Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Obama Hits GOP with the Truth

We all know just how messy next year's presidential campaign will be. We all know that the Republicans will stop at nothing, including the most vile lies and misrepresentations, to defeat President Obama's re-election campaign. We all know that they are willing to make the American People and our economy pawns in their attempts to gain power. One of the groups the Republicans are targeting are one of the most traditionally liberal and Democratic groups, and a group of which I am a proud member: Jewish-Americans.

One of the most vicious Republican lies is that the President is not only anti-Israel, but that he is the most anti-Israel president in history. These lies come from the mouths of right-wingers such as Bill Kristol and then are repeated by the Republican presidential candidates pandering to their base and seeking to break the strong and historic bond between Jewish-Americans and the Democratic Party. The lies are offensive enough in their own right, but what is even more offensive is the implied claim they make about Jewish-Americans. Namely, these lies paint a picture of us as single-issue voters with our primary, and decisive, issue being Israel.

These lies are nothing more than an implied claim of dual loyalty, or, even worse, an implied claim of primary loyalty to Israel. It completely ignores the fact that, like most other Americans, we primarily base our votes on a panoply of issues, many of them, in fact domestic. Jewish-Americans have voted Democratic in every presidential election starting with 1924. Think about that for a moment. If the rest of the country voted like we do, we would have had President Stevenson and President Humphrey and President Mondale and President Dukakis. There would have been no conservatives in the White House. There would have been no tax cuts for the wealthy that transferred wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthy. There would have been no erosion of our social safety net. There would be single-payer. There would be marriage equality. That is why we vote Democratic and that is why we will continue to vote Democratic.

Despite this, these claims persist in the mainstream media, which is all too happy to feed this false narrative. Every other word when it comes to either the Middle East or Jewish-Americans is how the President is anti-Israel and how we're leaving the Democratic Party in droves. These lies could not be further from the truth, and, yet, the media continues to repeat them. It would be bad enough if such lies were limited to coming from the mouths of those of the right. That, however, is not the case, for whereas certain elements of the extreme right and the extreme left differ over whether President Obama is anti-Israel or pro-Israel, respectively, there is one area where too many of them agree: dual loyalty accusations against Jewish-Americans.

Unfortunately, the implied claims of dual loyalty are also found on the left. A quick perusal of the hidden comments at this site, a site claiming to be the premier liberal/progressive and Democratic blog on the web, will often show vile antisemitism against Jewish-Americans, particularly with claims of dual loyalty or primary loyalty being to Israel. Much of it, however, is not explicit, but rather consists of dog whistles, which, to the untrained ear sounds perfectly innocuous, but to those of us that have personally dealt with antisemitism causes our ears to perk up like a Geiger counter at a nuclear power plant.

All of us are familiar with the Paulbots that come to this site, as well as others on the left, who support Ron Paul because of his foreign policy stances and completely ignore the damage he would do in the world through isolationism and at home with his economic policies. It is in instances like this that we find an old maxim proves true. At some point the left goes so far left, and the right goes so far right, that they bend around and meet each other. Foreign policy, foreign aid, in particular, is a place where this frequently happens. People like that Ron Paul, or now Rick Perry, would cut foreign aid to certain countries and because of that they will support such a conservative candidate, not caring for one second the damage a Paul Presidency or a Perry Presidency would cause to our country and to our nation.

Well, now, President Obama has decided to hit back. Last night, I came across the following ad from the President's re-election campaign while on Facebook:

Obama Israel

When I clicked on the ad, it led to a petition (note: once you sign the petition it leads to a page asking you to make a donation to the campaign) denouncing the plans of several of the GOP candidates to bring foreign aid down to zero:


Republican candidates for president Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich all say they would cut foreign aid to Israel—and every other country—to zero.

Stand up to this extreme isolationism and join the call to reject the Romney-Perry-Gingrich plan.

It's about time President Obama seriously hit back against the Republicans on this false meme. I stand with our President. As a proud Jewish-American, I give him my hechsher (seal of approval). President Obama is pro-Israel. Yes, Israel is very important to many of us, but the reason for my, and our, strong emotional attachment to Israel is the same reason Italian-Americans have such an attachment to Italy, German-Americans to Germany, Mexican-Americans to Mexico, etc..., but that is not the only reason he receives my hechsher. Mostly, it's for the reasons I enunciated earlier about why Jewish-Americans are so overwhelmingly Democratic. The man is not perfect — no person is. However, he's fighting to make this country a better place for all of us, and not just the 1%.

To many, it may not seem like that all the time, but he can only play the hand he has been dealt. He has to deal with a Republican House and a Republican Senate minority that is always saying no. He is not a dictator and cannot simply enact policy through executive fiats. He has to get it through those Republicans, as unpalatable of much of those compromises might seem at times. If we want to enact our policies and our legislative goals, not only must we re-elect the President next year, but we must work to recapture the House and strengthen the Senate majority. Every bill ever passed is a compromise. If we want to make progress, then we must accept it will not all come at once and that sometimes we will move more slowly than others. President Obama understands this. That is why he has my full support.


