Shia Altman

President Joe (Too) Cool

On October 13, 1988, during the second presidential debate between Republican nominee Vice-President George H. W. Bush and Democratic nominee Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, CNN reporter Bernard Shaw asked the following question to Dukakis, a capital punishment opponent: “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”  Others against the death penalty who had been asked similar questions were able to show emotion and passion, even agony, while at the same time being able to take the time to finesse their answers about why they were against capital punishment.  The stone-faced governor stoically said this: “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.”  He then bragged about his state’s crime rate and pivoted to the war on drugs spending nearly his whole two minutes on that subject.

And as his answer was finished, so was his campaign, and everyone knew it.  Dukakis, the very level-headed governor, already thought of as placid, cold and dispassionate, was now seen as frozen.  Even his microphone started forming icicles.  He made other mistakes in the campaign but that lack of emotion, that being just too cool for his own good, did him in.  The governor had been ahead in the polls but within days slipped behind Bush.  He would go on to lose in a big way.  But hey, at least he was composed and unruffled, right?

Back then some of the left-wing media were pretty mad at Shaw for exposing a reality within their candidate, but they all had to admit that Dukakis’ lack of passion was a big issue.  Today we are witness to another cool cucumber, and unlike with Dukakis, many excuse the overly dispassionate disposition, even praise it.  The world can be falling apart, but that’s OK to most (not all, thankfully) Democrats and many in the media.  Our unflappable, narcissistic President Joe Cool doesn’t get fazed by anything.  Even-keeled, unemotional, cool, calm and collected, even showing disinterest.  Asked in a January 23 interview by Matthew Yglesais of Vox Media, made public last week: “Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?” President Cool answered: “Absolutely.”

Apparently, the actual National Security Strategy of Obama’s administration is if we just don’t worry about the growing terror problems, they will all go away.  Hey, according to our clueless National Security Advisor, it’s not like it’s World War II or anything like that, right?  Islamic terrorists on the march on different continents kidnapping, raping and killing?  To Joe Cool, climate change is a much bigger concern.  Vladimir Putin grabbing Ukrainian territory as he tries to reestablish the Soviet Union (and by the way, the loss of Crimea is now not even discussed, it is a fait accompli)?  No worries. Joe Cool sends Meals Ready To Eat (MREs) to the Ukrainian forces.

And what’s the deal with sending MREs to those who would much rather have weapons?  Aside from the Ukrainians, we send MREs to the Free Syrian Army fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighting ISIS.  Are the contents of those little 18 to 26 ounce pouches like spinach to Popeye?  Are there hidden superpowers within those military ration packages?  I do understand that some of them can be quite tasty.  The menu includes Mexican Style Chicken Stew, Meatballs with Marinara Sauce, Mediterranean Chicken, and a Jalapeño Pepper Jack Beef Patty.  Why would anyone fighting the most brutal butchers since the Nazis want armaments when they can have Lemon Pepper Tuna and Vegetarian Taco Pasta, two other quite delectable MRE dishes?  Can’t those people just chill?

Should, heaven forbid, Israel need a military drop from the US during a conflict, no worries.  I have heard from my good friends at the State Department, they are developing a menu specifically for the Israel Defense Forces.  Code-named “Kosher Deli” after the president’s reference to those random “bunch of folks” killed in a Paris Kosher market, it includes Cholent with Kishka and Potatoes, Falafel Wrap with Israeli Salad and Tahini Sauce, Yapzig with Garlic and Mushroom Gravy, Grilled Corned Beef on Rye with Dijon Mustard, and Silver Carp Gefilte Fish with Kasha Varnishkes.  Who needs F-16 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles when you can have all that yummy food?  Eat, eat!

And I also understand from my State Department friends, should there be a need for emergency diplomacy in case the Iranians, with whom the Obama administration abandoned their promise to Israel of nuclear weapons capability prevention, to instead, one of containment, made big problems for Israel, John Kerry, ever the stalwart ally of the Jewish State, is ready to bring Barry Manilow to Israel to sing his rendition of “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.”

Some of us on the planet, most Republicans, a handful of vocal Democrats, some afraid-to-speak-openly Democrats, Jews in Europe, liberal American Jews with the guts to admit the truth, the Israeli government, the Saudi Arabian government, the Jordanian government, other Arab governments, sane Europeans (there are a few, just a few), and others who recognize the gravity of the advancement of Islamic terror and Iranian hegemony, are pulling our hair out exercised over a seeming lack of concern by the Obama cool cucumbers.  Now if President Joe Cool were an “actions speak louder than words” type of leader, we could rest easy.  But he has shown time and again since he took office that he prefers dull, relaxed platitudes over ever so desperately-needed leadership.

If Obama is trying to stop ISIS by putting the terrorists to sleep with his boring, low-key, monotone demeanor, it’s not working.  And if he cannot connect Jew-hatred with what happened at the Paris Kosher market – and by the way, had George Bush uttered the ridiculous words Obama did he would still be being pilloried as a stupid anti-Semite by the media and the Democrats – it compounds the fears many of us have.  Also, were it an appeasing Republican giving away the store to the Iranians, Democrats would say he was only interested in their oil.

People, I am not ashamed to say I am scared.  I fear for my fellow Jews in Europe and other countries and in Israel, and I fear for my fellow Americans and my country.  When it comes to the Jewish people, I am afraid we will go from some Jews attacked or killed here and some Jews attacked or killed there to many more at once.  I am afraid Israel will go from a short Gaza or Hezbollah war here and a long Gaza or Hezbollah war there to a major conflagration supported, if not created, by Iran.  This child of Holocaust survivors is scared his president’s inability to recognize, and proactively act forcefully against, evil is making America very vulnerable to something terrible again, and not too far down the road.

Some of you and some of my friends think I am being too melodramatic.  Shia, relax, it’s not so bad, don’t worry so much. Accentuate the positives in life, not the negative.  But this appeasing, too cool for our own good, ho-hum, pooh-poohing, move along nothing to see here, no sense of urgency, react late and only half-heartedly, wake me up when it’s over, still not ready for prime time, could care less, want to be president but not want to do president, along with his sycophants, are taking us down a very dangerous road indeed.  And I pray I will not have to say, I told you so.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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