What liberals believe needs to be changed or discarded — and apologized for to other nations — is precisely what conservatives are dedicated to preserving, reinvigorating and proudly defending against attack. American Jewry surely belongs with the conservatives rather than the liberals. For the social, political and moral system that liberals wish to transform is the very system in and through which Jews found a home such as they had never discovered in all their forced wanderings throughout the centuries over the face of the earth. – Norman Podhoretz, Why Are Jews Liberals? September 10, 2009
The most disturbing aspect of the American Jewish community’s devotion to Obama and the Democrats is that it indicates that the vast majority of American Jews have abandoned their faculties for independent thought and judgment in favor of conformism and slavish partisanship. – Caroline B. Glick, “US Jewry’s cherished values,” The Jerusalem Post, October 12, 2012
As I have stated previously, I am not among the most strident critics of Barack Obama. Indeed, I find some of the vitriol directed against him by some of his more radical detractors both tasteless and baseless.
That said, I am convinced that his reelection is liable to be a calamity of epic proportions — with incalculable, probably irreversible, repercussions for US interests, both at home and abroad (at least as they have been traditionally perceived), and for those of its longstanding allies — particularly Israel.
Obama’s term has been one of unmitigated disaster and failure. True, the circumstances he inherited in January 2009 were far from benign. But under his stewardship, the problems, across the board, have been gravely exacerbated, with little indication of how the situation is to be retrieved, other than by holding fast to measures that have already been tried and failed.
Accordingly, continued support for him by anyone genuinely concerned with preserving and promoting the power and prosperity of the United States seems to me inconceivable.
This is particularly true for the group that, proportionately, has benefited from, and contributed to, that power/prosperity more than any other community in the US, and therefore presumably has the highest stake in maintaining them: American Jewry.
As Norman Podhoretz aptly notes in the introductory excerpt, since present-day liberals seek to restructure — in many ways, to deconstruct — the very social mechanisms that provided US Jewry with its unprecedented access to the pinnacle of power and privilege, logic would dictate that “American Jewry... belongs with the conservatives rather than the liberals.”
Self-contradictory & self-obstructive
Yet, despite the massive metamorphosis that the US Democratic Party has undergone since the days of “Scoop” Jackson, Daniel Moynihan and Tom Lantos, and its lurch leftward toward social radicalism, away from its traditional values, Jewish allegiance to it has remained undiminished.
Attempts have been made to explain this by invoking the ingrained heritage of Jewish social liberalism. In an article titled “Why Jewish voters will choose Obama over Romney,” Moment magazine editor Nadine Epstein writes: “Our 2012 Moment magazine political survey shows that a whopping 82 percent of the Jewish Americans who responded believe that it is the duty of a Jew to feel a responsibility to care for the poor.”
But based on the evidence, this hardly seems a compelling rationale to support Obama. Quite the opposite. Under his policies, poverty has increased significantly, not only making more people poor, but making the poor poorer.
Moreover, the usual foci of liberal concern — minorities and women — have fared unusually badly under Obama. It is they who have borne the brunt of his failed policies.
Latinos/Hispanics and Blacks suffer chronically high rates of joblessness. Consider the following excerpts from a review (September 10) in The Huffington Post’s Latino Voices: “The latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that black and Latino unemployment remain critically elevated... While overall unemployment fell slightly... black and Latino unemployment did not follow the same course... Communities of color are mired in an economic depression. Yet the president struggles to publicly acknowledge it.”
So much for social sensitivity.
The Huffington Post noted: “Though unemployment is a concern amongst most Americans, the situation is dire for black and Latino families... more black and Latino men are without work than others... the male workforce participation rate [has been pushed] to a new low unseen since the federal government began reporting this data in 1948.”
Likewise, Colorlines – a site covering race and politics – sternly decried Obama’s policies (September 6): “Black and Latino employment is an unmitigated disaster. More than one out of seven African-Americans is without work. One out of 10 Latinos is jobless. When stacked up against white unemployment, the contrast is even more jarring. The African-American unemployment rate is 100 percent higher than that of whites. Latino unemployment is 40 percent greater. The situation amongst youth of color is even worse. One out of three young African- Americans is out of work, and more than one in five young Latinos is unemployed. In certain cities across America, almost 50 percent of youth of color can’t find a job.”
With a caustic touch, it added damningly: “The dispiritive impact of President Obama’s silence on black and brown joblessness burst into full view almost exactly a year ago, in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus. In that September 2011 talk, Obama responded to the CBC’s push for race-specific action on unemployment by telling its members to ‘stop complaining.’”
What about women?
Neither have women been blessed by good fortune under the current administration. The New York Times (August 7) reported that jobless rates among single women has nearly doubled (to 11%) compared with pre-recession levels (6%).
Other sources paint an equally dismal picture.