  1. Your first big mistakes are in the assumption that those of us Jews who oppose Obama are either "right-wing" (which is nothing more than a euphemism for "bad" among progressive ideologues) or, even worse, that we are lying.

    There are just so many things to be said about this horrendous presidency.

    The first, of course, is in the fact that not only has he not succeeded in his I-P efforts, but he's made things considerably worse.

    This is simply without question among those of us who are capable of viewing the situation sans partisan politics.

  2. (vb1 here... stupid google account)....

    That's ridiculous Karma... come on man, look at the Presidents record on Israel. Tell me one thing that gets you; is it his expanded aid to Israel? His votes to support Israel in the U.N.? His recognition of Israel as a Jewish State? I mean seriously... He calls Bibi a pain (agreeing with Sarkozy) and he is an enemy of our people. That is just silly. No... Really it is.

    Horrendous Presidency? Are you joking???? What you would rather have some drooling idiot Republican running the show? Oh I know, you say you are not right wing, but, if you are not you are fooling everyone. I mean all you are doing is railing on the President... Seriously.

    As for his Presidency, he is the best person we could have outside of Russ Feingold or Alan Grayson. Who is better? Name someone. Seriously, who would be better in a realistic sense?

    And made things worse in I.P.? REALLY NOW???? How, you mean he actually supports the traditional American line in trying to enforce the two State solution? Gee, he doesn't want the Israelis to settle unfettered in the West Bank... well guess what - I don't either. Does that make me anti-Israel... FUCK NO. Judea and Samaria are Right wing terms. I was in Israel when that started and had long talks with Geula Cohen (you know the MK from Tehiya and the Gush Emunim) about just WHY they called it Judea and Samaria. If you support that you cannot call yourself a centrist or a liberal. That is simple Right wing philosophy. Sorry man, but that is what it is.

    Oh and as for your last line... You are viewing this strictly through Partisan lines. You may as well have National Union and Ariyeh Eldad write your talking points. BTW, I am partisan to... we all are but, one thing I do have is President Obama's actions to back me up. They are as Pro-Israel and Pro-Jewish as they get.

    Oh and one other note... I am not Meretz any longer - while I think they have good ideals I am much more in line with Yachimovich's Avodah Party.

  3. @Karma -- Can you please explain how the president is anti-Israel? All he has done is reaffirmed consistent US policy, one spanning administrations and both parties, that dates to the Johnson Administration. Furthermore, how could the statements from the GOP candidates that they would eliminate foreign aid, including to Israel, be anything other than anti-Israel and anti-all our other allies that receive various forms of American aid?

    Those who aid right-wingers, or those who advocate policies leading to the election of right-wingers, from a political perspective are not much different than right-wingers. If they need to tell themselves that they don't agree with everything so they can placate their conscience and sleep at night, then that is their right and their willing delusion. However, it does not change the fact that they enable right-wing policies and they cannot claim that they are not doing so.

  4. Karmafish, your comment above is one of the most ridiculous things I've read in a long while.

    First, if Obama is to be replaced in 2012, he will be replaced by a right-wing conservative. There are no other realistic choices. So, inasmuch as you strongly advocate replacing Obama with a right-winger, your contention that you too are not a right-winger is a lie. The accusation fits like a well-made shoe.

    Second, regarding your "horrendous" comment. You utterly fail to appreciate that politics is always about choosing, and more often than not it is choosing the lesser of two evils. Fact is, there will never be a Presidency that is not seriously criticized by the party controlling the White House. Everyone is disappointed in their President at times, even when they voted for him. So, when you say horrendous in this instance, we must conclude that you prefer the previous administration and its policies. And thus we have even more evidence that you are both a right-winger and a liar.

    Third, Obama succeeded in his I-P efforts? That's another silly remark, just ridiculous on its face. And he's made things considerably worse? Yeah, right. And I guess the actual players, Israel, it's neighbors, the P.A. and Hamas have not contributed all that much to the situation, at least not as much as Obama.

    Your comment is incredibly foolish.

  5. Great entry. I don't have $1000 to donate to the campaign, but I sure appreciate the sentiment...


    What's fascinating to me is how so many of a certain type who like to call me a right-winger are now... aligned with Rick Perry and pals. Heckuva job, and all that. Heh.

  6. To borrow from a friend of ours, the Israel Last Crowd is meeting the We Hate the World Crowd and the former has no problem supporting the latter because of how much they hate Israel. I would also note the extent to which it seems that Israel Sucks Caucus and the Hate America First crowd overlap.