December 21, 2008 | 1:59 am
Posted by Dean Rotbart
On December 10th, I posted an email received from T.F., a Jewish Journal reader, who took me to the woodshed for my November 12th opinion article expressing dismay over the Jewish vote for Barack Obama.
I challenged T.F. to defend his comments and promised that if he did, I’d post his defense here. Which is exactly what I’m now doing. What follows, unedited, is his most recent email to me. I’ve taken the liberty to italicize my original email and to boldface his response, so it is easier to follow. I also am using his initials, rather than his full name.
It’s taken me a while, but here is what you asked for.
I once venerated all Holocaust survivors. My father was one, as you likely know. Yet I realize that those who survived the Shoah are really no different than the rest of us - they come in all shapes and political/intellectual persuasions. How novel to categorize Holocaust survivors based on your spurious, ideologically grounded filtering process, quite amusing. What next, will you assign a rating based on the camps we were in, you know, like 5 stars for Auschwitz and Treblinka, 4 stars for Bergen Belsen, etc.? So the fact that someone who witnessed and personally experienced the German Holocaust is unable to recognize the gathering clouds of the Islamic Global Holocaust is not as surprising to me as I once imagined it would be. That’s an assumption that because they do not agree with you, they fail to recognize the threats against the US and Israel; it’s not a failure to recognize this threat but the issue of the appropriate response that is required.
Your dislike of President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Sarah Palin, et. al. does not make the case for Barack Obama. Did you vote for Obama because you admire him and his associations and his track record or simply because you dislike conservative Republicans and believe anyone—even a Palestinian apologist, is better? This is a typical statement by a right wing conservative! Yes, I very much abhor the ideology represented by the Cheney, Limbaugh, Hannety, Coulter crowd, and I did partly vote for Obama because of my disrespect for McCain after caving in to the Religious right and the neo-cons, especially, after he let himself be talked into putting Sarah Palin on the ticket. If you really believe that, if the situation were to present itself to have her assume the Presidency, she was really qualified, then I am afraid that we really do not have a basis for dialogue.
I will ask you to make your case for President Obama. Tell me, in your view, how he will do better than Bush/Cheney to keep America safe from terrorism? How will he force Iran to back down from its active plans to destroy Israel? How will he prevent an all out Islamic assault against the West? Hint: Charm and logic doesn’t work very well on those willing to cut the throat of Daniel Pearl and other such innocents. Nor does appeasement. This is not a hard challenge. How has the Bush/Cheney administration pushed Iran from its plans to destroy Israel and cease its nuclear path? I believe that it’s just the opposite. First, as evil as he was, the neo-cons removed Hussein as one of the potential obstacles to Iran’s taking a major role in the region. Second, the Bushies have so weakened this country’s reputation and stature that they have become impotent on the world stage. The days of running this country like a John Wayne movie are over. It’s not only the economy that is global, it’s the diplomatic structure, evidenced by the infantile rhetoric displayed after the Russian invasion of Georgia. Bring ‘em on tough talk from Cheney, and a quick trip to Tablisi. To which the Russian Foreign minister responded with a diplomatic “Middle finger” and “who are you to lecture us”?! The US will not keep Israel safe from Iran and it’s lunatic President. It will be Israel that will keep itself safe, (if they ever get some real leadership and stop re-cycling the same people as candidates for Prime Minister), based on the knowledge that if Iran does attempt anything other than Bush like bluster, they will be the ones wiped off the map, before Israel.
I will ask you, what has the invasion of Iraq accomplished besides bloodshed and our lost reputation, along with the re-establishment of Al Quaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, where the war against terror, which you folks so vociferously invoke, should have been waged. I will probably not live to see the final history of the Bush Cheney debacle, but I predict that it will be judged as the most inept, incompetent, mandacious administration in the history of the US. Steeped in misguided ideology, trading on fear and cronyism, (Remember Brownie, Harriet Meier, Alberto Gonzales, Rummy, the Unitary Executive etc.?), with little accomplishment but a battered constitution and a damaged world reputation. Yes, I would rather take a chance on Obama, than risk the chance of continuing the current administration’s bankrupt policies. But, I do hope that you and your right wing friends continue to beat the drum about Palistinian apologists, terrorist alliances, etc. It will assist the moderate conservatives, and those scary Liberals, to continue getting elected, by the demographics that you continue to ignore. It took a while, but people have finally become informaed about the neo-con’s divisive plarforms and slimy tactics, like the Terry Schiavo theatrics; I assume you remember that bit of theater, with Bill Frist diagnosing her medical situation via television and telephone and the calling into session Congress. Finally, after many years, the Lee Atwater, Karl Rove driven Willie Horton and the Swift Boater ploys have been uncovered for the sleaze that they were, and will no longer work. But, hey, keep at it!
