Joe Kaufman was born and raised in New York.
After studying Speech Communications at the University of Maryland, Kaufman worked as an investigative journalist for FrontPage Magazine and the Hudson Institute and a lecturer for the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He also served as a guest lecturer at many prominent universities and for a time even hosted his own radio show.
In 1988, Joe established Americans Against Hate (“AAH”), a non-profit 501(c)3, with the mission of combating bigotry and exposing the activities of radical extremist organizations and individuals operating within the US. He entered politics in 2008. Joe Kaufman kindly agreed to answer some questions on the upcoming US elections, the American economy and which GOP candidate he would like to see running against Obama next year.
Give me a break – you’re going to defeat Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz? (and since I know you’re going to answer with a yes, tell me how)
When Debbie Wasserman Schultz accepted the job of Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), she exposed herself to scrutiny from the media and made the conscious decision that she would no longer speak for herself or her constituents, but would, instead, become Spokesperson and Chief Excuse Maker for Barack Obama. This has done her much harm.
As well, Debbie has many negatives. She hurt seniors by voting to cut $500 billion out of Medicare. She supports a plan to pressure Israel to go back to indefensible pre-1967 borders and to do business with Hamas. And she falsely claims that the Obama Administration has created millions of new jobs, while unemployment numbers are skyrocketing and so many small businesses throughout the district are laying off workers and shutting down completely.
These are all significant issues, especially the Israel one. When my wife, Emily, and I go into the district’s synagogues for Shabbos, we are embraced. Debbie’s stance on Israel’s borders has certainly had an effect, and because of it Jewish Democrats will vote for this nice Jewish Republican, come Election Day.
At the same time, I have gone around the district stressing solutions to America’s problems. I have discussed my ideas of allowing Floridians and Americans in general to be able to choose their health care providers across state lines, which would allow for competition and make health care more affordable without dealing with the big government ObamaCare mandates. I have discussed ways to cut taxes and regulations and to build the energy sector to create new jobs.
In the end, G-d willing, all of the above will result in a win in November 2012 and me sending Debbie Wasserman Schultz home with her very own Pink Slip.
Please tell me what you think of the following observation: If Democrats can’t win Florida 20, they can’t win at all.
As we have seen with the Anthony Weiner seat in New York, Democratic-held seats are extremely vulnerable. That said, you have to take each seat separately. While the race of me against Debbie has similarities to the NY one, the dynamics of my race are far different than those in other parts of the country. Each district has its own separate local issues to deal with, its own populace and demographics to consider.
Florida’s district 20 has a large senior population that does not wish to see its Social Security and Medicare benefits disappear – and rightfully so. There is a large Jewish population and a large religious Christian population who care deeply about the safety and security of Israel.
And there is a large Hispanic population which understands the oppression of dictators such as Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, as many of them have suffered under these monsters and have family who continue to suffer. My wife, Emily, herself, grew up in a small Jewish town in Lima, Peru. She and I are concerned for her parents – my in-laws – who are still there and currently live under new Chavezite, Ollanta Humala.
When Debbie loses her election next November, I’m not sure it’s going to mean that the entire Democratic Party will go down with her, but it will signal to the party that even its leadership is vulnerable this time around.
What makes you the best Republican contender and what happens if another GOP candidate is the ultimate nominee?
Republican voters should understand that I am a lifelong Republican, who will not waver on his conservative beliefs or values. As a kid, I campaigned for Ronald Reagan. When I went off to university, I became active with the College Republicans. I was G. Gordon Liddy’s Assistant Producer for his radio show; I was a writer for Jeb Bush’s magazine, Impact; and I co-founded the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in Florida.
This, of course, will win me friends in the Republican Party, but this will not win me the election.
Both my wife and I have built strong relationships with South Florida’s Jewish community. My wife, who lived in Israel for eight years, teaches Hebrew – as well as Spanish – in the district and is a teacher for Birthright.
I have been involved with AIPAC, the ADL, and United Jewish Appeal. In college, I travelled with 40 fellow students to protest “Zionism = Racism” outside the UN building in New York City. Recently, I was appointed to the Friends for Israel Reconfirmation Project, a venture designed to promote Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
For the past ten years, since the attacks on 9/11, I have worked in the counter-terrorism field. My work has led to terrorist charities being shut down and terror-related individuals going to prison.
These things have endeared me to the Jewish community, and it is the reason why Jewish Democrats will have no problem whatsoever casting their vote for me on Election Day. My primary opponents, on the other hand, do not possess any part of this background, and because of the nature of this district – a heavily Jewish area – the reality is that they have no chance of defeating Debbie. Their only role in this race is that of spoiler.
Will Republicans win Florida? Is President Obama losing Florida? Why?
The Republicans have a good chance to win Florida. Florida is a 50/50 state, but with President Obama in office, that 50/50, IMO, starts tipping in the GOP’s favor.
