Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vote for Joel Pollak

I consider myself a patriot. I love this country and am proud to call myself an American. I want to see America remain strong and free… and continue to be the leader of the free world. As President Reagan once put it, America as a ‘shining city on a hill’. (Please… no lectures about the source of that quote.) Indeed it is a shining city –‘a light unto the nations’. (Please… no lectures about the source of that quote either.)

I generally consider myself an independent when it comes to politics. Although on most issues I tilt rightward, I often will take what some consider a leftward tilt on certain issues. I have supported and voted for both Republicans and Democrats over the years based on my own criteria and not necessarily on whether they were conservative or liberal.

My number one priority when it comes to candidate support is their attitude towards the Jewish people and the State of Israel. There are some who might question my patriotism because of that. But the two are not mutually exclusive. One can be a strong supporter of Israel and still be a patriot. Was American Colonel David Daniel "Mickey" Marcus - a Jew – any less of a patriot when he went to Israel and became their first general during their war of independence? Are Christian Zionists less patriotic when they support Israel more than most Jews do?

Should anyone ask who I would support in the unlikely scenario when the welfare of the Jewish people came into conflict with the welfare of the United States, I must admit that I am a Jew first. And I would fight for the welfare of the Jewish people first. We are one people. Orthodox, Reform Conservative, secular or religious undivided and beloved of God. Thank God I have never had to make that choice and probably never will. Thank God the very soul of United States of America is its religious tolerance – unlike any other nation in the world today… or ever!

This is all a preamble to my endorsement of Joel Pollak for congress. He is the Republican candidate for the ninth congressional district in Illinois, my district. He is running against 10 term incumbent, Jan Schakowsky a political liberal. Pollak is a political conservative with very Jewish credentials. He is an Orthodox Jew who is not embarrassed to show it. He wears a Kipa in public and if one looks at any of his political TV ads it can easily be seen.

The clip above is one of the few Mr. Pollak produced – all of which were positive and not the kind of ‘attack ads’ used by other politicians. I chose this particular clip because it shows his wife, Julia, a former South African whose mother was a part of Nelson Mandella’s government. It is about 30 seconds long and well worth a look.

It is a tribute to the Republican Party that they chose this individual as their candidate. It is irrelevant to them that their candidate is Orthodox. They see a brilliant young man whose ideology reflects theirs and that is the man they chose. To say that his campaign is a Kiddush HaShem is an understatement.

And I can think of no more pro Israel candidate than Joel Pollak. His views are politically conservative and in my view that is what is needed right now in this county. I am not going to go into great detail as to why. But in a general I agree with his opposition to the economic policies of the current administration… policies that include ‘stealing’ from the rich to give to the poor. Tax cuts for only the middle class tax do not incentivize American industry towards production of goods and services that will create new jobs. Tax incentives - on the other hand - will do that.

Make-work government projects don’t do that. Those jobs are temporary at best, cost the taxpayers a fortune, and don’t produce a single product. Jan Schakowsky is a big supporter of the President’s economic policies. She is on board with the President’s vilification of ‘Big Business’. This attitude promotes caricatures of CEOs of large American companies as greedy profiteers who don’t care about the little guy.

She believes in ‘fairness’ which is ‘liberalspeak’ for re-distribution of the wealth via taxation. That is nothing more than forced charity. It sounds fair but in fact it is counterproductive. It incentivizes no business to invest capital in their businesses. They would rather sit on their capital than invest it in a ‘down’ economy. The result? No new jobs.

One of the most important things about Joel Pollak is that he is not Jan Schakowsky who is rated the most liberal politician in congress. And when it comes to Israel and the Jewish people I would rather see someone whose religious values are closer to mine. Joel Pollak is a religious Jew. He is far closer to my Jewish values than a nominally Jewish woman who has intermarried out of the faith. That she married a non Jew tells me that she places very little value on her Judaism.

What about her support of Israel? She is supported by J-Street. They are of the ‘Blame Israel First’ mentality. She was an early supporter of the President when he announced his candidacy and walks in lockstep with his policy on Israel. Although she does have a good voting record on Israel, her support of the President on this issue shows that her support for Israel clearly lags far behind that of Joel Pollak.

To me it is no brainer. He is right for America and right for Israel. He is also supported by political libertarian Alan Dershowitz. Mr. Dershowitz went out of his way and flew to Chicago to endorse Joel.

Joel Pollak is very bright. He is a Harvard educated young man who will make a fine representative of our heavily Jewish district. I’m so tired of J-Street type Jews like Schakowsky claiming they support Israel when every word out of their mouth could just have easily come out of the mouths of a Palestinian.

It’s an uphill battle for Joel. Schakowsky refuses to debate him. With the exception of the heavily Orthodox portion of West Rogers Park, the 9th district -although heavily Jewish – is very heavily liberal. Schakowski has always won her elections with commanding numbers. She currently out-polls Joel. But for the first time in her political career her polling numbers are below 50%. This means a lot of people are as of yet undecided. So as unlikely as it may seem, it is possible that the current anti incumbency mood of the country may in fact pull off a political miracle for Joel.

Though most of my readership in Chicago will very likely vote for him, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of actually voting in this off year election. Schakowsky’s voters may become complacent because of her poll numbers and skip this one. And there is also ‘throw the rascals out’ mood of the country. Independents who swung heavily Democrat in 2008 are swinging Republican now according to most polls.

These are all important factors. Is there a chance for an upset? You never know. But one thing is for sure, every vote for Joel is an important one. If he wins, it will be good for our district, good for America, good for Israel , and a big Kiddush HaShem.

This Tuesday, November 2nd is Election Day.