Let’s remember that anti-American, anti-Jewish hatred was not born during the Bush administration. The terror attacks on 9/11 were plotted and prepared during Bill Clinton’s watch. If Al Gore were President in September 2001, we would still have been hit. Yes, we would have still been hit. And, we may be hit again, and all the cosmetic chazerai like taking off an 80 year old’s shoes at LAX and hoisting multi colored warnings like weather balloons will not deter it. Nor will keeping hundreds of people, guilty or not, at Guantanamo, which has become the US symbol for treachary and hypocrasy. But, maybe, just maybe, if the Decider and Condi had listened to Richard Clark and actually acted on the clear warnings in August, 01, we might have been able to prevent or limit 9/11. You are right, anti-American, and anti- Israel hatred did not start during the Bush administration, nor did anti-semitism, which will be with us as long as a single Jew walks the earth, but at no time in this country’s history has the US’s stature been at the depths that it has reached during the Bush/Cheney years. At least Obama recognizes that in this intertwined global architecture, one can not go it alone and the Bush Doctorin, (which I hope Sarah has been briefed on by now), of unillateralism and pre-emptive war is not a winning strategy.
So, I ask, what will President Obama do differently? He can only be better. At least he is smart and can string a cogent sentence together, you know, not like: “The question of education is :‘Is our children learning’”?. And, maybe Obama, since his administration will not be single issue focused on terrorism, which Bush, et.al. have beaten to death since 9/11, will actually tackle ways to stop sending upwards of $700 billion to our close friends and allies the Saudis, Venezuela, etc. for our addiction to oil, which Bush so eloquently addressed in his last State of the Union speech, and which turned into yet another soundbite with no follow up except the hackneyed attempt to drill in ANWAR, which, if it does have a sizeable oil deposit will not see the light of day for a decade, while we keep pumping money to those who are just as anxious to see the demise of Israel but are more astute than to rant about it like the schmuck in Iran. And, by the way, if the US had actually faced up to developing alternatives to oil during the Decider’s reign, as well as Clinton’s, Bush I’s, Carter’s, etc., perhaps Iran would not nearly be as far along in developing its nuclear capability because their economy, which is already in shambles with high inflation and unemployment approaching 25%, would have been in an even deeper hole because oil, which is their only significant asset, would not have reached $150/barrel. That would have had a much bigger impact on Ahmadinejad than invading Iraq and letting him use oil money to assis Al Quida, Hamas and Hezbola! Talk about a risk to Israel.
Is the Reverend Wright-loving, Khalidi-praising, Ayers-neighborly, Resco-friendly, anti-War Obama good for America and the world just because he is not George Bush? Yes, the anti-war Obama may be very good for the US. And, yes, I have a problem with Reverend Wright and the Khalidi association, whatever that might be. The Ayers and Rezko issue do not particularly bother me at all. Any one in politics, or for that matter at a significant organizational level in a company will occasionally find themselves meeting, and associating with, people with whom they would not socialize on a voluntary basis. Let me cite a personal example, which could be used against me were I to run for political office: As an executive for a very large firm, I had several occasions to attend meetings at the California Club and the Jonathan Club, knowing that they had had strict exclusionary policies toward Jews, African Americans, Asians, et.al. I attended and probaly rubbed elbows with social racists; not doing so would have jeopardized my job, which I was not willing to do. I understand that this is not anything like the Rev. Wright issue, on the other hand, I could easily be accused of knowingly consorting with anti-semites at a racist organization.
How do you explain away those Obama associations, which in the case of Reverend Wright date back 20 hate-filled years? Or, perhaps, you agree that America is due for some comeuppance? The US has gotten its comeuppance in the world’s derision as a result of the actions of this administration, and, as I noted above, this does concern me, just not enough to not vote for Obama. I will take my chances with the Wright/Obama association over having the potential for Sarah Palin assuming the Presidency from a disabled or deceased McCain, or for either one of them picking the next several Supreme Court Justices.
I await your answers. You’ve gottem, you bet’cha; wink wink!
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hannukah!
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