Tag Archives: Democrat

Why are America’s Major Political Parties so Surprised? They are Reaping what they Sowed

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With Donald Trump all over the media and the crisis facing the Republican Party taking center stage, it’s easy for people to overlook the issues the Democrats are dealing with almost simultaneously.  On the surface the two  most significant differences are the number of candidates remaining, and more importantly, the fact that the front runner for the Republicans is the candidate making the most noise and getting the most attention.  This does not necessarily mean he is the most controversial.  Objectively speaking, that distinction could at least as easily be given to the Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.  What both parties do have in common is that neither have any right to be surprised about where they are today.  In essence, both parties are reaping what they sowed.

It’s far easier to see this when looking at the Republican primaries.  Ultra conservatives and the Republican establishment have been attacking everything Democrat at least since the days of Bill Clinton.  Even before he got started Barack Obama’s opponents were attacking him from day one.  Whether you believe he’s been a great president or a failing president, his opponents assumed, almost immediately that he would be wrong on every policy move he ever made.  However, in reality it’s always been at least as much about his party as it was about his policies.

In fairness, the Republicans had just finished facing the same thing with George W. Bush.  After 9/11, and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, there was a short period of time, maybe the only time in decades  that the nation actually stood together as one. But as soon as things got a little better, the unity fell apart.  Nothing represented it more than the war in Iraq.   Very few people reading this will likely take an objective stance on that issue.  There are stances that Republicans and Democrats have taken that are clearly the party line.  Democrats generally say they opposed the war in Iraq. Ironically, even many of the ones that voted in favor of it now prefer to say they made a mistake than breaking away from the party rhetoric.  Republicans say the war was the correct move but it turned into a disaster once the Obama administration came into power.  I challenge people reading this to come up with an original thought on this issue possibly even in breaking with their party affiliation.  Why?  Because when you don’t look at things objectively and avoid telling people the truth, guess what you get? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

America is facing something far more complicated than a country divided.  This is actually a country with its two main parties divided before we even get to the growing division between Conservatives and Liberals, Democrats and Republicans.  The big question is, why is anyone surprised?  After years of vitriolic criticism from both sides, the 2 men that represent the subsequent backlash on both sides are a Socialist touting a political revolution and a Reality TV star and businessman with such extreme views he is garnishing support of the country’s worst racists and bigots. But what did people expect?  If you spend enough time telling people how evil everyone on the other side of the political aisle is, do you expect a happy populous?  Do you expect tranquil political discussion?  Or do you stop and realize that what’s been created is  an environment fertile to the growth of far left or far right extremism.

Sadly it never ends.  Even with the issue of Donald Trump’s rallies, supporters of Trump say one thing, detractors say the other.  People don’t seem to realize that this is part of what people are fed up with.  Not every “expert” on TV has to always sound like a paid representative of one side or the other.  Most people do some things wrong and some things right.  But when you listen to the pundits, their side does everything right, and the other side does everything wrong.  For once I would like to hear someone say something that both sides would disagree with.  At least then we would know they were being honest.

In an era when politics looks like wrestling, and I mean the fake kind, not the Olympic kind, and political nastiness and controversy is blown out of proportion for TV ratings-case in point the constant replay of the same punches from this past Friday night-we can hardly be surprised by what we are seeing in both parties.  After all, when true leadership is lacking, people are often left with strong expressions of anger and frustration.  What would really be surprising would be if it wasn’t happening.

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Choosing a candidate on Twitter in 140 characters or less

 

Donald-Trump-Twitter

As a writer, my number one goal is to come up with a statement or story no one has ever heard before.  It’s not easy, and even when I think I have done it, it is very possible I just didn’t hear it when someone else said it first.  That being said I am struck by how the American electorate is so lacking in original thought.   I see it on CNN, on FOX, in my daily interactions with people, and of course all over the internet.

I was motivated to write this piece when earlier today I heard an acquaintance of mine make what he thought was the revelation of all revelations.  “There is going to be a brokered convention”, he said with a commanding tone of education and insider knowledge.  With Trump looking more and more like he is on track to get the needed delegates to win the nomination outright, I can only assume he heard all about the theory of a brokered convention on cable TV or some radio talk show in the car.  There are scenarios that lead to a brokered convention, but to come right out and predict it is just another example of someone parroting something they think will make them sound smart.

