I was wrong about Barack Obama in 2012

Below I outline my feelings in 2008. I sent this to the Jewish newspapers in South Florida in an effort to wake people up to the dangers Obama represented to Israel. None of them published it. I voted against him that year.  I had a sign in my yard that said, “McCain: Because he’s not endorsed by Hamas.”  By 2012, I felt a little silly for having written this because Obama lulled me into complacency. He’d been hostile to Bibi, but not too terrible to Israel at that point, so I voted for him. Turns out I was right all along. It’s always interesting to see how our views have evolved, and even more interesting when views we’d dismissed as silly, especially our own, are shown to be right on the money. I was right in 2008, and I was wrong in 2012.  Always trust your gut.

Carter, Obama and Bears! Oh My!

Op-Ed by Debbie Hall
August 21, 2008

Most people, Democrats and Republicans alike, would agree that the Carter presidency was a shambles. Jimmy Carter was a fresh face in a sea of career politicians at a time when politicians were especially despised. He represented something new. As a simple peanut farmer from Georgia who happened to be governor, he represented every man. He was inspirational, evoked compassion, spoke of human rights and appealed to Americans on an emotional level. He came along shortly after the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights struggle, and Watergate. America craved peace and unity with a kind and trustworthy leader, and so, Jimmy Carter became our 39th President.

Jimmy Carter left the oval office with a war raging in Afghanistan, American hostages in Iran, out of control inflation, and a serious oil crisis. Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor and the man on whom he most relied for foreign policy advice was Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is the same Zbigniew Brzezinski who wrote a paper entitled, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” blaming America’s woes with regard to the Arab world on American Jews and what he deemed to be their excessive influence on US foreign policy. Mr. Brzezinski, born in Poland in 1928, would have seen the rise of the Nazis during his formative years. His father, a Polish diplomat, was posted in Russia during Stalin’s Great Purge. Mr. Brzezinski moved to Canada when his father was posted there in 1938.

Had he remained in Eastern Europe through 1945, Brzezinski might have gained a very different perspective.

It is clear to most Jews that Mr. Brzezinski has earned himself the title of anti-Semite. How he became that way is cause for speculation. Perhaps it had to do with Brzezinski’s upbringing in Russia during a time when the persecution and murder of Jews were commonplace? Perhaps Nazi propaganda made its way to his family’s dinner table discussions?

Another blight on Jimmy Carter’s presidency was the opportunity for him to back the secular government of Iran. Even Brzezinski was in favor of providing military support to government of the Shah of Iran. The Shah of Iran was in trouble and Jimmy Carter opposed any US military intervention and ultimately decided that a regime change in Iran, contrary to what his foreign policy advisor recommended, would be okay. Once that decision was made, along came Khomeini and 52 Americans were taken hostage from our embassy in Iran. Carter had the leader of a country, an ally, asking him for assistance and Carter denied him the type of assistance he needed. We are still paying dearly for this major failure in judgment on the part of Jimmy Carter.

A more immediate result of this poor decision was the 1979 oil crisis. Carter did increase domestic oil production, however, wearing a cardigan, he spoke to the American public about conserving energy and bundling up. Carter had seen the 1973 oil crisis, yet it did not occur to him to factor the possibility of another oil crisis into his decisions on foreign policy or domestic energy policies.

The Afghan war was yet another foreign policy disaster. Under Zbigniew Brzezinski’s recommendation, Carter allowed our government to supply weapons and other means of warfare to the mujahadeen in their efforts to overthrow the secular, communist government of Afghanistan. This support was increased upon the invasion of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan. The goal was allegedly to break the Soviet Union with their own Vietnam-style war. Brzezinski and Carter were fully aware of the radical beliefs of the mujahadeen and believed that their government would be preferable to a Soviet-friendly secular government. Even with the current crisis involving the Russian invasion of Georgia, I would still maintain that a Soviet-style regime is preferable to the Taliban.

Finally, there is Carter’s fondness for terrorists. Carter had great public affection for people like Yasser Arafat, whom he first met following his presidency in 1990, while Arafat was still openly engaged in terror attacks against Israel. Carter blamed problems in the Middle East on Israel taking control of Judea, Samaria, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights during the Six Day War in 1967. Jimmy Carter conveniently ignores the causes of each battle that Israel has been forced to fight, whether it be the 1948 war, the 1956 war, the 1967 war, the 1973 war, the first intifada, the second intifada, or the daily barrage of missiles into Israel from Gaza and elsewhere. The cause is simple – a sovereign, non-Muslim, Jewish country has been re-established in the Middle East.

In 2008, we have seen the true depths of Jimmy Carter’s ignorance and anti-Semitism. He’s no longer hiding behind a presidency or a campaign, and he makes no apologies for his offensive beliefs that are based in propaganda and lies. Mr. Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, was dissected and debunked by Alan Dershowitz, yet Carter never had to answer for his lies because he refused to debate Mr. Dershowitz at Brandeis University.

How does this relate to Barack Obama?

In 2008, we are a country at war. There is anger over how we came to be involved in a war in Iraq. There is anger at how the Bush administration governed our country during its 7 ½ years in office. We are in the midst of an economic crisis. Many of us are tired of the deceit and lack of accountability in politics. We are hungry for change, much like we were in 1976.

In 1976, we threw caution to the wind and put a relative newcomer with barely a record to examine into the most powerful position in America, if not the world, with the hope that he would somehow perform well. He seemed like a nice man.

Does any of this sound familiar?

And what became of Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of our country’s most notorious anti-Semitic leaders?

Despite Carter’s enormous failures in foreign policy and despite Mr. Brzezinski’s published belief that the Jews control US foreign policy to America’s detriment, Mr. Obama saw fit to assign Mr. Brzezinski a key position within his campaign as a foreign policy advisor.

With all this in mind, it’s both surprising and typical that Jimmy Carter, the most failed president in the history of the United States, will be the opening night speaker for the Democratic National Convention. It seems that the Democratic National Committee is drawing the same parallels that I’m drawing. With Barack Obama’s questionable alliances from Reverend Wright, Tony Rezko, and William Ayers, to Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada and the late Edward Said, a virulently vocal critic of Israel, I find myself wondering if the Democratic National Committee really thought things through in asking Mr. Carter, well-known for his unfair criticism of Israel and questionable alliances, to speak at their convention.

Think back to when you cast your ballot for Jimmy Carter. How did it feel? Were you hopeful? Were you excited? Were you voting with logic or emotion?

Look at Jimmy Carter today. Is he the man you thought you were voting for?

If you’re too young to remember the Carter presidency, ask your parents and grandparents how things were.

Are you ready for the consequences if we put another inexperienced, well-spoken, seemingly nice, newcomer into the office of President of the United States of America? Are you in a position to take a potentially catastrophic loss if Mr. Obama makes even one of the same mistakes Jimmy Carter made? Are you okay with the appointment of anti-Semites as foreign policy advisors? Are you okay with a White House that favors terrorists over Israelis?

Please consider these questions as you decide who to support in November. As George Santayana so wisely stated in Life of Reason I, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

About the Author
Debbie Hall is a writer and activist living in the diaspora.
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