Friday, July 22, 2016

Israel, Republicans, and Democrats

Donald Trump accepting the nomination last night
One of the more lamentable things that disturb me about  my inability to support Donald Trump’s candidacy is the tremendous show of support his party now has for the State of Israel. Although support for Israel is bipartisan, the current administration has somewhat cooled its support for the State because of the President’s antipathy for Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The reason for that is petty in my view.  The President did not like being lectured in public by Netanyahu early into his Presidency. And then the relationship got worse when Netanyahu’s strong opposition the nuclear deal with Iran moved him to address a joint session of congress expressing dismay over - and being highly critical of - the President’s decision. Far too many Democrats agree with the President’s antipathy for Netanyahu and see him as a fear monger whose sole purpose is to hang on to power for as long as he can by any and all means he can.

This is not the case with the Republican Party. They seem to have an unabashed love affair with the Jewish State and with Netanyahu. Which is why there were so many standing ovations for Netanayahu when he addressed congress. They love him and see in him the strength lacking in their own President. The love they have for Netanyahu is synonymous with their love for Israel.

That love was again evident several times during the Republican National convention. To say that this convention was not unified is an understatement. It was one of the most contentions conventions since 1972 - the year the Democratic Party nominated George McGovern for President.  But the one thing that seemed to unify everyone, was support for the State of Israel. Whenever Israel was mentioned, the crowd cheered. Both Cruz (who can’t stand Trump and refused to endorse him) and Trump mentioned their support in the strongest of ways. Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence said it best (to similar cheers) when he said
If the world does nothing else, it will notice: America stands with Israel. 
In other words that is what the world will notice most about America if the Republican Party wins the White House in November. Which probably means that there will be little if any daylight between Netanyahu and a Republican President.

I do not see that kind of support being expressed at the Democratic National Convention, next week. Which if they win the election will be carried over to the White House. Of course Clinton will continue to support Israel. I do not question that at all. Both she and the current administration will continue to give it financial aid, have joint military exercises, and share intelligence. But Democrats are far more critical of Israel than Republicans. 

That was evident when Netnayahu last spoke to congress. The reactions to his speech could not have been more different. Democrats realize they need Israel as an ally. It is the most reliable one and the only true democracy in the region.  So they will continue that support. But if current attitudes are transferred to the next administration – it will be a cold support. Not the warm one we saw at the RNC this past week.

So, I lament the fact that I will not be voting for the Republican candidate. There is no doubt in my mind that he supports Israel a lot more warmly than Obama and Clinton… despite some controversial statements he made about being even-handed in a peace making process. One can see that his heart lies with Israel in countless other statements he made about it. Like his warm embrace of Netanyahu.

Much as I would love to see a White House that considers America’s interests to be in line with Israel’s - I can’t vote for a man that is so in love with himself that he doesn’t know too many other words besides the word I. He has no core values that anyone is aware of (beside his children – if there are any values).

He tends to tell people what he thinks they want to hear. More so than what he actually believes - it seems. He reacts to criticism with a type of road rage. And has no problem insulting his rivals (including personal insults) - or anyone else that may make a negative comment about him. Including world leaders.  

He makes promises that everyone knows he cannot keep. And he says he will do it all by himself without the aid of congress. He is erratic and unpredictable.  Which in my view makes him – not only unqualified but very dangerous as a world leader with his finger on the button.  

He envisions himself as a virtual dictator that will stop at nothing to get his way. That’s the way he apparently ran his business and that’s the way he thinks he is going to run the country. Not even having the slightest clue that the Executive branch of government does not have that kind of power. So that even if his intentions were good. I do not trust him.

Not that I trust his Democratic opponent. She is no better than Trump in the ‘trust’ department. And her polices will just be a carryover of Obama’s.  Or worse. I am not enthusiastic about a Clinton Presidency to say the least. But as bad as she is, she is gold compared to Trump. She is not erratic and will deliberate long and hard about the tough decisions she will have to make. Many of which I’m sure I will disagree with. But she is more knowledgeable and not as reactionary as Trump. She will not react to crises the way I am afraid Trump will.

If Trump is so obviously bad (which I don’t think there is too much doubt about in the minds of most rational people) how could he have won the nomination so handily? …and with the largest number of voters in the history of Republican primaries?

I think it’s because those voters see Trump the agent of change they believe this country so desperately needs. That he is an agent of change could not be more true. If change from the status quo is what you want, then Trump is your man. But be careful for what you wish. The change you seek may not be the change you get. Trump might bring the kind of change that is disastrous to the country and to the world. I would prefer avoiding that kind of change. I prefer a government that is stable even if it means furthering the status quo.

So, there you have it. A party that I would love to endorse but can’t. And a party that I am loathe to endorse but will. At least as things stand now. Because as I’ve said in the past it is the lesser of two evils.