Barack Obama has been an absolute failure as President. Under his Presidency, America’s economy has fallen to depths that many fear are irreversible. Unemployment is through the roof. Gas and food prices have gone up tremendously. People worry about losing their jobs and their businesses. We’re not producing any goods, and our credit rating has gone down.
And with President Obama’s brand of foreign policy, the world has become a more dangerous place to live in. That’s especially been felt in the Middle East, where President Obama praises and offers support to those connected to Islamist groups as they take leadership roles in their nations’ governments.
No doubt, the Republicans need Florida to win the Presidency, and I consider myself on the front lines with regard to that taking place. The Jewish vote is key for both political parties. For better or worse, Jews always vote. Everyone knows that, and that’s why we always see politicians pandering for their votes.
With mine and my wife’s strong relationship to the local Jewish community, we can help bring out that vote for the GOP in a huge way. Who better than a committed Zionist to explain to voters how Debbie and her boss Obama’s policies can, if implemented, result in Israel’s destruction. My candidacy comes with instant credibility in the fields of counter-terrorism, foreign policy and Israeli security.
Give me your best estimate: What’s the percentage of Jewish voters that will be voting for you in the district?
Fact: Debbie Wasserman Schultz supports the anti-Israel organization J Street.
Fact: Debbie Wasserman Schultz supports the anti-Israel policies of President Obama and only acts as President Obama’s spokesman, making excuses for these policies.
Fact: Debbie Wasserman Schultz has stated that there are parts of Israel that are “not important.” I actually witnessed this less than one month ago with my own eyes and ears.
I believe every inch and every crevice of Israel is important, and I would never say what she has said, and I would never support what she supports.
Therefore, it is my hope that I receive 100% of the Jewish vote in November 2012.
Now, I know that is unrealistic – unfortunately. Many of my Jewish brethren will continue to vote Democrat against their own interests. However, there are others who have told me that they will switch parties to vote for me in the primary. One former Democratic leader in Miami-Dade said I will be the only Republican he has ever voted for.
All I need is a percentage of the Jewish vote to win next November and, with my relationship with the Jewish community and my work on behalf of Jews and Israel, I know those votes will be there for me.
And another one: What’s the percentage of Jewish voters that will be voting for the Republican Presidential nominee?
If the majority of my people vote in favor of Barack Obama, they should be ashamed of themselves.
Obama has never visited Israel as President. Not once! Yet, he goes out of his way to travel to the Middle East to bow down to Saudi kings.
Obama has treated Bibi like a second-class citizen at the White House, and he threw Israel and America’s peace partner, Hosni Mubarak, under the bus, when he [Obama] came out in support of the Egyptian radicals rioting against him.
Because of the policies of President Obama, Israel is in a more dangerous position than she has ever been in. In 1967, Israel’s enemies were fighting with mortars and rifles. Today, Israel has to deal with a potentially nuclear Iran, a Hezbollah-led Lebanon, and billions of dollars of weapons, including F-16 fighter jets, coming out of a soon-to-be Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt.
IMO, President Obama is to blame for at least part of that.
I don’t know how many Jews will vote for President Obama, but if one Jew votes for him, it is one Jew too many.
My message to my people: If you care anything about Israel, you will not cast your vote for Barack Obama. You will vote for someone else or just stay home.
Who’s you favorite for the GOP Presidential ticket? Why?
Really, I think every one of the Republican candidates is a better choice than the person who we presently have sitting in the White House. So if it’s Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, in the end, I’ll be there with full support.
That said, I believe the next President needs to have a strong energy policy. He needs to have a more logical tax system than we have. He needs to support Israel – not just with words. He needs to continue the War on Terror, both at home and abroad. And he needs to be someone who people can believe in. Right now, Americans are suffering, and they need a President who they could rally around to pull us out of the current mess.
But again, any choice is better than Obama.
What are you going to say about US-Israel relations in your campaign?
Israel is the one true Western power in the Middle East.
Israel is important to America for so many reasons, as an economic partner, as a strategic ally, as a western-style democracy, and as a center of biblical heritage and religious freedom.
Israel is also on the front lines against terror, and on 9/11, we Americans found out fast that the turmoil of the Middle East is not as far away as one might once have thought.
If Israel didn’t exist, who could America rely on in the region, if push came to shove and we needed to be there? The fact is Israel is the only safe harbor for the American military. And if Israel were gone, how long would it be before terror cells mobilize and the Middle East rolls over Europe and destroys its economy – and we’re next.
Bottom line: As goes Israel, so goes America.
As United States Congressman, I will be an outspoken supporter of Israel. I can safely say that there will not be a stronger friend to Israel than myself.
As well, with regards to Israel’s enemies, such as Iran, Hamas or any other entity calling for the Jewish state’s destruction, they will not have a bigger enemy than me in the U.S. government. We cannot afford a nuclear Iran, just as we cannot afford the existence of terrorist groups who threaten the U.S. or Israel.
My commitment to America has never been stronger, and my friendship towards Israel is undeniable and forever.
Thank you for your questions. G-d bless the United States, and G-d bless His nation, Israel.