I don’t know what will happen, but my guess is that Trump will win the nomination and all this posturing by the establishment will morph into support for the presumptive nominee.   One thing I know.  Even when you look at the Republicans who do not want Trump to be the next President, the majority of them want any GOP candidate over a Democrat, especially if the Democrat is Hillary Clinton.  Funny thing is, everything they are doing is setting things up for the Democrats to win, especially if it’s Hillary.

Meanwhile, many of the people trying to sound smart are also the same people thinking they are smarter than everyone else because they are voting for Trump.  I’ll let you the reader take that one home.  I guess whatever happens we can’t be surprised by an electorate that gets a significant portion of their candidates views from 140 characters or less (the Twitter limit). Just goes to show you how the attention span of many Americans is shrinking.  It’s not like we are dealing with people switching back and forth between CNN and FOX.  It’s more likely it will be people on Twitter going from their tweets from their favorite candidate to the feud between Kim Kardashian-West and Chloe Grace Moretz.  Incidentally my knowing about this doesn’t automatically make me a Trump supporter, but in many other cases we can be sure it does.  Something Donald Trump seems to be counting on.

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The Complicated aspect of Bernie Sanders’ Judaism

bernie-sanders

I don’t believe being Jewish is a complication in the mind of Bernie Sanders.  If anything I believe it to be a non-factor.  What it does do however is bring to the forefront the complications facing the Jewish community and very possibly one of the root causes of anti-Semitism.

So you have this 74 year old Jewish man from Brooklyn, a man who may or may not wind up being a serious candidate for President, fresh off the first victory ever by a Jewish American in a presidential primary.  It may not have ultimate significance- I jokingly say how the only think Bernie Sanders won was the presidency of New Hampshire-but whether he goes on to become the Democratic nominee, the President, or just slowly fades into the sunset, the fact that he is Jewish is history, and matters to many.  However, it also seems to not matter to many and that catches my attention.

I recently said that if just once I would hear Bernie Sanders take some pride in being Jewish I might even take a closer look at him.  Then it dawned on me.  Is that attitude of mine indirectly one of the motivators for those who do not like Jews?  There are many communities that want nothing else than to be seen as American only.  Recently before the Super Bowl, Carolina Panther coach Ron Rivera spoke about how he would rather be seen as a successful coach than a successful Latino coach.  If the fact that Barack Obama’s is a man of color had never become a big issue, no one today could ever say that dislike for him is based on race.  Yet here I am, and I assume I am not alone, a Jewish man, turned off by Bernie Sanders not bringing attention to the fact that he is Jewish.  I watch the Republican debates and take notice of the fact that no one mentions Israel more than Ted Cruz.  I get a little excited about the fact that front runner Donald Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism and that Hillary Clinton’s daughter married a Jewish man.  But when it comes to the Jewish thing, I have no overwhelming glee or enthusiasm over the fact that Bernie Sanders is Jewish. Why? Because he doesn’t seem to either.

So going back to the anti-Semitism issue, is it possible that my attitude, an attitude that openly shows pleasure when Jews distinguish themselves, and the desire to, in some way at least, see my Jewishness as a club I am excited to be part of, cultivate a hatred of Jews? Possibly. I know I am not alone.  Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah songs alone are almost enough to prove it.  I am sure many who are not Jewish enjoy them, but let’s face it, it’s extra fun for us Jews when we find out Captain Kirk or Scarlett Johannson are part of the tribe.

I can’t say I don’t respect on some level the approach that says, like me and admire me for my accomplishments as a person first, and vote for me or not as an American regardless of my background, but I also believe there’s nothing wrong in a little pride in where you come from.  Especially when the lack of emphasis may be more politically motivated than philosophically motivated. If going into the primaries in New York or other states with larger Jewish populations Bernie speaks more openly about being Jewish, I dare say we’ll have our answer.  In the meantime I hope that I hear him say he is Jewish at least once. Not because it would make me vote for him, but admittedly  because I prefer fellow Jews who are proud of their heritage, and then I can get at least somewhat excited about the current President of New Hampshire.

