Categorized | Greene_Norman, USA

Israel has done well with Obama as U.S. president

 Editor’s Note: The following column is in rebuttal to SDJW’s “reluctant endorsement” of Mitt Romney

By Norman Greene

Norman Greene

SAN DIEGO — In the half century that I have been voting, I have always concentrated on the candidate, rather than the party.  I have tried to discern his intellect, his passion, his commitment to issues and ideas I deem important, his consistency of support for the values that have distinguished our nation, state, community, organization, etc.  As a result, I have supported candidates of both parties and, occasionally, independents as well.

All good politicians hone their messages to meet the needs of their various audiences, but what distinguishes a leader from a mere politician is the strength of his convictions.  A true leader, it seems to me, is one that is brave enough to “sell” his argument and his ideas even when they may not be entirely popular.  Voters have to be educated as to the merits of an idea in order to buy into a concept.  This often takes courage, but it is the mark of a true leader.

In short, I have to feel as though I know the man or woman seeking my vote and my financial support.

In judging this year’s presidential candidates, I have held both men up to this mirror.  Neither man is perfect, nor are any of us.  Few of us have ever been held up to such public scrutiny, but that scrutiny shines a very clear light on the character of each candidate.  Since I don’t agree with all the policies or actions of either candidate, like most voters, I have had to choose the man who mostly represents my thinking.

A few days ago, SDJW’s editor in chief, Don Harrison, came out in support of Mitt Romney for president based mainly on his fear that Romney would be stronger in his support for Israel.  I, too, want my president to strongly support  Israel, but I don’t believe that is the only reason to choose a U.S. president.

When I look at Romney, I don’t know who he is.  One day he is a passionate supporter of an issue and the next day he isn’t and then on the third day he expresses a muddy “maybe” point of view.  This applies to his views on healthcare, Medicare, education, immigration, taxation, foreign policy, women’s and gay rights…virtually every social and political issue.   As a result, I see him as someone who panders to which ever audience he addresses at the moment.  The only thing that he seems to be consistently passionate about is being elected president.  Every changeable means seems to justify this one consistent passion.  I find this to be intellectually dishonest.

Just as Senator John McCain signaled his lack of judgment by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate, I find candidate Romney’s choice of Tea Party supporter Paul Ryan very troubling.  If Medicare  had been dependent on healthcare vouchers or Social Security on the vagaries of the stock market over the last six years of the Bush/Cheney caused near- depression, as Ryan has strongly promoted, there are many seniors who would have lost everything.  Further, Herbert Hoover’s austerity program did not take us out of the Great Depression, it was Roosevelt’s spending that greased the wheels of the American economy just as John F. Kennedy took us out of the economic stagnation of the Eisenhower years and Bill Clinton’s policies created the large surplus that George Bush squandered.

When it comes to Israel, I am reminded that not every Democrat is a Jimmy Carter.  President Truman recognized the state of Israel 11 minutes after it was proclaimed.  Bill Clinton was a good friend of Israel’s.   President Obama has declared that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable and has been able to create formidable alliances with a host of nations during his presidency.

Although Richard Nixon came to Israel’s aid during the surprise Yom Kippur War, not every Republican has been a good friend of Israel’s.  Eisenhower supported Egypt’s Nasser.  The first Bush was on the Saudi payroll (far worse than Obama’s curtsy to the Saudi king), Bush II forced the “road map” and Hamas in Gaza down Israel’s throat, while withholding promised funds.

In stark contrast to President Obama’s foreign policy successes, candidate Romney’s tour of Europe was a complete disaster and his tour of Israel mainly an opportunity to fund raise.  His foreign policy interests seemed to focus most on Northern Mali during the last debate as well as antagonizing Russia and China, whom– for vast sums of money and countless U.S. jobs– he previously supported.

Frankly, the fear of handing over the affairs of state to George Bush’s and Mitt Romney’s group of advisers is just frightening to me.  The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama not because he created peace anywhere in the first few months of his administration but more because he wasn’t George Bush.

Israel has done well under the current administration even if relations haven’t been outwardly glowing with warmth.  Our financial aid has doubled, our military and intelligence cooperation has greatly expanded.  Israel and the Palestinians are neither closer nor farther apart in solving their conflicts.  There are limits to U.S. presidential powers.

I keep asking myself, Who is Mitt Romney?  But his character seems as vacuous as his smile.  After six years of openly running for the office, I still don’t know the man.

Greene is a freelance writer based in San Diego.  He may be contacted at [email protected]



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3 Responses to “Israel has done well with Obama as U.S. president”

  1. dan brodsky says:

    No, Israel hasn’t done well under Obama. Israel is four years closer to Iran’s nuclear bomb. Israel has never been in such danger as she is now. Thanks to Obama, Israel will be forced to “go it alone” against Iran.

    Obama’s domestic and foreign policies have been a consistent failure… too numerous to list. Another four years of Obama, and there will be no America as we know it. Obama is perfectly capable of bringing down America, and the world with it.

    We know what Obama is. He has been exposed. We also know Romney’s life.
    Romney is a mench and will serve our country and Israel well. We still know practically nothing about Obama’s life… and what we do know is disturbing to say the least.

    Enough is enough.

  2. Carol Davis says:

    Dear Norm,
    Thank you: FINALLY! FINALLY a voice of reason in a room full of naysayers willing to shout Fire in a crowded room and abandon this ship called the U.S. of A. based on an issue created solely by the neocons who are willing to say and distort anything negative about this president and his approach to foreign policy.
    Lest they forget that the United States is, has been and always will be a friend and ally to Israel as far back as, as you pointed out, President Truman.

    While each president and his administration’s approach may be different, the end result is always the same as far as our support for Israel is concerned. The facts you listed speak the truth, rather than those whose cry those dire warnings wishing to see this president destroyed and defeated at any cost.

    But for a moment let’s consider this country, the one one we all share and have a common interest in.

    While foreign policy is important, we still live together within these borders and what is happening here is a shanda. Even in Israel, there is universal health care.

    If Mitt Romney and his ilk get into power, you can rest assure the plutocrats ( ) will turn a blind eye to the rest of the 99% trying to eek out a living, have basic health care services, retire in dignity, have a right to the finest education in the world, and for women to have the right to be in charge of her own body. Surely the group if ignoramuses who claim to know ” how a woman’s body works” (if that aint one for the books, I don’t know what is) but whose heads are buried in the sand, must stop their prattle of misinformation and be voted out of office! Yet the prevailing tide seems to be carrying them to power with the help of the very same billionaires supporting Romney/Ryan.

    Mitt is willing to agree with and go along with the most extreme of his party and deny all of these basic needs and then some to the most vulnerable and I hate to admit to those willing to vote with the loud voices (who have all they need) shouting FIRE and not in their own best interests. And the question still begs, “Who is the real Mitt Romney?
    God help us if he wins!

    Carol Davis

    • Gail Umeham says:

      Carol and Norm, thank you so much for saying it all so elegantly. Indeed, who is Mitt Romney? I for one no longer want to find out. Gail Umeham


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