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April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Did Biden’s Incivility Work For Him?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The morning after last week’s vice presidential debate, Democrats were delighted. Vice President Joe Biden’s obnoxious display was exactly what was needed to cheer them up after a week of morose speculation about why President Obama was so passive and uninspired during the first presidential debate with Mitt Romney.

Indeed, the more Biden giggled, smirked and interrupted Paul Ryan, the better they liked it. While his condescending and bullying behavior contradicted liberal doctrine about conservatives being the ones guilty of polluting the public square with political incivility, it embodied their complete contempt for both Republicans and their ideas.

Biden’s nastiness may have reinvigorated a Democratic base that wanted nothing so much as to tell their opponents to shut up, even if it may have also alienated a great many independents. But it’s not clear the Obama/Biden ticket will benefit from Biden’s performance.

The reason for this is not very complicated. The Democrats cheering on Biden’s bullying, while ignoring the fact that he had nothing to offer on the future of entitlements and his disgraceful alibis about Libya, did so because at bottom they really do not feel Republicans or conservatives are worthy of respect or decency. Though they rarely own up to it, they don’t think Republicans are so much wrong as they are bad.

By contrast, most Republicans think Democrats are wrong, not evil. Ryan, whose polite behavior was entirely proper but was made to appear passive and even weak when compared to his bloviating opponent, demonstrated this paradigm by patiently trying to explain his positions even when he was constantly interrupted.

Hard-core Democrats would have been happy had Obama treated Romney the same way Biden did Ryan, and there were plenty of signs that he shares his number two’s contempt for the opposition. But while a vice president, especially one who has often been treated as something of a national joke during his four years in office, might be allowed to get away with playing the buffoon, a president cannot.

In terms of substance, both Vice President Biden and Paul Ryan had their moments of strength. Ryan was strong on foreign policy, while Biden squirmed and threw the intelligence community under the bus about administration lies about the Benghazi attack. Biden delivered class warfare body blows about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe.

But the main difference between the two wasn’t so much their competing liberal and conservative ideas and arguments. It was the blatant disrespect shown by Biden for his opponent. Biden mugged throughout the debate almost every time Ryan spoke. He also interrupted the Republican almost at will without moderator Martha Raddatz saying a word to call him to order.

It may be that Democrats were so dismayed by Obama’s passive performance in the first debate that Biden was urged to be more aggressive. But what he did wasn’t merely aggressive; he was openly rude. That may have encouraged the Democratic base, but it remains to be seen whether that is the sort of thing most Americans are comfortable with.

Democratic spinners will say Biden is a “happy warrior,” that his nastiness and aggressiveness bloodied the Republicans and that it doesn’t matter that the way he did it was embarrassing.

They may have a point. People probably won’t decide not to vote for Obama because they think the giggling, smirking and interrupting was beneath the dignity of the office he holds.

If Biden’s job was simply to rally the base and attack his opponents, then his arrogant condescension will help the Democrats regain their momentum after a week in which they’ve lost a lot of ground.

But it is also possible that a lot of those Americans who saw the debate, even those who are Democrats but especially independents and undecided voters, will not think much of a vice president of the United States acting more like a schoolyard bully than a statesman.

Many Democrats will applaud Biden’s buffoonery and falsely claim that it was no different from Romney’s demeanor in the first debate even though there is no possible comparison.

Republicans can console themselves that while Ryan did seem a little nervous at times, he wasn’t intimidated. Nor did Biden succeed in painting Ryan as the monster that the Democrats claim him to be.

Kerry cites Netanyahu in Calling GOP ‘Lies’

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praising the Obama administration in a bid to show that Republicans have “lied” about Obama and Israel.

“Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on Iran—and take nothing off the table,” Kerry said Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., where Democrats are holding this year’s convention.

“Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done,” said Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee and believed to be a strong contender for the secretary of state spot in a second Obama term.

“But Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight—he said, our two countries have ‘exactly the same policy…’ – ‘our security cooperation is unprecedented…’ When it comes to Israel, I’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day,” he said.

