On September 3rd, 2012, Mishpacha magazine published an article by Yonoson Rosenblum, in which Doctor David Luchins was cited as an expert to make the “Best Case for Obama”. In this article, throughout which Doctor Luchins’ name was erroneously spelled “Luchens”, the author made many assertions about Doctor Luchins’ views. As such, we have asked him for his response. This has also been submitted to Mishpacha Magazine as a comment, but has yet to be published as of this writing.
To the Editor:
I was flattered to see that my wise friend Yonasan Rosenblum felt I could make “the best case” for re-electing President Obama (Mishpacha, September 3, 2012), but I do wish he had stayed to the end of the debate, when I addressed several of the points he raises in the article.
Yonasan is correct that I have not voted for a second term President since Richard Nixon in 1972, when, on Hubert Humprey’s personal recommendation, I was the youngest National Vice Chair of Democrats for Nixon. But my reason was hardly because second term Presidents “stick it to Israel”. On the contrary, I’d be hard pressed to say that Ronald Reagan’s second term (visits Bittburg and recognizes the PLO) was nearly as “bad” for Israel as his first (sells AWACs to Saudis; tears up the agreement to share US intelligence with Israel when they have the temerity to bomb the Iraqi reactor, forcing them to pay Pollard for information they had been promised; and saves Arafat from Sharon in Beirut). I think second terms tend to be bad (see Clinton, William J; Bush, George W.) independent of the Israel issue.
Similarly, my point about Dr. Rice is hardly answered by saying she was as “bad as Hillary Clinton”. Read her autobiography or her speeches. Her criticism of Obama for “failing to shrink Israel,” as she boasts Bush did in Gaza, is chilling; as is her description of how she forced a weak Israeli government to allow Hamas into the PA elections. Why does this matter? I think it matters that she gave the major foreign policy address at the Republican Convention and that she, and her mentor Jim Baker, were the most prominent foreign policy figures at the biggest Romney fundraisers’ weekend in Utah.
Yonasan is correct that we all need to sacrifice. But our community would be devastated by the Ryan/Romney Budget cuts in Medicaid (nursing home care for the elderly, in particular), food stamps, healthcare, WIC, housing (including Section 8), Pell and Homeland Security Grants, poverty assistance and middle class tax deductions, in order to provide millionaire and billionaire Republican contributors with lavish tax cuts. I, for one, do not consider that “shared sacrifice”.
There is much, much more to say. It is sad that our politics are so polarized and dysfunctional, and yes, I fault President Obama for his votes as a Senator against raising the debt ceiling and confirming John Roberts, and his failure as President to embrace Simpson-Bowles or articulate policy goals to the American people as clearly as he should have. But, I find the Republican policy of demonization to be even more disturbing.
Yonasan apparently felt that my unvarnished critique of President Obama’s record suggested that I might not be voting for him. Quite the contrary, I suspect I am more comfortable with my vote this time around than the average Republican whose fancy flitted from Trump to Bachman, to Perry to Cain, to Santorum to Gingrich, until reluctantly accepting Romney. The President has done a superb job of fighting terror; strengthening the coalition against, and subversive activities within, Iran; protecting Israel at the United Nations and partially righting an economy that was in virtual free fall when he took the oath of office (including saving the domestic auto industry) over the strenuous objections of the Republicans in Congress.
I ended my debate presentation with a story. In March of 1991 Senator Moynihan and I were visiting with Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir when he asked the Senator “are you thinking of running for President?” When the Senator assured him that he had no such intentions, Shamir replied “good, then we can stay friends because it is very dangerous when the Prime Minister of Israel feels he can’t say “no” to his friend the President of the United States”.
I vastly prefer President Obama’s bad body language (and superb security cooperation) with Prime Minister Netanyahu, over a President Romney, backed by a rubber stamp one party Congress (as Bush enjoyed during the Gaza “disengagement”) calling on his “friend”, the Prime Minister of Israel accompanied by the likes of Jim Baker and Condi Rice.