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The Ethnically Diverse Guide to Picking a Republican

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This year’s presidential political cycle has been one of the most interesting ones in history. going from diversity to division, and to some extent even segregation.  This article is my assessment as to what certain groups, based on religion, race, gender, etc. need to look for tonight from the Republican field regardless of whether or not they are Republican or Democrat.  It is who I believe would be their best choice if they would vote Republican and only based their vote on matters pertaining specifically to their group.  As a Jewish American I will begin there.

1-The Jewish community-

This is an interesting one because most of the candidates can make some legitimate claim to caring about the well-being of the Jewish people and the security and future of the Jewish people.  At the worst of times for Israel, the support from Cruz, Rubio and Huckabee was considerable, while candidates like Trump, Christie and Bush have certainly seemed to be friends more than foes.  The one candidate I dismiss out of hand is Rand Paul.  That being said, the Jewish people need to look for someone who balances support for Israel for a purely political reason with someone who is all about their Christian values and or evangelism.  For me, although Huckabee is a friend of Israel, the fact that his friendship is based so much on his religious values, makes him a guy I like, but not someone I think the Jewish people should choose as president.  As far as Trump is concerned, I am quite certain he is a friend of the Jews, certainly since he has a Jewish daughter, but his recent comments about Israel and his choice to punish Netanyahu for saying that he does not support his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants puts him behind the others.  Bush, Christie and Kasich are OK, but not outspoken enough in their support.  Carson doesn’t make me feel very confident about how he would handle foreign affairs and subsequently isn’t worth the risk.  That leaves Cruz and Rubio.  During the Gaza War both of these candidates stood strong in their support of Israel, but Rubio comes across more to me as politician looking for the Jewish vote, while Cruz looks like someone unwavering in his support for Israel and friendship towards the Jewish people.  His right wing stances on so many other issues has to be taken into account when voting in the general election and yes he is also very Christian in his values, but since I believe his support is based at least as much on his wisdom as his religion, out of the Republicans he seems like the clear choice.

CHOICE: Ted Cruz

2-African American community-

Whether or not people of color vote Republican or Democrat this coming election, there is a significance in this election unlike any other.  After 2 terms of Barack Obama, making history should be put to the back burner in the coming election.  Safety of black communities   and economics need to be the priority. The vote usually goes towards the Democratic party, but if it would go Republican here is how I believe it breaks down.  With the increasing number of incidents leading to the death of black men at the hands of the police, and I am merely stating it happens not assigning blame, the most important factor to look for in choosing the next president is someone with a level-headed, non-biased approach.  Although I am not one of those people who thinks Trump is a racist, the last thing we need in this country to better race relations is someone who shoots from the hip and blurts out inflammatory comments.  That kind of rules out Chris Christie as well, not so much because of the comments he makes, but the perception he sometimes creates. As far as Ben Carson is concerned, yes  I know he is  black, but I’ve heard nothing from him to indicate that he is in touch with today’s reality.  I am not saying he isn’t, and I am definitely not the most qualified to speak on this, but to me he sometimes just comes off like another wealthy Republican, which on its own is fine, but as a choice for president for the black community, not so much. Part of what would make a Republican choice so interesting for the black community is that some candidates pull in lumps of white America, even elements that are racist. Tea Party candidates or anti-establishment candidates give a perception of being detached from the minorities in America, subsequently making Cruz, Rubio and Fiorina the wrong choices.  When looking at the remaining candidates the one that makes the most sense as being someone who can improve the inner cities while keeping a cool head during tense race-related issues is Governor John Kasich.  What he has done in Ohio would strongly help the African-American community nationwide and can’t be ignored.

