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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘party’

Jewish GOPers Ponder Party’s Future Course In Wake Of Romney Defeat

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Republican Party as a whole is reconsidering how it might have done better in an election that saw the party fail to win the White House and suffer modest losses in Congress, and Jewish Republicans and conservatives are coming forward with their own insights.

“There will be a lot of very frank conversations between our organization and its leadership and the leadership within the party,” Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said last week in a conference call that otherwise addressed gains that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to have made among Jewish voters.

A number of Romney’s financial backers – including Fred Zeidman of Texas, Mel Sembler of Florida and Sheldon Adelson – are among the RJC’s leadership, and Brooks made clear that their voices would be heard.

“A lot of the major financial support the candidates received was from the members of this organization,” Brooks said. “There is a lot of weight behind their message on that.”

William Daroff, the Washington director of the Jewish Federations of North America and a former deputy to Brooks at the RJC, said Republican Jews would likely advise the party to take more moderate positions.

“The conventional wisdom is that the election will result in the shift of the Republican Party to the center, particularly on issues of immigration,” Daroff said. “To the extent that the party does shift, it would make Republican candidates more appealing to Jewish voters who may be inclined to vote Republican on foreign policy and homeland security issues but who have been turned off by conservative Republicans rigidity on social issues.”

Some of the leading voices counseling moderation of Republican policies have been Jewish conservatives. One of the first post-election posts from Jennifer Rubin, who writes the Right Turn blog for the Washington Post, said it was time to stop opposing gay marriage in the political arena.

“Republicans for national office would do well to recognize reality,” Rubin said. “The American people have changed their minds on the issue and fighting this one is political flat-earthism. As with divorce, one need not favor it, but to run against it is folly, especially for national politicians who need to appeal to a diverse electorate.”

Charles Krauthammer, the syndicated columnist, noted sharp Democratic gains among Hispanic voters and counseled a change in immigration policy, making clear that the current GOP emphasis on securing the borders should be followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.

Romney had advocated disincentives, including making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get jobs and educations, that would push them to leave, or “self deport.”

“Many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front,” Krauthammer wrote in his Nov. 9 column. “Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.”

Zeidman, the fundraiser, said Jewish Republicans had a special role in making the case for immigration reform.

“The rest of the party has to understand what we as Jews have always understood – that this is a nation of immigrants and to ignore them is to end up losing,” he said. A number of conservatives have lashed back against calls for policy changes, saying that the party was missing the ideas revolution underpinning the 2010 Tea Party insurgency that propelled Republicans to the majority in the House of Representatives. “There’s no point in two Democratic parties,” said Jeff Ballabon, a Republican activist from New York. “Any such victory would be pyrrhic.”

Singling out gay marriage or immigration was self-defeating, said Ballabon.

Recalling the drawing power of a figure like Ronald Reagan, Ballabon said positions on hot-button issues matter less than a party leader who can appeal across demographic lines.

“The only chance we have is there’s another bold visionary who can attract people not based on divide and conquer, but who can inspire people to core American ideals – liberty, freedom, personal responsibility,” Ballabon said.

Tevi Troy, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said the problem was not with policies but with how they were presented.

“There are messaging challenges,” he said. ”I don’t think any of our candidates should talk about rape.”

Jewish Home Party Primary Results In; ‘Anglo’ Jeremy Gimpel Comes in 9th

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The winners of the top four spots after Naftali Bennett in the Jewish Home primaries are former MK Nissan Smoliansky, Ayelet Shaked, MK Ori Orbach, and Avi Wortzman, the national-religious Israeli website, Srugim, reports.

All but Smoliansky are allies of Naftali Bennett who trounced MK Zvulon Orlev to become the new chairman of the party last week.

The other candidates who did not make the top five are Doron Donino, American-born Jeremy Gimpel, Shuli Meulam, Rabbi Nachman Misimi, Amiad Taub and MK Gila Finkelstein.

Using his Tuesday Night Live talk show as a base, Gimpel and his partner Ari Abramowitz launched a joint campaign for the Knesset several months ago, registering 3000 people, including many English-speakers to the party in hopes that this would propel at least one of them to a realistic spot on the party’s list.