Netanyahu has assiduously avoided the appearance of endorsing a candidate, although he is known to be close to Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president. It was the second time this week that a Democrat used an Israeli figure to attack the GOP.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, cited Michael Oren at the convention’s outset in accusing Republicans of endangering Israel by sowing divisions between the parties on Israel.

Oren has decried partisan use of Israel, but in an unusually sharp statement denied ever specifying one party or the other.

Some Love Lost: Dems Drop ‘Special Relationship’ Language from 2012 Platform

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The pro-Israel news wires have been abuzz over the excision of core pro Israel language from the 2012 Democratic Party Platform. But it is not only the changes in the Democrats’ planks that should be examined.

For those who missed it but who care about Israel, here’s a recap.

Statements in the Democratic party platform referring to Israel that were included in their 2008 document, such as America’s “strongest ally in the region,” and mentioning “our special relationship with Israel” are gone.

Not only that, but Jerusalem does not merit even a single mention in the Democrats’ 2012 document.  The 2008 commitment that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel” which “should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths” has evaporated.

State Department Spokewoman Victoria Nuland, Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, have all refused to allow the phrase “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel” to pass their lips.  Did they not know that those words were an essential component of the Democratic Party’s public pledge in 2008?

The 2012 Democratic Party Platform now simply refers to aid to Israel and the maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge as something for which this president was responsible, rather than, in truth, that congress is where those decisions were made.  What’s more, in this year’s version there is no explicit promise to maintain that edge going forward.  Support for Israel’s right to defend itself and the president’s “steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage” similarly seem stuck in time, with no forward-looking commitment whatsoever.

Also missing is what had been a solid commitment to isolate Hamas.  Instead, the only pre-conditions imposed are the same for all Arabs in the area – “we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist [not to exist as a Jewish State, just to exist], reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.” That’s it.

But what about the Republican Party Platform?  Maybe US politicians are all beginning to turn away from the Middle East, where the conflicts never seem to end.  Maybe a decision to step away from an ally who some claim only brings its supporters down, while never seeming to gain traction for the ally, is happening across the board.

Nope.

But there have been changes regarding Israel between the 2008 Republican Party Platform and the one just passed in Tampa at last week’s Republican Party Convention.

So what are they? And how significant are they?

It’s hard to tell what the significance of the change in language regarding the peace process – just four years ago the Republican Platform included the following sentence:

We support the vision of two democratic states living in peace and security: Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestine.

In the 2012 Platform:

We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states – Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security. (emphasis added)

In other words, one is an imperative with which the Republicans agree, and the other is simply what they are imagining, but it is not an essential outcome.  And in both Republican platforms, the creation of a future state of Palestine is conditional upon the people who are seeking its creation to “support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law.”

Here’s a clear language change: the bold print introducing the Platform section having to do with Israel has expanded from the 2008 one word name of the state to 2012’s “Our Unequivocal Support of Israel.”

And here’s a huge difference between the visions of the two parties: the single essential goal for Israel and her neighbors sought by the Republican Platform “is a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.”  In the Democratic National Platform, an essential component for achieving this country’s commitment to Israel’s security is “two states for two people.”  In other words, the Democratic Platform will not allow for any conclusion to the Middle East peace process without the creation of a Palestinian State, whereas the Republicans’ sole end goal is peace, without attaching any collateral pre-conditions.

In addition to the central role of the creation of a Palestinian State and the rejection of Jerusalem as having plank-worthy stature, there are several other respects in which the language of the current Democratic Party Platform differs starkly from that of the Republicans’.  The need to isolate both Hamas and Hezbollah is in the Republicans’ but not the Democrats’ Platforms.  And finally, the pronouncement by the Republicans (in both 2008 and 2012) that Israel not be forced to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction is not discussed by the Democrats.

On the other hand, there are two significant pro-Israel deletions from the Republicans’ 2012 Platform.  In 2008, there was both a pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the avowed support for Jerusalem to remain undivided.  That language is not in the 2012 Republican Platform.

Is there anything both parties have abandoned this time around?  Yes.  There is no mention of the Arab Palestinian refugee issue in either current Platform.

So, what’s the score?  Deleting familiar terms of support and ignoring a central issue like Jerusalem has to be troublesome for pro-Israel voters who planned to vote for the President.  But even the Republican Party has decided that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and insisting that the Holy City not be divided is no longer considered a promise worth making.