CHOICE: John Kasich

3-White Males-

This is an interesting category because although I myself am a white male, I am one of those Jews that base my vote on being Jewish more than being white.  To be frank, that is because I personally refuse to make that distinction for myself.  That being said there are many white males in this country that do make that distinction without being bigoted or racist just as I often make my distinction based on being Jewish.  I know that conventional wisdom and the polls show that Trump must be their clear choice but I don’t know that to be true. Polarization helps no one in this country, and whether or not he intends to be or not, Trump is polarizing.  The question has to be asked though.  What is the white male’s main concern?  Probably the best word to use would be balance.  While the concerns of minorities in the country are being addressed, and rightly so, a white American male wants to know that he isn’t going to suffer as a result, not from actions of the minorities, but from neglect by the politicians.

CHOICE: Chris Christie

4-Hispanic community-

Like the Jewish community, there are many in this group who as mainstream Republicans or mainstream Democrats are totally integrated into society and will vote entirely for their personal interests. When it comes to their ethnicity however, the issues are slightly more complicated.  With 2 of the top Republicans being of Hispanic origin, Cruz and Rubio, this a community that can also make history. That doesn’t necessarily mean that doing so is the best course of action.  Assuming I am correct in saying Trump is not a racist, his comments have alienated him from too many people, Mexicans being second probably to Muslims, for him to install confidence in the entire Hispanic community.  The other candidates are pretty non-specific when it comes to this part of American society but may all be good enough to deal with their interests.  An argument can be made for John Kasich for the same reasons stated earlier when discussing the African-American community, but in this case I believe something more significant would help.  In this case I believe Hispanics should vote for one who is Hispanic as well, partially because I do believe he cares about his history, but even more because I believe the image of who he is would help the Hispanic community. And if we are talking about persona and image, Marco Rubio clearly is stronger than Ted Cruz when it comes to representing Hispanics.

CHOICE: Marco Rubio

5-Women-

Sorry, despite the fact that to some she might be the obvious choice, I am not going to say Carly Fiorina. Just like it is not unprecedented in history to find that the best choice for men can be a woman, most notably Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher, it is my opinion that the best choice among the Republican candidates for women is a man.  The one question for women would be, do you vote as a Jewish woman, a black woman, a Hispanic women, a gay woman, etc.?  But since this article is about how I think how people should vote only if they take what they are and or where they come from into account, I will give my opinion on who is  the best person for women to vote for based solely on the fact that they are women.  Should they choose to vote Republican it is definitely not Donald Trump, as revealed by the comments he made to Megan Kelly and Carly Fiorina.  You see I am one of those people who does believe the tone and demeanor of the candidate does reflect the strength of the candidate.  Then again I have made some notable mistakes based on that theory, but still.  That being said, despite the fact that Ben Carson has viewpoints that the more liberal women would vehemently oppose purely because they are women, the combination of being level headed, diverse and someone who listens to people would have me say that Ben Carson should be the choice of women voters, should they decide to vote Republican, which might be very unlikely considering the Republican candidate will likely be running against Hillary Clinton.

CHOICE: Ben Carson

6-LGBT community-

If I thought a Muslim takeover of the country was imminent I would recommend Donald Trump, based solely on the fact that gay people under Muslim rule would fare almost as badly as Jewish people would, but since I think that danger, although not entirely unrealistic is a long way away, I think gay people, should they decide to vote Republican, should make their vote based on safety and economics while staying far away from the candidates who have made it very clear they have different plans for their future.  Frankly Donald Trump, a New Yorker and therefore exposed to all types of people would likely work better with the LGBT community than many others, but the person I would suggest for this particular group would be Jeb Bush, seeing as he is far less extreme in his conservatism than many others in the pack while still caring about economics and safety.

CHOICE: Jeb Bush 

 

To conclude, there is no scientific study or survey attached to this article.  It is purely my opinion and admittedly it is based on the premise that people separate themselves from others based on religion, color, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, something which I ironically find unpleasant and conflicting.  You see when it comes time for me to choose my candidate, be it a Democrat or Republican, do I make my choice solely on the fact that I am Jewish and a Zionist, or do I take other factors into account?  I am close to my decision and will reveal it soon, but in the meantime it is a source of much inner turmoil.