The party’s list will be merged with that of the National Union, and together the two are expect to receive more seats than they would separately, currently seven.

Gimpel received 15,360 and ranked 8th among the candidates competing on Tuesday’s primary, which would make him 9th place on the Jewish Home list. That number which would be pushed even further back after the merger and he would not be expected to make it into the Knesset.

Vantage Point

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This is a picture of President Barack Obama watching the Vice Presidential debate aboard Air Force One with members of his staff, en route from Florida to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. It was taken Oct. 11, 2012, when to the rest of us the campaign looked wide open, with a slight advantage to the Republicans.

For mortals like myself it’s difficult to imagine beating an opponent who sits in his office watching live television while flying from Florida to Maryland. I would think you’d have to be extremely persuasive to pull it off. A few have. Not this time. Not last time around, back in 2004. Not the time before that, in 1996.

In fact, the last time it was done was with the help of a third party candidate, who siphoned off 19% of the vote from the incumbent, George Bush I. And the challenger was the best political campaigner in recent memory, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

We should keep this image in mind as we’re approaching a year of open conflict with our best friend and ally across the ocean. He has oodles of power and resources we cannot match. To come up ahead – as we must – we need to be better than Mitt Romney.

National Union Reaction to New “Israel Strength” Party

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The National Union (HaIchud HaLeumi)’s reaction to Eldad and Ben-Ari’s announcement: “The Israeli political left-wing is elated at the news that our partners are splitting away and setting up a new party, because it means that tens of thousands of right-wing votes will be wasted, and that we have returned to the type of politics that brought about the Oslo Accords. We have always promoted unity in the National and National-Orthodox camps and we are sorry that our partners, who oppose running together with the Bayit Yehudi in the upcoming elections, have not learned the lessons of the past, which brought us the ‘victims of peace’. ”

Giant Rats and Tiny Men

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

On the corner of the street a giant rat squats over the sidewalk, its shadow blocking the cold winter sun, while at its feet, hired men, some with heavy accents, hand out leaflets and chant, “Who are we, What do we want” in the familiar hymn of the hired union protester, not a member of a union or an employee or a shop, but just a man hired by unions to intimidate some store or company into going along.

There’s another giant rat creeping its way up the Potomac through the evening fog. Its snout is the size of a skyscraper and its shadow is the night. And there are hordes of smaller rats inside that rat and smaller rats inside it that come spilling out. Call it the Trojan Rat or the Great Rat of the Potomac. Or just call it Washington D.C.

In the year of the rat, the election came down to a whole bunch of men and women loudly chanting, “Who do we are, What do we want.” The Democrats had clear answers to both questions. They wanted the rat. They wanted to be rats. They wanted to be the last rats on the sinking ship of state.

That was the hysterical frenzy of the Democratic National Convention in a nutshell. It was the pied piper calling forth all the rats by name and teaching them to march around when the pan pipes played. And the pipes played, the rats went to the polls, they voted, once, twice, three times and then waited around for their cheese.

And who were the Republicans? What did they want?

Watching the Republican National Convention, you got the sense that they were amiable people who like hard work, and talking about hard work, who like minorities and Clint Eastwood movies. They were as American as apple pie, in the way that commercials for frozen apple pies that you defrost in an oven are. Pop the Republican Party in your Sunbeam, punch out 60 years and you’ll get the Eisenhower Administration, toasty and fresh in your kitchen.

But the voters didn’t want apple pie. Some of them did. The older ones. The married ones. And yes those hordes of horrid white males. But a bunch of the electorate wanted burritos, they wanted hot pockets and a hundred other treats. And they wanted them free of charge.

The Republican Party was proposing a country where anyone can open up their own pie shop, while the Democrats were offering free burritos and degrees in Transgendered Mayan poetry in order to “invest in our future.” The party of apple pie came close, but the party of burritos with cheese for voters who vote early and often, came in closer.

The first question of any movement is who are we. The second question is what do we want. And until we can answer those questions and communicate those answers, then we are always going to be flailing, moving from one compromise to another, while our own rats ponder which principle to dispense with first. After all, what good are principles if they don’t get you in to ride the rat?

