Against my better judgment, which is admittedly none too good, I feel impelled to write yet another column about the USA elections. They really are not about Israel
and should not be, but everyone seems to be trying so hard to make them so.
My first comment concerns campaign smears. I have gotten a great flood of mail defending or defaming this or that candidate. First there was the claim that Obama is a Muslim, absolutely "proven." Of course that was rubbish, and the only result of that campaign was that Barack Obama got a free gift. He could use it, as he did so effectively
in front of Florida Jewish voters, to portray himself as a victim. Nobody can blame him for that, and he did it in a very elegant and understated way.
ďIf you get one of these e-mails that says Iím a Muslim -- not true, never been a Muslim -- this is just stuff that is designed to make people suspicious...
The same sort of people are now handing the Obama campaign an even bigger gift. They have concocted evidence that Obama had Communist connections, and hint that he is a communist because he admires Paul Robeson and Frank Marshall Davis. Obama could have a field day with this. Make up your mind folks. Is he a godless atheistic Communist or a fanatical religious Muslim? If everyone who admires Paul Robeson is to be excluded from public office in the USA, is tone deafness going to be a requirement for public office? Another charge is that Obama went to a college that in 1948 had offered to allow Langston Hughes to speak. The event was canceled due to McCarthyite pressure. Of course, Obama wasn't even born in 1948, but since he studied for a time in an institution that once offered to host Langston Hughes, that certainly is solid evidence that Barack Obama is a dangerous red, right? If you are choosing a university, be sure to check back 20 or 30 years and find out not only who gave a talk there, but who was invited and had to be canceled. Otherwise, you could be suspected of Communist connections.
Actually, it usually doesn't matter what any of these people write. Campaign season is always silly season. So it is OK if you want to have a go at Obama or McCain or Clinton, because that's a frivolous part of campaigns like the funny demonstrations at conventions. The problem arises when people make these accusation in the name of Israel, Zionism or Jews. Leave us out of this. I
Don't present your claims in any journal or Web site or organization that has to do with Israel or Zionism. One of those three candidates is going to be elected president of the United States. Real supporters of Israel don't want them to remember that the "Israel lobby" smeared them. Supporters of Israel, and in fact every interest group, are going to need whoever is elected and will need to get along with them. Speak for yourself or whatever group you really represent on these issues, and then you can say Obama is a communist because he used a urinal that was once used by Karl Marx if you like. But leave Israel out of it. McCarthyism and Zionism don't mix.
My second comment concerns trivia and campaign detritus. We can't seem to get away from that, and "pro-Israel" Web logs, like others, are full of that sort of water cooler banter that is made to pass as serious political analysis. The United States faces severe challenges and difficult issues. The economy is crumbling, the dollar is disintegrating and there is a stalled war in Iraq. The price of oil keeps soaring. Prices of basic foodstuffs are soaring. These issues should be of deep concern to everyone in the world as well as US citizens. Strangely, the campaign banter focuses on vital questions such as why Obama called a reporter "sweetie," Clinton's unfortunate remark about Robert Kennedy and the controversy over the theology of John Hagee. The last is an important issue about Hagee, but it is absurd to relate it to John McCain's campaign. All these are intentional diversions from the real issues, along with the "Obama is a Muslim, Obama is a Communist" nonsense. It follows a shabby tradition. The Nixon campaign used the "Commie" smear against Helen Gahagan Douglas in a 1950 Senate race. She was supposedly "pink down to her underwear."
My last comment concerns the widespread conviction that the Democratic nomination race is over and that a certain candidate should bow out of the race, because it is "mathematically impossible" for that candidate to win. This assertion was made before April, and yet the Obama campaign poured money into the April primaries. If the race was over and they had won, why did they spend so much money? The coincidence of Obama and money should have some progressive Democrats asking questions. The Democratic party was never supposed to be the party of the money people or to represent them. Why is all this money behind Obama? What did he promise? Are rich folks so dissatisfied with the way things are in Washington that they all want "change?" Are all the working class folks giving nickels and dimes to the Obama campaign?
In countries like Syria and Iran it is generally possible to predict the results of elections in advance. Anyone who thinks that any political contest in the United States is over before the conventions or elections are held or that any result is "mathematically impossible," should consider the career of a certain Democrat.
Everyone knew he was doomed to lose a primary election for the senate seat, but he won that anyway. Improbably, he got picked as vice presidential nominee after a first ballot impasse. In 1948 he ran for president, when everyone knew he could not possibly win. The Democratic party had split three ways. Pollsters stopped polling because they announced that the results were a foregone conclusion. A poll of 50 expert political journalists by Newsweek magazine voted 50-0 that he would lose the election.
The results of that election were confidently announced by at least one newspaper.
Harry S. Truman said of those 50 expert journalists that he knew every one of them, and that none of them had enough sense to stuff sand down a rathole. That judgment applies to anyone who insists an election contest is over before it happened.
Remember, whoever wins will be the head of the of the most powerful nation on Earth. Of course that means they have to be chosen carefully. But they won't forget what "pro-Israel" commentators, Web logs and pundits wrote or said about them, either.
And whoever loses, may also be around to fight another day. They, and their supporters will most certainly blame the loss on smear campaigns and the people who conducted them.
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