I also purposely chose a different candidate for each group of people, partially because I believe in my logic but partially to underscore the problem facing the Republican Party. That problem being that there is not one candidate that speaks to all the people and only one candidate shouting at some.  It also wasn’t an accident that I didn’t pick the shouter as the best choice for any of the groups.

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Open Letter to Eric Roberts

RobertsMicDear Eric,

A friend of mine recently brought it to my attention that actors and musicians on the downside of their careers tend to be the ones with the biggest and most critical mouths.  I want to start by thanking you for adding credibility to his statement.

A little background about me first.  If anything, I’m a Democrat.  I say it like that because I’ve always leaned somewhat on the left on some issues, very on the left on others, and with the exception of foreign affairs never on the right-wing side of issues.  Subsequently I am not the guy you would expect to hear from on this matter.  However, I am so disturbed by this tactic used by you and others to push a political agenda at all costs, that I felt a burning need to speak up.

For you or anyone else to say that George W. Bush killed James Foley is nothing short of despicable.  Just like those who chose to blame him for 9/11 or those who blamed Bill Clinton for 9/11, to assign blame to an American president on that level is divisive, disgraceful, and a misguided use of a platform you really shouldn’t even have.  Since you clearly don’t get it, allow me to explain it to you.

I am not getting into, nor am I willing to break down the efforts or decisions of American presidents to you in regard to their foreign affairs policies, because the point you clearly do no get is that it is irrelevant in this discussion.  What is relevant is the use of language and the accusation you so emphatically disseminated.  For those who used partisan politics to pick a president to blame for 9/11 let me start there.  Al-Qaeda and Osama bin-Laden are responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 people on 9/11, not Clinton or W. And you, the great political mind that you are, need to understand that it was not George W. Bush who killed James Foley and many others including Steven Sotloff, it was the terrorist group known as ISIS.

There’s a trend today among people like yourself, people who all of a sudden have a lot to say about the events taking place in the world.  They tend to reveal their fears of the real evil by going after someone else.  I understand you don’t want to piss off the real bad guys because then you might get hurt, but as an American I prefer you didn’t attack a former president in a manner that actually helps the bad guys.

As far as your last comment stating that Barack Obama stands for compassion, whether or not I agree with you or not isn’t the issue either.  What is the issue is that ending the statement as you did proves that your damaging indictment of George W. Bush is nothing other than an irresponsible and very partisan statement at a time when we need non-partisan actions and behaviors.

And here’s a twist that might really shut you up, although I doubt it.  My last 3 votes for president went to Obama twice and George W. Bush once.  So I clearly am not taking sides based on party politics.  I just don’t like what you did.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Letter to President Obama Regarding the Administrations Foreign Policy

pobamaDear Mr. President,

Please allow me to start by saying that I write this letter to you with the utmost respect for the office you hold and will therefore address you accordingly.  However, as a citizen of the United States and as a Jewish American exercising my right to free speech I intend to speak on some issues I find both concerning and disappointing.

I am by no means your usual critic.  I am a Democrat and a social Liberal who voted for you twice.  I’ve defended your performance and I’ve verbally attacked those I have felt were opposed to your presidency for inappropriate reasons.  I have been aware and willing to speak out against those whose criticism seemed to be a smokescreen for racial bias caused by the color of your skin or your middle name.  I have recognized that you have encountered serious opposition from the House of Representatives and Senate often making your job more difficult than it would normally be.  I say all this to emphasize that I, as a citizen and a supporter, have been more than fair in my personal judgments.  So with that in mind you will understand that this is not a letter from a Conservative Republican that would have found very little favor in your performance, nor is it from a racist that would have found none at all. This is a letter from someone who has been somewhat of a supporter and defender of you and your efforts over the past  6 years.

Even as I write this letter I hold out hope that the issues I find disturbing do not tell the whole story and that you are doing things behind the scenes that would explain their logic and benefit, and that I, as someone with no understanding of the inner working of politics would have no way of knowing what actually is the true reality.   I accept that as a possibility, but with the information that I do have available and with my somewhat limited understanding, I will share with you my major concerns, specifically with your administration’s foreign policy.

