Romney’s Message of Service vs. Obama’s of Politics

American presidential politics always pit a Republican against a Democrat, but rarely do we see true polar opposites come together to compete as we have in 2012. In my lifetime, the last presidential election I can recall that included distinctly different candidates was the Carter / Reagan election of 1980. In so many interesting ways, this election feels oddly similar to those times.

Barnard College, May 14th -- WSJ

In recent days, Governor Romney and President Obama gave commencement speeches at two different colleges. The speech given by Governor Romney was truly inspiring and one of the best he has ever given. If you have not seen it, you really need to (it really is worth the time). To watch it in its entirety, click here.

Daniel Henninger’s weekly column in The Wall Street Journal yesterday was titled, “A Tale of Two Commencements” — (For Obama, politics is life. For Romney, politics does not define us.)

Henninger perfectly contrasts Obama’s frequent victims message with Romney’s message of optimism, rooted in selfless service.

Liberty University, May 12th

Two days after Mitt Romney delivered the commencement speech at Liberty University, the big evangelical Christian school founded by Jerry Falwell, Barack Obama tutored graduates at Barnard College, the intensely liberal all-women’s school adjacent to Columbia University. As you might guess, the wisdom these two political elders imparted to the Class of 2012 was not the same.
[…]
Barack Obama, by now a master at faux self-deflation, admitted he was pandering: “Now I recognize that’s a cheap applause line when you’re giving a commencement at Barnard.” (Laughter.) He had said the women of this generation will help lead the way. (Applause.)
[…]
The world that Barack Obama conveyed to the women at Barnard is totally, overwhelmingly political. To be sure, there were references to parental joy at the success of children completing college, but virtually every thought in the Obama commencement address—on the accomplishments of the past or a graduate’s goals—was defined by political activity.

He said they are about to grapple with unique challenges, “like whether you’ll be able to earn equal pay for equal work” or “fully control decisions about your own health.”

The role of the citizen in “our democracy” began 225 years ago at the Convention in Philadelphia, which had “flaws,” to wit: “Questions of race and gender were unresolved.” Nonetheless, it “allowed for protest and movements.”

And so: “Don’t accept somebody else’s construction of the way things ought to be. It’s up to you to right wrongs. It’s up to you to point out injustice. It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely. It’s up to you to stand up and to be heard, to write and to lobby, to march, to organize, to vote.”

Mr. Obama described his own early job as a community organizer: “I wanted to do my part to shape a better world.” He cited the accomplishments of previous generations of young people who “stood up and sat in from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall.” This, Mr. Obama said, is how “we achieved” women’s rights, voting rights, workers’ rights and gay rights.

Barack Obama seems to inhabit a world of history and personal experience in which good people at every turn are held back by individuals or oppressive forces that one only overcomes by personal or public resistance.

Someone in high school told Labor Secretary Hilda Solis she wasn’t college material. Mr. Obama’s grandmother worked for a bank but hit the glass ceiling. And today there are “those who oppose change, those who benefit from an unjust status quo [and] have always bet on the public’s cynicism or the public’s complacency.” He predicts they will lose “this time as well.”

Fair enough. That’s how the world works for Barack Obama, though it strikes me he is telling America’s 22-year-olds that the road ahead is a fairly grim proletarian struggle. Be ready to occupy everything. Where’s the joy in that?

There was less tooth and claw in the Romney speech at Liberty University. In a discussion of the uses of religious freedom, one passage in particular separated Mr. Romney from Barack Obama’s default to mass action. “The great drama of Christianity,” Gov. Romney said, “is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives or even nations. The drama is always personal, individual, unfolding in one’s own life.” Out of this, he said, “Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.”

Progress, he argued, emerges through “conscience in action,” for him “the nation’s greatest force for good.” Mr. Romney referred several times to the idea of personal service. “The call to service,” he said “is one of the fundamental elements of our national character. It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen.”

For Barack Obama, life is politics. For Mitt Romney, life includes politics; politics, he said, does not define us.

To wage a presidential campaign in our nonstop media age, the man who sees politics as a battering ram may have an edge. But Mitt Romney, with his politics of optimism and personal conscience, could be onto something that will serve him well.

“Today, thanks to what you have gained here, you leave Liberty with conviction and confidence as your armor. You know what you believe. You know who you are. And you know Whom you will serve. Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here. Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.” ~ Mitt Romney, Liberty University, May 12, 2022

Al Gore is Coaching President Obama on Business (it appears)

My cynical side tells me that Mr. Obama knowingly lies in his speeches. But then again, maybe he just does not understand business and history. By now, it is obvious to all American’s that Mr. Obama knows very little about basic business principles. Whether his errant rhetoric is dishonesty or lack of knowledge, does the distinction matter? Just below is the subtext of a brief WSJ editorial that reads:

“The Internet made Microsoft possible, and other tall tales.”