What the Republican Party communicated in 2012 was that it wanted to win an election. It chose the most electable candidate and put on a show that had little of substance. Three nights of apple pie commercials and then months of apple pie speeches about how wonderful this country is. Little was said, but the unspoken message was that policies didn’t matter, winning did.

As Churchill said of Chamberlain, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.” The Republican Party thought it had a choice between defeat and dishonor, it chose dishonor and got defeat anyway. Now we are offered even greater dishonors to avoid greater defeats. And when the GOP has appeared every single element of the electorate except its own base, then surely it will be allowed to win.

But winning isn’t the point. Winning is a power play. It only matters if you either expect to ride the rat or if you are fighting for something. The Republican Party fought to win and it lost. Now might be the time to fight for something, rather than to fight for the sake of winning the fight.

Tiny men don’t defeat giant rats. Not unless they are fighting for more than themselves. More than mere antipathy for the rat. And men who don’t know who they are or what they are fighting for will always be small, no matter how much fame they have or how well known their names are.

And that brings us right back to the question being shouted under the giant rat. “Who are we and what do we want?”

The Republican Party is divided, not split, between an establishment that wants to ride the rat and a base that wants the rat gone. The establishment is still trying to figure out how to win over giant rat voters with the promise of a better, slimmer, but more efficient rat. The base wants it to build a rat trap. But in elections the establishment usually gets its way and whatever the election results are, the giant rat stays around for another year, getting bigger and bigger.

The establishment, that nebulous entity, as at home on the Potomac as its rivals, has few differences with the Democratic Party. It agrees with most of its premises, it just wishes that it wouldn’t be so fanatical about them. It would like to trim back the bureaucracy, loosen some of the regulations and make life easier for business. At least it thinks that it would like to do that, but aside from occasional tax cuts, it doesn’t really do much about that, because it too likes to ride the rat.

The Republican and Democratic leaderships might be divided into the moderate and extreme wings of the same party. But their bases are very different.

The old Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democrats have become Republicans. The Republican Party is at the voting level, the rural party, the party of those skeptical about federalism and looking to lock in liberties with the Bill of Rights. At the same time its leadership consists of Hamiltonian Federalists who are interested in moving business forward. Throw in a moral traditionalist base and the party becomes even more impossibly conflicted.

Meanwhile the Democrats have become what the Republican Party turned into after Lincoln, corrupt, elitist and widely hated. A modernist party that postures as a party of civil rights, but views black people as walking votes and tools for extending the federal power grab of fanatical unionists. It is a party with no more vision than consolidating authority into central organizations that are run by the incompetent and it is not above pulling any and every illegal trick in the book to violate the Constitution. Its only reason for success is that its opposing party has so comprehensively disgraced itself that much of the country will not even consider voting for it.

But as rotten as the giant rat of the Democrats may be, it at least knows what it wants. The same can’t be said for a Republican Party that is stuck in a schizophrenic state. It is united, not by a vision, but by an opposition to the left.

The one thing that the Hamiltonians, Jacksonians and Jeffersonians can agree is that they don’t like the left and its vast bureaucracy that is hostile to business and bent on total control of all aspects of human life.

This opposition transcends federalist issues or moral divides. The Republican base and leadership may differ on how much big government they should be, but they can all agree that the endlessly expanding horror show of the giant rat, towering over Washington D.C. and sharpening its teeth on the Washington Monument is too much.

America is the other thing that the Hamiltonians, Jacksonians and Jeffersonians agree on. They all like it and think that it’s a special and exceptional place. And turning conventions to that theme is a point of agreement. Unfortunately the unwillingness to define what makes America special, beyond the ability to open your own apple pie shop and the ability of immigrants to open their own apple pie shops, means that there is little disagreement, but also no real message.

The Hamiltonians turn Jeffersonian when talking to the base. But then they revert back to being old Alexander. Romney is the first presidential nominee in generations to run on such an explicitly Hamiltonian platform and the results should surprise no one. Hamilton was a good deal more popular after he was killed by Aaron Burr, probably the most ruthless American progressive of all time, who makes ratlings like Ayers or Alinsky seem downright inconsequential, than when he was alive.

