Cross posted at the Progressive Zionist
As many readers of this blog may be aware there is an old adage "He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas". As much as we see the truth in this everyday, one place that it is particularly appropriate is how this applies to headline news of the day. For instance, we see this: Mitt Romney to visit Israel. According to the Ynet Story:
Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning a trip to Israel this summer, the New York Times reported on Monday.So, Romney has been to Israel 3x in the past and as late as last January. Why the need to go back there in the middle of a campaign? Because Israel is a strong ally? Perhaps it would it be a cynical ploy to get Jewish voters in Florida and Pennsylvania to reconsider their vote? And while trying to influence Jewish voters, perhaps it would also be an attempt to shore up his support with Evangelical and Hard Right Voters who want nothing more than to bomb Iran and take the fight to "Teh Mooslims"?
An aide to Romney confirmed that a trip is being planned. No details were immediately available about exactly when and where the candidate will visit....
....This will be Romney’s fourth visit to Israel. His first visit was on a Mormon Church trip, and his second visit was in 2007, when he served as a keynote speaker at the Herzliya Conference. In January 2011, Romney spent three days in Israel during a tour of the region.
Now on the surface, it is an interesting move. I mean President Obama has NOT made a visit to Israel (something I think he should do in his second term). And if he so much as casts an unsavory glance at Ron Prosser or Benyamin Netanyahu than the Republican noise machine kicks into high gear and with it's little army of ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) suffering drones they spread out through the Intertoobz whining and using the slighest excuse to portray President Obama as an enemy of Israel AND the Jewish People.
Now, if Romney's intention is to shore up his support with Jewish Americans (78% of whom voted for President Obama in 2008 - and still has a support the President at a rating of 15-20 pts. higher than the general American public) then this trip is an odd way to do it. Of course it has the cheap point that President Obama has not visited Israel but, that is a small issue. In fact if this is his reason, then it shows just how out of touch Romney is with the American Jewish Political Community. American Jews have always been at the forefront of the Liberal and Progressive movements. Our long history of oppression has taught us to use our political power to help society NOT to turn our back on it in some Randian frenzy of greed.
Jews voted for and support Democrats (and President Obama) because of this. Romney with this trip assumes Jewish Americans will vote for him because they care about Israel MORE than they care about their fellow countrymen/women and that his cheap publicity stunt will somehow prove this. NOT ONLY THAT, but it's a fail of a move politically. According to the AJC poll of 2012 only 4% of American Jews put Israel as their #1 priority when it comes to voting. Of course, in my mind those people that put another country ahead of their own should simply move there but that argument is for another day. With this cheap stunt Romney assumes the old "Dual Loyalty" canard. He assumes that our community will simply forget our liberal and progressive roots and will "lie down" with some trickster who's closest connection to Jewish people is converting dead Holocaust victims to the Church of Latter Day Saints.
In making this assumption, Republicans actually think Jewish voters are stupid enough (well some are dumb enough / uninformed enough to fall for this) that they will ignore the following glaring shortcomings of the Romney campaign.
* Their candidate is dedicating his campaign to tearing down the new healthcare reform act that will provide 50 million more Americans with healthcare. Not to mention providing coverage to millions of people with pre-existing conditions and many other sweeping benefits.
* The Republicans stand for gutting the Social Safety Net, including removing protections for seniors, and privatizing (because you know the Market is such a safe place for investors) their retirement accounts.
* The Republicans further stand for gutting our environmental laws, drilling in protected areas, INCREASING our dependence on fossil fuels, denying climate change and a host of other horrible positions regarding the environment.
* They ignore the fact that conservatives want to do away with important civil rights protections for all Americans including voting rights for African Americans, and marriage equality rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans. That Republicans are moving forward trying to get DOMA revisted.
These blockheads actually think that Jewish Americans would overlook ALL of this because Mitt Romney is making a trip to Israel and that President Obama did not make one. Somehow they think this will magically transform the Romney candidacy for Jewish voters and that all of a sudden Jewish voters will completely sellout their own political ideals and countrypeople because they secretly value Israel over America.
Of course, what they don't realize is that Jewish voters have every reason in the world to support President Obama and as President he has been one of Israel's and the Jewish people's greatest friends. See, it is not the little things, like the President ragged on PM Netanyahu, or that the U.S. didn't cast a veto at some point in time when the hard right would have liked him too. When push comes to shove the President has always, and I mean always been there for us.
He is the first President in the history of the U.S. to host and introduce Passover Seders to the White House. He is the first President in the history of the U.S. to name a month in honor of Jewish History. He has been a consistant supporter of all things Jewish in the U.S. and is knowlegable about our community and its needs.
As for Israel, well... I can't think of a better friend. He has increased U.S. aid to Israel. American aid pays for anti-Missle systems that save Israeli (both Jewish and Arab) lives. His administration has been huge in supporting the development of the Iron Dome, Magic Wand, and David's Sling anti-Missle defense. At the U.N. he has supported Israel up and down the line but really all of this is neither here nor there.
His domestic agenda MATCHES that of our general community. Just a short list of accomplishments:
* The Affordable Care Act - which protects millions of Americans from calamity and provides benefits to almost every American.
* Ending discrimmination against Gay and Lesbian soldiers and bravely speaking out in favor of marriage equality
* Introducing sanity to our immigration issues and showing kindness to people who were otherwise outlaws due to no fault of their own
* Increasing environmental standards for automobiles and working to develop American clean energy sources
* Supporting Women's rights in the workplace
* Defending the rights of the unemployed
All of these things are what Mr. Romney and the ODS drones want us to ignore. Instead, they that some cheap photo op. will change peoples reality so that they don't see all of the good that President Obama has accomplished and instead will fall for a "one off" trick. But most people (with the exception of a few morons) see through this. Most people understand that if they "lie down" with the Republicans and vote for them they would wake up the next morning with a huge case of "fleas". They would wake up to an America that doesn't value it's citizens health, that doesn't value the environment or education or equal rights. They would wake up to an America that is nothing more than pursuit of individual greed.
This is why the American Jewish Community supports the President by much larger margins than the general populace. We know what this President means to us. We know the good things that he has accomplished for our country and as Americans that is what is most important. We are also thankful for his real and practical support of our brothers and sisters in Israel. How America's alliance with Israel has never been stronger. It is a nice bonus. Overall, we KNOW the President has "our back" as he has proven time and time again.
As a community we know we do not need lie down with the "dogs" to get what we want or need. We should continue on the high road and ignore the incesssant whining and actual bullshit that spews from the failure that is the right wing and the Republican Party.