Under the heading “Obama Economy Leaves Women Behind” and quoting the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, one report published last month (September 4) revealed: “The sluggish economy under President Obama has been particularly hard on women... six million are currently unemployed, more than 400,000 have lost their jobs, and poverty rates among women have soared to record highs... ” Adding more gloom to these glum gender-based figures, it noted: “Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate among women has jumped from 7 percent to 8.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Young women have fared even worse. Their unemployment rate has risen from 12.5 percent to 14.4 percent since 2009.”
In light of the worsening plight of the poor, and the growing despair among minorities and women, one might be excused at being a little perplexed as to how continuing support for the policies — and the policy-maker who created them – could be squared with Jewish social sensibilities invoked for that support.
Despite deepening deficits
All this socioeconomic devastation has come about despite a massive expenditure of resources on the part of the Obama regime to address it.
Trillions of dollars have been added to the US deficit and national debt to generate “shovel-ready” projects, produce “green economy” jobs and enlist “an army of teachers.”
The results have been abysmal, as the preceding paragraphs indisputably demonstrate. But in the upcoming elections, all Obama seems to be offering the voter is the same promises to generate “shovel-ready” projects, produce “green-economy” jobs and enlist “an army of teachers.”
In fairness, two things must be conceded.
First, the Obama administration did inherit a disintegrating economy.
Second, there is a certain Keynesian logic to his policy of government spending to ignite the economy.
But the results speak for themselves: After four years and $5 trillion dollars, since the inspiring 2008 rallying call of “Hope and Change,” all the American people have been left with is changes that have failed and hopes that have faded.
The conclusion is inescapable — either the policies were wrong or their implementation was incompetent.
Neither alternative provides a persuasive rationale for reelection.
American Jews should be reminded of Winston Churchill’s insightful dictum: However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
A statistical fluke?
Some Obama-philes may take heart at last month’s employment figures, which for the first time in more than 40 months indicated that the US unemployment rate had dropped below 8% – to 7.8%. In truth, however, they are cold comfort and to base any optimism on them would be little more than grasping at straws. After all, in the last month of the Bush administration (December 2008), the level was 7.3%.
In fact, the September figures were a source of puzzlement for many laymen. (Some of the more suspicious-minded even hinted darkly at a White-House induced plot to “cook the numbers”).
Some have difficulty working out how a jobs increase of 114,000 could generate a 0.3% drop in unemployment in a workforce comprising 155 million (where 0.1% is 155,000); while in the preceding month, an additional 96,000 jobs only resulted in a drop of 0.1%. (If some statistically proficient reader/talkbacker could clarify this conundrum, I would be most grateful.)
But whatever the explanation of the statistical wizardry behind the figures, even committed Obama supporters have advised caution. The usually sycophantic New York Times offered this downbeat assessment in its October 6 editorial: “The unemployment rate fell, from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent last month, a welcome drop, though it appears to be partly due to a statistical fluke and partly to more part-time employment, which is better than no work, but hardly the sign of a reliably robust job market.”
Just how incongruous it is to invoke social awareness for Jewish support of Obama was vividly conveyed in a recent Washington Times piece (July 19). Titled “Obama’s economic policies plague poor,” it asserts accusingly: “Obama’s economic policies essentially have declared war on the poorest class in America... ” The article goes on to identify the major focus, and the real beneficiaries, of the Obama administration’s effort: “Need I point out that Mr. Obama is spending most of his time soliciting campaign money from Wall Street and the ‘1 percent,’ not minorities? It is Wall Street that got the goodies during his first term (big profits, large bonuses) not the poor and minorities. Not one Wall Street banker went to jail or even was prosecuted under Mr. Obama.”
Social sensitivity anyone?
The article ends with the trenchant question, “Does anyone really think the second term will be any different?” But if a sense of social solidarity is the prime motivation of US Jews’ endorsement of Obama, we can only wonder at their remarkable lack of censure of the Obamas’ extravagant personal lifestyle, of regal vacations and aristocratic pastimes at the taxpayers’ expense — including a jaunt to Spain that drew off almost half a million dollars from the national coffers.
“The Obama presidency increasingly resembles a modern- day Ancien Régime: extravagant and out of touch with the American people,” blared a headline in the British Daily Telegraph on Thursday. The ensuing article commented acerbically on the lavish White House expenditures: “It sends a message of indifference, even contempt, for the millions of Americans who are struggling just to feed their families on a daily basis and pay the mortgage, while the size of the national debt balloons to Greek-style proportions.”
It pointed out that “the liberal-dominated US mainstream media have largely ignored the story.” No surprise there.
I could go on enumerating additional reasons why US Jewry has good reason to dramatically restructure its voting patterns — not despite its “cherished values” but because of them. However, the constraints of space dictate otherwise.
But allow me to end with this: If the reasons for refraining from voting for Obama on the domestic front are myriad, they are even more so in the field of foreign policy, where gross incompetence has reached almost level of near-buffoonery.
Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.net) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.