In the end, reading any platform, like listening to any speech, is a way to try to figure out how a candidate will govern if he wins.  And at the end of the day, that’s about what’s in his heart, not what’s on his posters.  Changes of tone of voice, of emphasis, like the deletion of issues or the difference between a commitment and a vision, are straws in the wind.

The weather’s been rough in Charlotte for lots of people these last few days, but the changes to the Democratic Platform about Israel really do tell us important things about which way the wind is blowing down there – and it’s hard not to see a change in direction from the way it has blown, for the Democratic party, for a long time.  If Obama wins, these new planks suggest, Israel will have less support on such key issues as Jerusalem.

As for the Republicans, the changes they’ve made seem to have split the difference, with some additions strengthening their commitment to the Jewish state, and others seemingly weakening it.

What that means for Jewish voters, or for others concerned about Israel, and the Middle East, will only be known a long time after the first Tuesday of this November.

 

Calif. Democratic Party Chair Rues Any Offense with Goebbels Analogy

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

John Burton, the chairman of the Democratic Party in California, apologized to those who took offense at his remarks comparing Republican statements to Nazi propaganda.

Following an uproar over the remarks, which were condemned by Democrats and Republicans, Burton issued a statement on Monday.

“To correct press reports of my recent comments about Republican lies, I did not call Republicans Nazis nor would I ever. In fact, I didn’t even use the word,” the statement said. “If Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or the Republicans are insulted by my describing their campaign tactic as the big lie — I most humbly apologize to them or anyone who might have been offended by that comment.”

Speaking earlier in the day to a California radio station, Burton had said of Republicans in general and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan more specifically, “They lie, and they don’t care if people think they lie.” He also said, “As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know.”

Goebbels was minister of propaganda for the Nazi Party and was a close associate of Adolf Hitler.

Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, criticized Burton for his comments.

“John Burton ought to know better than to bring the Nazis and their victims into our current political debates, but apparently the offense such remarks cause to Holocaust survivors and their families are of less concern to him than the prospect of political gain.”

Also condemning Burton was Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, who said, “That obviously doesn’t represent the views of the campaign,” adding, “There’s no place for that in the political discourse.”

Late last year, U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) also had likened Democrats to Goebbels, noting, “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”

A host of Democrats condemned West’s remarks at the time.

Will DNC Chair Be Dumped?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The Weekly Standard is already advancing the speculation that Debbie Wasserman Schultz be let go from her post as DNC chair following her blatant lie regarding Republicans, Israel, and Israel’s ambassador Michael Oren.

In a TV appearance Tuesday night, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked about the Michael Oren email. But instead of acknowledging her misstatement, the DNC chair attacked the reporter, Philip Klein, who quoted her.

“I didn’t say he said that,” Wasserman Schultz said. “And unfortunately, that comment was reported by a conservative newspaper. It’s not surprising they would deliberately misquote me. What I always say is that unfortunately the Republicans have made Israel a political football, which is dangerous for Israel. And Ambassador Oren has said that we can’t ever suggest that there is any daylight between the two parties on Israel because there isn’t. And that that’s harmful to Israel. That’s what I said, and that is accurate.”

But Klein fired back.  Not only did he state that “Debbie Wasserman Schultz lied on national TV,” and accuse her of smearing the good name of an honest reporter in order to achieve her goals, but posted the audio recording of her statements online, so that readers could judge for themselves whether Schultz made the statement about Oren.  The clip was uploaded to Youtube, and posted below.

Israel’s Ambassador: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Lied

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Israel’s U.S. ambassador Michael Oren denied the claim made by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, that he had told her that what the Republican party was doing was “dangerous for Israel.”

Back in August, Hadassah Magazine interviewed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and one of their question was: “Why did you call on both parties to refrain from challenging each other over support for Israel?”

“What the Republicans are doing is dangerous,” answered the DNC chair. “They are using Israel as a political football.… Israel’s ambassador [to the United States], Michael Oren, has said this. If there is any perception of daylight between the parties on support for Israel, that strengthens Israel’s enemies. The president rejects what some Republican candidates have been saying, that America should review all its foreign aid commitments from zero, making each country justify the support it receives.”

