I am a former chairperson of Democrats Abroad Israel, and was an official delegate to the 1992 National Democratic Convention. In all of my 80 years, I have never before voted for a Republican for president. But this time around, I am not only proudly voting for Mitt Romney, but feel compelled to encourage others to do the same.
I grew up in a Reform Jewish family in Missouri, and came of age politically as a proud Democrat due to the inspiration of my native-son president, Harry Truman. I have been involved in Democratic Party politics for many years in both America and Israel, including serving as vice chairperson of the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee in Missouri.
It is precisely because of my belief in the longtime ideals of the Democratic Party that I feel the responsibility to speak out now.
Why? First, because we ask in each presidential cycle, “Are we better off now than we were four years ago?” This year, the answer is a resounding “NO!” But even more troubling, in so many ways, President Barack Obama has betrayed the ideals of the great Democratic Party. He is a poor successor to Truman’s legacy.
No Democratic president has ever been so fiscally irresponsible. President Clinton worked together with Congress to balance the budget and erase the deficit; President Obama has run trillion-dollar deficits every year, and we are now $6 trillion deeper in debt than when he was elected. Over 40 cents of every dollar we now spend is borrowed from China.
Future generations are being saddled with this burden.
Past Democratic administrations have records of high economic growth and high employment. Yet, under Obama, millions more Americans are without jobs than before he took office, and half of recent college graduates are unable to find work. Far too many of the jobs that Obama claims to have created or saved are in the public sector, and small businesses, the backbone of our economy, are hurting. Property values have not rebounded, and home foreclosures continue at a frightening pace.
On the international level, President Obama has proven himself to be a weak leader. Where has any of his diplomacy succeeded? Presidents Truman and Kennedy stood strong against the tyrannies of their time; President Obama bows down to the king of Saudi Arabia, and does not stand up to the president of Iran.
DEMOCRATS BELIEVE in furthering human rights and promoting liberty around the world. But Obama completely misreads the international scene. He called Syria’s Assad a “reformer,” yet has remained silent as Assad slaughters his own people. He abandoned president Hosni Mubarak to the Egyptian mobs. In addition, he allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to take control, not only threatening Israel but also terrorizing Egypt’s minorities.
Nowhere has President Obama failed to live up to Democratic ideals more than in his relationship with democratic Israel. From his creation of “daylight” between our countries to constant public criticism of Israeli policy – does Obama do this to any other country? – Obama has allowed severe deterioration of our special relationship just as Israel and the world face extreme danger.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S open hostility to Israel’s prime minister, and his insulting true feelings caught on an open microphone, indicate antipathy towards the citizens of Israel. Obama’s administration does not even maintain symbolic gestures: at the recent opening of the United Nations Assembly, the United States sat and listened to the address by the president of Iran, yet Ambassador Rice was absent during the entire presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This wasn’t lost on the leaders of Israel’s enemies.
Coming from Missouri, I take immense pride that President Truman had the courage, conviction and moral compass to recognize the nascent state of Israel. By comparison, President Obama has steered our relationship to an abysmal low.
In reviewing the above, I see no choice but to switch sides and cast my vote for the Republican candidate for President Mitt Romney, who better embodies our Democratic ideals. I ask you to join me.
Bryna Franklin is the former chair of Democrats Abroad Israel and a lifelong Democrat. She is a Missouri native, and currently lives in Jerusalem.