On a recent trip to Israel, voters got a chance to see the candidate up close. Small joke; actually, only the 47 millionaires who could and would part with $50K for breakfast got to see him up close. The rest of us got to see him through the media, much like the folks in Trinidad and Pago Pago. The upshot is that we saw little, and still do not have a good handle on what Mitt Romney is really all about. The little that we did see failed to sate our curiosity, and the ambivalence and the questions remain.
Would a Romney presidency be good for Israel? The little that we heard from Romney sounded like he was decidedly pro-Israel. So much so that Palestinian representatives took umbrage at what they perceived as remarks that slighted their cause. So the first question is whether he has already destroyed his ability to serve as a honest broker. If so, would his presidency lead to four years of stagnation in the peace process, as Palestinians wait for someone who would give them a fairer hearing. Are four years of sustained tension good for Israel?
Shouldn’t we be pleased with all the nice things he said about Isarel? Really now, would anyone have expected a politician running for office to come to Israel and say unkind things here? Especially as he planned to leave the country with over a million dollars in his suitcase?
Actually, there was nothing new in his message. All of the nice things that he did say had been said before, many times, by President Obama. Except that the president said them where it counts — in the Congress and the UN. And, unlike Romney, Obama backs up his words with actions — with unprecedented and generous military support and cooperation, technical assistance and general foreign aid, as well as support for Israel in the UN and other international forums.
President Obama clearly has our back. What is Romney’s agenda, other than his desire to become president? Romney’s heavy wooing of the resurgent Tea Party elements in the Republican Party, with its xenophobic and isolationist bent, clearly undermines his election promises to get seriously involved with the turmoil in this region and with Iran.
These same reactionary ideologues, who would undermine all progressive social legislation since the New Deal, are a threat to women’s rights, Social Security, Medicare and health care reform. Their program is good for selfish fat cat plutocrats, but bad for ordinary Americans and bad for their foreign allies. They are reverse Robin Hoods, who would rob from the poor to give to the rich, and who would abandon their foreign friends, in order to save a buck. By currying their favor, Romney has put himself in bed with the wrong politicians. Neither his candidacy, nor their politics, is my cup of tea.