Mr. Obama runs fast and loose with business terminology all along the trail. Have you not heard him use the term “invest” or “investment” sprinkled among his other favorite words “fair” and “fairness?”

The very first thought I had when reading this piece was, “Did Al Gore coach Mr. Obama ahead of this speech?”

Today’s Journal carried an editorial called Obama’s History of Business that effectively calls into question his knowledge of business technology and his integrity:

[…] So eager is he to make this point that, well, let’s just say he sometimes wanders beyond his area of expertise, as he did last Thursday in Seattle.

“When I hear people talk about the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship, I try to remind them, you know, all of us made that investment in Darpa [the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] that helped to get the Internet started,” said Mr. Obama. “So there’s no Facebook, there’s no Microsoft, there’s no Google if we hadn’t made this common investment in our future.”

Microsoft—a product of the Internet? That may surprise Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who founded the software company in 1975. The company didn’t introduce its first Internet browser for another 20 years, and in the meantime it became the dominant computer software company long before the Internet became economically important. The irony of Mr. Obama’s error is that for much of Microsoft’s history the Internet was seen as a threat to its desktop dominance.

There’s no doubt that Darpa has done many good things, but the point Mr. Obama misses is that Darpa is engaged in funding research. This is a proper role for government, especially on national defense. But Darpa does not attempt to commercialize products. Facebook and Google, like Apple and Microsoft, were founded by private investors.

The President likes to elide that distinction between government funding for basic research and commercialization, which is how his Administration lost so much money on stinkers like Solyndra.

Mr. Obama indulged in similar government hype in his January State of the Union address when he suggested that federal research spending “led to the computer chip.” Perhaps federal research made a contribution, but credit for building the first integrated circuit has generally been given to Jack Kilby at a company called Texas Instruments in 1958. Other innovations came from Bell Labs, Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, among many other private firms.

The problem here is less Mr. Obama’s historical errors than his emphasis. He really does believe that prosperity flows from government, which is why all of his policies promote more government.

Just last week Mr. Obama told Americans that what is important is not whether you are better off today but whether you will be better off in the future (presumably hoping they will press “forward” with him again).

The answer to his rhetorical question is: “Yes! The future will be much brighter and all will be far better off with President Mitt Romney as our 45th President of the United States!”

“Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of trick and duplicity, than straightforward and simple integrity in another.” ~ Charles Caleb Colton

Mitt Romney’s Liberty University Commencement Address

Governor Mitt Romney's Commencement Address (FOX)


Governor Romney delivered a powerful commencement address to the graduating students of evangelical Christian Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia earlier today. This speech was historic for many reasons.

Before Governor Romney spoke, Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. addressed the commencement day crowd of approximately 34,000. He reminded the audience that his father, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, founded the university in 1971 to be for evangelical Christians “what Notre Dame is to young Catholics and Brigham Young is to young Mormons.”

The introduction for Governor Romney begins at 25:27 with remarks from Chancellor Falwell and Mark DeMoss, Chairman of Liberty University. (You don’t want to skip the intros!):

If that video gives you problems, click here to watch the address on Youtube.

By Mitt Romney

For the graduates, this moment marks a clear ending and a clear beginning. The task set before you four years ago is now completed in full. To the class of 2012: Well done, and congratulations.

Some of you may have taken a little longer than four years to complete your studies. One graduate has said that he completed his degree in only two terms: Clinton’s and Bush’s.

In some ways, it is fitting that I share this distinction with Truett Cathy. The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A. Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting. So, Truett, thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.

There are some people here who are even more pleased than the graduates. Those would be the parents. Their years of prayers, devotion, and investment have added up to this joyful achievement. And with credit to Congressman Dick Armey: The American Dream is not owning your own home, it is getting your kids out of the home you own.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches. And let’s just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have.

That’s a theme for another day. But two observations. First, even though job opportunities are scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. Jerry Falwell, Senior, long ago observed that “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.” America needs your skill and talent. If we take the right course, we will see a resurgence in the American economy that will surprise the world, and that will open new doors of opportunity for those who are prepared as you are.

Of course, what the next four years might hold for me is yet to be determined. But I will say that things are looking up, and I take your kind hospitality today as a sign of good things to come.