Then, in a speech at the Democratic Convention yesterday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz declared, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

In an emailed statement, Ambassador Oren stated “I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel. Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”

According to Philip Klein of the Beltway Confidential, the Florida congresswoman made the charge at a training session for Jewish Democrats, aimed at teaching Jewish Democrats how to convince their fellow Jews to vote for Obama.

As she was wrapping up her remarks, Klein reports, she claimed that, “We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

It could be that she didn’t actually mean that Oren had told this to her directly – but there’s no doubt that the impression her crew of volunteers walked away with was: Oren told Debbie the Republicans are dangerous to Israel.

He says he never did. She lied, basically using Israel to bash the Republicans.

The Scarecrow of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/the-scarecrow-of-1600-pennsylvania.html

It is not completely impossible that in a moment of electoral desperation, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr will be called into a private meeting with Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod and told that it’s time for him to announce that he wants to spend more time with his family. But it’s not very likely.

The chief function of a Vice President is making the President look good and by that measure Joe Biden is one of the best vice presidents who ever lived. The rule of thumb is that the more incompetent the man at the top is, the more of a buffoon the man just below him needs to be to make him look good. And again Biden does this job brilliantly.

James Monroe put as many political rivals in his cabinet as possible, but Barack Hussein Obama and the people around him are too insecure and paranoid to do such a thing. Monroe might have presided over the Era of Good Feeling, but the age of O is the Era of Bad Feelings. Hillary Clinton was never going to be on the ticket. Even giving her the Secretary of State position would never have been an option if it had not been a matter of pure survival, with the Obamas terrified of losing moderate Democrats to McCain.

Joe Biden, never a serious candidate, was the perfect match for Obama. A dumb old white man, to confirm all the dirty impulses of the left, while mockingly giving mainstream Democrats someone they could relate to. Biden’s gaffes aren’t an embarrassment, they are the whole point, signaling the end of the old American era of leadership. Their implicit message is that you can choose a McCain or Biden, another old white man, or the savvy multicultural representative of a new generation that looks like the America of 2050.

Obama and Biden are both symbols of the Post-American America. Biden represents the outgoing American administration and Obama represents the incoming Post-American administration. It is vital to make the American administration look weak, foolish and useless so as to affirm the right of the Post-American administration to seize power from it.

Biden’s ego has made it impossible for him to understand the uses he has been put to. And that is part of the joke. Joe Biden wasn’t selected despite his penchant for saying stupid things in public. He was selected because of it. He is there to project incompetence in order to make Obama look better. He is there to make the idea of white male leadership look like a joke. That is his one and only job and he has succeeded at it.

Biden is the successor of every dumb white male father figure on TV gawping at the screen, tumbling over chairs and down the stairs, scratching his head cluelessly at the wiser new generation around him. He is every man in a commercial who can’t figure out how to start a car, make coffee or clean the house until his wife or a helpful minority figure shows up and explains it to him.

Doofus Dad is no longer just unable to perform simple tasks in a commercial, rubbing his eyes to the sound of canned laughter. He is the Vice President of the United States who was chosen to live up to that calculatingly manufactured stereotype. And he is rubbing his eyes and saying stupid things to the sound of canned laughter at press conferences.

No halfway responsible man would have deliberately chosen an idiot as his potential replacement. But an administration that has done the things to America that this one has done is not in any way responsible. If you step into Obama’s head for a moment, you realize that he does not care at all what happens if he should die. A man who can’t be bothered to take care of his own extended family is not likely to care one way or another what happens to a country of several hundred million, most of whom are not even related to him.

Obama truly is a post-racial candidate. His tribalism is a feint. While African-Americans saw him as one of theirs, he has never seen himself that way. His racial identity is as much a scam as anything else about him. Obama has done as much for African-Americans as he has for his half-brother who is calling strangers to help pay his medical bills. Obama dispenses group privileges only when it suits his needs. He exploits accusations of racism, but race means very little to him. Racial identity, like national identity, is a pose that he adopts on the appropriate occasions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/sultan-knish/the-scarecrow-of-1600-pennsylvania-avenue/2012/08/21/

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