My biggest concern has been with the administration’s approach towards Islamic extremism.  I understand and will not question your acknowledgment of people of all faiths.  It is a commendable sentiment and in a perfect world people of all faiths can live side by side with dignity and respect.  However, as you are fully aware, not everyone in the world is pursuing that same utopia. I do not think for one second that you are not aware of the threat ISIS and other terrorist organizations pose to the free world, but as a citizen observing your actions or inaction toward their development and growth, I respectfully question your strategy.  I can understand your reluctance to engage in military conflict unless completely necessary, what I am questioning, as are many other Americans, is at what point do you actually deem it necessary? The humanitarian mission recently carried out in Iraq was a commendable one and it was easy to see the necessity there, but at what point is action taken to eliminate a serious threat to America and its allies?  ISIS has taken over land, weapons, and large sums of cash with what appears to be little to no resistance.  I understand not getting involved in the internal problems of other countries, but it seems abundantly clear that ISIS is not merely a problem that will remain isolated to the region.  Are we to wait until they do attack us on American soil?  I am sure you feel as we all do, that waiting for that to happen is unacceptable.  I just don’t see what is being done to prevent that.

There are those on the far right that not only question your tactics in dealing with Muslim extremism, but your motives as well.  I am under the assumption and belief that you mean to do what is best for the country even if I question your methods.  This is what baffles me most about your dealings with Israel. I am not alone in feeling at least some degree of abandonment and betrayal towards Israel and the Jewish people.  I recognize some of the support you have given to Israel, particularly in the funding of Iron Dome, but some of the actions taken by the administration as well as some of the statements made, have been anything but positive.  I have often said, in an attempt to be fair and objective, that the Jewish people need to understand that you were elected President of the United States, not Prime Minister of Israel.  But knowing that as I do, I am baffled that you would not put your complete support behind Israel, the country most likely to fight an enemy not only committed to its destruction, but to America’s destruction as well.

Mr. President, I know that compared to the ocean that is your set of accomplishments in life I am a mere drop of water. I also know that I do not match up to you intellectually.  That being said I am still an American with a voice and an opinion that is shared by many other Americans.  Our opinion deserves to be considered.   As a Jew who has lost a significant degree of faith in your friendship towards the Jewish people, I ask you to recognize Israel’s need for support in combating not only its enemy, but America’s as well.  Most of all, I ask you to tell us how you intend to keep us and future generations safe from enemies that appear to be growing with little resistance.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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Snowy DumbBlasio

NYC-Democratic-mayoral-candidate-Bill-de-Blasio-FacebookAs a Liberal Democrat I would certainly not be first in line to attack a New York City mayor who portrays himself as a progressive concerned about all of  his city’s citizens, but after what I saw today I feel compelled to express my  very negative opinion of his performance.

The decision made by Mayor Bill de Blasio to keep the schools open was just plain dumb.  The argument made in the press conference, a press conference tightly controlled by the mayor, was that public schools remained open because of a protocol that was followed, discussions between officials, and a strong reluctance to close the schools that was backed up by the small number of instances in which they were actually closed over the years.

Be that as it may, it was apparent to almost everyone watching this morning that the conditions were so hazardous that this decision was reckless and irresponsible.  Maybe the mayor and his officials will get lucky and no ones gets seriously hurt or ill as a result, but that doesn’t make the decision a good one.  If on one side you tell people to stay home unless they need to go out, then how do you mandate that children need to go out to attend school?  It makes no sense and was a display of poor judgment that should concern the citizens of New York immensely.  It also destroys the credibility you need when you ask a populous to stay home, something I believe the newly elected mayor knew by the way he was jumping in first to answer questions in the press conference that were not directed his way.  It looked a lot like someone who told his staff,  ‘if the questions get challenging let me take the lead’.

As a Liberal Democrat I had some degree of enthusiasm at the prospect of a liberally progressive mayor taking over in New York City.  Today’s stupidity doesn’t have to mean we won’t witness exciting and positive developments for the city, but if future important decisions are made with the same recklessness, the problems it will cause will outweigh any progress.