Ideology follows interests. The Hamiltonians are city dwellers. They believe that men need regulation but that free markets don’t. They understand the power of the economy in building a nation and how making unpopular decisions that hurt people in the short term can help them in the long term. But they don’t understand people and are terrible at getting their message across. They are sophisticated enough to think big, but not to think small, and the populists beat the stuffing out of them every time.

The Jeffersonians are rural and suspicious of cities and central organizations. They want to keep their way of life by limiting the power of the central government. They are passionate about freedom and instinctively dislike the Hamiltonians. Jeffersonians can win the majority of the country by land area, but the cities stifle them. They are instinctive revolutionaries, but like the Hamiltonians they struggle to communicate their deeply felt beliefs to the rest of the country. They always think small.

And then there are the Jacksonians, who go deeper, challenging the disenfranchisement of the public by the elites. The Jeffersonians still believe, to a degree, in the basic decency of their opponents. The Jacksonians do not. They suspect, and sometimes rightly so, that their opponents seek a one party state. They don’t just protest, they organize public outrage, marshaling the frustrations of those who feel excluded to challenge and overturn the entire system. The Jacksonians can think big and small.

The question is are we going to be Hamiltonians, Jeffersonians or Jacksonians? The question is what do we want?

Do we just want to prune back regulations and make life easier for big business, tidy up the debt and keep the train rolling for another decade? Do we want to smash the Federal system to keep our own corners of the world safe from the overreach of its power… or do we want to use the Federal system to smash the institutions of the left? Do we want to ride the rat, kill the rat or teach the rat to eat its own young?

Do we want to keep the urban federal technocracy going or pull back to local government? Does our future lie with big institutions that plan to do a lot or small ones that we control? Do our economic interests, short term and long, lie with free trade and open borders, or small business and domestic manufacturing? Do we believe in the system or in the family? Do we believe in the expert or the wisdom of the mob? Do we want to push on into the future or protect our past? These are the debates that we need to have if we are ever going to move forward.

We all know what we’re against. The question is what are we for? Once we answer that question then we’ll know not just what we’re fighting against, but what we’re fighting for. And until then we will not be able to step out of the shadow of the rat.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

MKs Eldad, Ben-Ari Launch ‘Power to Israel’ Party, MK Ariel Warns of Damage to the Right

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari are leaving the National Union party to set up “Power to Israel,” with a slogan that translates, roughly, “No Duties – No Rights.”

In third place in the list is right-wing activist Baruch Marzel, and in fourth place right-wing activist Aryeh King, known for his efforts to enhance Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. In fifth place you’ll find Itamar Ben-Gvir, MK Ben-Ari’s media consultant.

Eldad and Ben-Ari announced their new party at a press conference in Jerusalem Tuesday morning.

MK Eldad, a renowned plastic surgeon who decided to devote his life to preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state, said at the conference: “We announce the establishment of a new Knesset faction, but you can’t talk politics without talking about southern Israel. At this hour, a million civilians are in shelters under the threat of missiles, while a government I can only describe as crazy continues to provide water and electricity to the Gaza Strip. This is one of the things we want to change as we stand as a new faction in the political arena. The lack of security in the south also reflects a picture of insecurity in central Israel. Terrorism threatens us from the outside, and the terror of illegal infiltrators threatens us from inside, and we will deal with both.”

Eldad described a vacuum on the right: “Liberman has joined Netanyahu and is now sitting in one list with Dan Meridor. Deri is dragging Shas to the left, to the Oslo days, and therefore there is a need for an ideological right-wing that will say things that have been forgotten: Without duties you cannot have Rights. The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. The National Union is collapsing, this is no way to run a political system. We bless our colleagues, Ketzele and Uri Ariel, who are returning home to the NRP. We have no doubt that they will take care of the national-religious sector, but we have a different agenda.”

Eldad was referring to MKs Yaakov Katz and Uri Ariel, his partners in the now abandoned National Union faction, who will be running to the 19th Knesset on the Jewish Home list.

