholding US contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes, on opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, and Absent on a bill to ensure that United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund terrorist entities in Lebanon. What point is J street making by giving him PAC money, and why are they so happy he won?
LITTLE ACTUAL INFLUENCE
The above short list demonstrates rather well J Street’s agenda in these elections, but the fact that candidates they supported have won does not mean that the organization’s contribution actually got them over the threshold.
J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, boasted in an email sent out to thousands with the subject line “Astounding! J Street Goes 71 for 70 on Election Day,” but with respect to Jewish voters—whom J Street claims it represents, and whom it is trying to persuade—in very few of the campaigns in which it contributed heavily did the Jewish voters who were in play make a difference.
In an upstate New York race, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) was defeated by the man she herself had defeated two years ago, Dan Maffei. J Street backed Maffei, but the hot issue in that race was abortion, not Israel. Maffei successfully tied Buerkle to Missouri’s Republican contender for Senator Todd Akin, notorious for his unfortunate “legitimate rape” comment.
In Florida, Republican Rep. Allen West was defeated by Patrick Murphy in an extremely tight race. West was redistricted out of his comfortable seat, and Israel was far down on the list of issues on which Murphy focused.
In Illinois, Democrat Tammy Duckworth defeated sitting Congressman Joe Walsh. Walsh is an ardent Israel supporter, but the district they battled over is a majority Democratic one, and Duckworth had received the endorsement of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The focus of her attention was energy, the economy and education – not Israel.
And in Ohio, where Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown handily won over his upstart Republican challenger Josh Mandell, a New York Times editorial written by Mitt Romney back in 2oo8 probably did more to defeat any Ohio Republican challenger for office in 2012. In this state, second only to Michigan for auto-related employment, Romney’s opposition to the automobile industry bailout and his op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” was just too much of a kick in the home state face to overcome. Even though what Romney actually called for was a re-structuring of the car companies, a “managed bankruptcy,” the details were swept away while the headline hung there and hanged the Republicans.
It is clear that J Street’s role in this year’s election was basically irrelevant, and certainly far humbler than its own superlative: “astounding.” While revealing just how unabashedly anti-Israel their choices are, Ben-Ami et al simply have not demonstrated that they mobilized the Jewish vote in a direction it wasn’t already following.
DISMAYING POLL RESULTS
The Republican Jewish Coalition also released poll results, in which they tracked the same few Jews, in virtually the same ways, and received pretty much the same results.
In the broadest terms: Obama won. He won big amongst Jews. No argument from either group. According to the RJC, Romney received just under 32 percent of the votes cast by Jews, according to J Street, Romney received 30%. Not such a big difference.
Where the information and the analysis did begin to differ, was in determining whether there was a significant decrease in Jews voting for Obama this election, versus 2008. While most agreed that Barack Obama received approximately 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, J Street is now claiming that a more recent calculation revised that number downwards to 74%. With the four fewer percentage points in 2008, and a two point lower estimate in 2012, the differences become more significant.
If, as the RJC claims, there was a 10% increase in Jews voting for the Republican presidential candidate, which amounts to a 50% gain (22% of American Jews cast their vote for McCain in 2008, and 32% of American Jews cast their vote for Romney in 2012), that reflects a recognizable and significantly growing trend, albeit with only two data points.
If you accept J Street’s sudden revision of historic facts, claiming that a greater percentage of Jews cast their votes for the Republican candidate in 2008, and, consequently, that somewhat fewer Jews voted for Romney this time around, the loss of Jewish voters to the Democratic candidate becomes only four percentage points, which means that over the lifetime of Obama’s “blocking back,” J Street, there have not been nearly as many Jews jumping from the Democrats’ ship.
Either way, of course, far fewer Jews cast their votes for President Obama this time around, and either way, of course, President Obama remains in office for four more years.
First, the information provided by the exit polls paints an alarming picture, even without looking at whom the respondents chose.
For Jewish Press readers, there’s a frightening picture that calls out for action: American voting Jews don’t care all that much about Israel, and they really don’t care about Israel’s number one concern: Iran.
The J Street and the RJC polls asked the question slightly differently, but either way, only about 10% of American Jews consider Israel to be an issue that drives their voting decisions (J Street poll), and for more than 21% Israel is of no importance in making the decision for whom to vote (RJC poll). To look on the bright side, slightly more than 75% consider Israel to be either very important (30.2%) or somewhat important (46.3%). But still, we are talking about Jews here, not the general public.
The denominational breakdown between the two polls is of vital interest: 11.9% of the RJC poll respondents identified as Orthodox and 31.1% identified as Conservative, while only 10% of the J Street poll respondents identified as Orthodox and 27% identified as Conservative. In both polls the largest denomination was the Reform movement.
Only the RJC poll asked about synagogue attendance, but the responses there were interesting. Slightly more than 25% of those answering the poll claimed they attend synagogue almost every day or once a week, but 13.9% said they never attend, and nearly 2% refused to answer the question.
One quirky finding is who received high favorability ratings. President Obama garnered a 60% favorability rating, the second highest of those included in the question (Bill Clinton received the highest). But Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a 59% rating, beating even Vice President Joe Biden, who came in with a 54% rating. And DNC Chair Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had a 46% favorability rating — that’s far below any of the other Democrats, Netanyahu, or the Democratic Party as a whole.
Although Iran and Israel are not significant voting issues for American Jews, fewer than half of those polled think that sanctions and diplomacy as tools for dealing with Iran’s nuclear race should be given more time, and a full 35% think those methods have failed.
The RJC poll asked about respondents’ understanding of Barack Obama’s attitude towards Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Nearly 45% believe Barack Obama is more pro-Israel, 22.8% more pro-Palestinian, and 17.4 believes he is neutral, while a full 15.3 either refused to answer the question or said they did not know.
So, strangely enough, while J Street cannot show serious influence in this election, essentially cheering races that would have been won without them – the overall picture emerging from the polls of Jewish voters’ attitudes are an icy shower to American Jews with traditional Jewish values.
Yori Yanover contributed to this article.Lori Lowenthal Marcus