Voting Our Values

Our values dictate a clear decision on November 6th: I will cast my ballot for President Barack Obama, a true friend to Israel, a powerful champion for our middle class.

US President Obama speaks in White House Rose Garden 370 (photo credit: Yuri Gripas / Reuters)
US President Obama speaks in White House Rose Garden 370
(photo credit: Yuri Gripas / Reuters)
When I was mayor of New York City, I became well known among my constituents for asking a simple question: “How am I doing?” That was one of the ways I connected with voters and stayed in touch with the issues and challenges facing New Yorkers – hearing directly from the people I represented at City Hall.
Today, as Americans and as Jews, we can ask ourselves the same thing: As a country and as a people, how are we doing? As we head toward Election Day, the answer is clear: We are all doing better because of President Barack Obama’s leadership.
From the economy to foreign policy, from the Midwest to the Middle East, from job security to national security, it is safe to say that our nation is stronger, safer and more respected today than it was four years ago. And President Obama deserves the lion’s share of the credit.
Many know that I have sometimes disagreed with the president. But then I heard him speak before the UN last year, telling an unfriendly and skeptical audience that the bonds between the US and Israel are, and will remain, unbreakable. Before the entire world, I heard President Obama deliver the strongest statement ever uttered by an American president in support of Israel.
I also met with the president face-to-face, listening to him explain in vivid, personal and passionate terms why he has always backed the Jewish state, and why he will never abandon it. He persuaded me that he really does understand the threats and challenges faced by Israel’s people.
And I proudly watched in the final presidential debate as President Obama described his moving visits to the Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and to Sderot, the shell-shocked town in southern Israel.
He spoke passionately of his conversations with families on the front lines of Hamas’s attacks and his pledge to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel in the tragic event that Iran goes on the warpath. I had publicly urged him to make this very pledge a month ago, and I was glad to hear our commander-in-chief take such a firm, impressive stand.
President Obama’s commitment to Israel is clear, unflinching, and unambiguous, and I am confident he will only expand on his extraordinary record in his second term. He will continue to act, decisively and without reservation, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, isolating the Iranian regime and keeping all options on the table to counter the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
He will ensure that funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system remains intact – because it provides Israelis with an effective line of defense against rocket attacks; because he knows it saves Israeli lives.
As Defense Minister Ehud Barak said last year, “I can hardly remember a better period of American support and backing, and Israeli cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us, than what we have right now.”
Under President Obama, this statement will always ring true; the US-Israel relationship will stand firm, lasting, unwavering and unshakable.
President Obama has listened to the concerns of the Jewish community, and he has demonstrated his friendship with Israel, in word and in deed. For that alone, he could earn my vote. But that’s not all. Indeed, the president is, without question, our best choice on domestic policy as well. On nearly every single issue, Republicans are dead wrong and Democrats are exactly right.
Governor Romney wants to take us back to the failed policies that led to the deepest financial crisis in generations, while President Obama knows we need to build the economy from the middle class out.
Governor Romney would pay for new tax cuts for the wealthy by raising taxes on the middle class, while President Obama will build a tax system that asks everyone to pay their fair share and everyone to play by the same set of rules.
Governor Romney will shred the social safety net by turning Medicare into a voucher system and cutting funds for Medicaid, food stamps, the poor and the elderly. President Obama will preserve Medicare and strengthen Medicaid, never leaving any American behind.
Governor Romney will roll back some LGBT rights and restrict a woman’s right to choose.
President Obama will continue to fight for equality for all and ensure that a woman continues to have the right to make medical decisions about her own body.
Put simply, Governor Romney believes Americans are on their own. President Obama believes we need to look out for one another in tough times; we have a responsibility to our neighbors and communities.
He recognizes that our country grows stronger when all of its people have the opportunity to succeed and thrive.
This is not simply about American values; this is about Jewish values. And our values dictate a clear decision on November 6: I will cast my ballot for President Barack Obama, a true friend to Israel, a powerful champion for our middle class. I ask you to join me. Our nation’s future depends on it.
The writer was the mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989.