MK Uri Ariel attacked Eldad and Ben Ari’s decision in an interview on Arutz-7 (owned by his partner, Katz). “I’m very upset about this move,” he said. “We approached them and offered in writing to go together and lead the National Union to winning a lot of seats and to serve as an anchor for the Netanyahu government, but, unfortunately, they chose to split.”

MK Ariel warned that Eldad and Ben-Ari will not pass the threshold vote (about 2%) and end up causing great damage to the right and to Israel.

Michael Ben-Ari explained that his new party “means what it says, it’s not just talking, it’s doing. We will join the coalition not for positions or budgets, but only for the implementation of the principles that will add power to the State of Israel. We represent loyalty to the people of Israel.”

As an example of wrongdoing, Ben-Ari added: “MK Benny Begin just boasted of transferring funds to the Arab municipal authorities. Are they paying municipal taxes over there? Are they paying income taxes? First do your duty, then receive your Rights, this is our message.”

Incidentally, a recent poll predicted that a new party headed by Eldad and Ben-Ari should pas the vote threshold and receive two Knesset seats.

Jewish Home Primaries Today, Vote for the Anglo

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Today, the Jewish Home party (formerly known as the National Religious Party) is holding primaries for its list of candidates for the Knesset. It’s not clear how many seats the party will get in the next Knesset.

Its Knesset list will be merged with the National Union, reportedly at a 1:1 ratio. The total number of seats will likely be higher than the two party’s have today in the Knesset, which is seven.

Some polls even show the joint list receiving up to 13 seats. I would guess that those who want to vote to the right of the Likud now no longer have the option to vote for Yisrael Beteinu since those two parties will have a joint list, and they will be forced to vote for the Jewish Home.

The election of a new head of the party – Naftali Bennett- who is well known and who is interested in reaching out beyond the parties traditional base of support, will also give the party a boost.

But this is Israel and anything can happen between today and January 22nd – the date of the general elections.  For those candidate’s running for a spot on the party’s slate, they can’t rely on the party getting 13, 10 or even 8 spots. They need to get as a high as possible on the list.

As the Jewish Home has a total membership of around 54,000 every vote will count in that tight race.

One of the candidates is Jeremy Gimpel, who originates from the U.S.

I have to admit, I wasn’t very pleased at first with the announcement of Gimpel and his talk/radio show partner Ari Abramowitz that they were running for the Knesset.

It was clear to me that even if the party would net five seats either on its own or as part of a joint list with the National Union – two more than it has today – it would be very unlikely that two of the five would go to two English-speakers hitherto unknown in Israeli politics.

I am also very active in the Likud, where members will be voting in a primary race for a party that has 27 seats and is and will be leading the country. I didn’t like the idea of people joining a party to vote for one person when they could be joining a party and have influence over approximately 27 Members of Knesset.

I also see the Jewish Home as a sectarian party. It has its public – the national religious community – and it cares about that sector’s interests.  As a Zionist, and even as a religious Zionist, I believe it is irresponsible for a politician or a party, to behave this way. Laws, the budget, policies: these must be drafted in consideration of the national interest. I understand that the Israeli electoral system promotes this behavior, but it should be resisted.

Perhaps Naftali Bennett, who was only elected party chairman on November 6th, will indeed broaden the party’s scope. But that is yet to be seen.

Nevertheless, Gimpel (and Abramowitz) saw an opening in the generally closed-to-newcomers Israeli political scene. The Jewish Home would be holding primaries for the first time. It did not have a membership base. All candidates running for a spot would be starting from scratch. Whoever they registered by the deadline would become the voters in the upcoming primary.

In the Likud, by contrast, there are 123,000 members, which is a relatively small number, but there is a 16-month waiting period before members can vote. Primaries are held at least 6 months before the scheduled date of the general election. So any Knesset campaign would need to already have registered a bloc of members at least 22 months in advance of the general election date. Practically, it would have to be even earlier since the general elections are almost always held earlier than scheduled.

This election cycle they will be held in January 2013, nine months earlier than scheduled. The primaries in the Likud will be held on November 25th. To be eligible to vote in the primary, one must have registered by July 25th, 2011, more than two years ahead of the scheduled date of the general election.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jewish-home-primaries-today-vote-for-the-anglo/2012/11/13/

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