I consider it a great life honor to address you today. Your generosity of spirit humbles me. The welcoming spirit of Liberty is a tribute to the gracious Christian example of your founder.

In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark. For nearly five decades he shared that walk with his good wife Macel. It’s wonderful to see her today. The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one. Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.

I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness. Several years ago, in my home, my wife and I were posing for a picture together with him. We wanted him to be in the center of the photo, but he insisted that Ann be in the middle, with he and I on the sides. He explained, by pointing to me and himself, “You see, Christ died between two thieves.”

Maybe the most confident step Jerry ever took was to open the doors of this school 41 years ago.

He believed that Liberty might become one of the most respected Christian universities anywhere on earth. And so it is today.

He believed, even when the first graduating class consisted of 13 students, that year after year young Christians would be drawn to such a university in ever-greater numbers. And here you are.

Today, thanks to what you have gained here, you leave Liberty with conviction and confidence as your armor. You know what you believe. You know who you are. And you know Whom you will serve. Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here. Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.

That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide.

You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.

The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.

The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.

As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.

But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.

Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world. But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us.

Someone once observed that the great drama of Christianity is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives or even nations. The drama is always personal, individual, unfolding in one’s own life. We’re not alone in sensing this. Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.

And, in the way of lessons learned, by hitting the mark or by falling short, I can tell you this much for sure.

All that you have heard here at Liberty University – about trusting in God and in His purpose for each of us-makes for more than a good sermon. It makes for a good life. So many things compete for our attention and devotion. That doesn’t stop as you get older. We are all prone, at various turns, to treat the trivial things as all-important, the all-important things as trivial, and little by little lose sight of the one thing that endures forever.

No person I have ever met, not even the most righteous or pure of heart, has gone without those times when faith recedes in the busy-ness of life. It’s normal, and sometimes even the smallest glimpses of the Lord’s work in our lives can reawaken our hearts. They bring us back to ourselves – and, better still, to something far greater than ourselves.

What we have, what we wish we had – ambitions fulfilled, ambitions disappointed … investments won, investments lost … elections won, elections lost – these things may occupy our attention, but they do not define us. And each of them is subject to the vagaries and serendipities of life. Our relationship with our Maker, however, depends on none of this. It is entirely in our control, for He is always at the door, and knocks for us. Our worldly successes cannot be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us, thanks to the grace of God. The best advice I know is to give those worldly things your best but never your all, reserving the ultimate hope for the only one who can grant it.

Many a preacher has advised the same, but few as memorably as Martin Luther King, Jr. “As a young man,” he said, “with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

In this life, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family.

My Dad, George Romney, was a CEO, a governor, and a member of the President’s Cabinet. My wife Ann asked him once, “What was your greatest accomplishment?” Without a moment’s pause, he said, “Raising our four kids.”

Ann and I feel the same way about our family. I have never once regretted missing a business opportunity so that I could be with my children and grandchildren. Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn’t one of them.

As C.S. Lewis is said to have remarked, “The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”

Promotions often mark the high points in a career, and I hope I haven’t seen my last. But sometimes the high points come in unexpected ways. I was asked to help rescue the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I’m embarrassed now to recall that when this opportunity was first presented to me, I dismissed it out of hand. I was busy, I was doing well, and, by the way, my lack of athletic prowess did not make the Olympics a logical step. In fact, after I had accepted the position, my oldest son called me and said, “Dad, I’ve spoken to the brothers. We saw the paper this morning. We want you to know there’s not a circumstance we could have conceived of that would put you on the front page of the sports section.”

The Olympics were not a logical choice, but it was one of the best and most fulfilling choices of my life. Opportunities for you to serve in meaningful ways may come at inconvenient times, but that will make them all the more precious.

People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview. The best case for this is always the example of Christian men and women working and witnessing to carry God’s love into every life – people like the late Chuck Colson.

Not long ago, Chuck recounted a story from his days just after leaving prison. He was assured by people of influence that, even with a prison record, a man with his connections and experience could still live very comfortably. They would make some calls, get Chuck situated, and set him up once again as an important man. His choice at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man.

The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character. It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen. Sometimes, as Dr. Viktor Frankl observed in a book for the ages, it is not a matter of what we are asking of life, but rather what life is asking of us. How often the answer to our own troubles is to help others with theirs.

In all of these things – faith, family, work, and service –the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all. For so many on this earth, life is filled with orders, not options, right down to where they live, the work they do, and how many children the state will permit them to have. All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America, where the talents God gave us may be used in freedom.

At this great Christian institution, you have all learned a thing or two about these gifts and the good purposes they can serve. They are yours to have and yours to share. Sometimes, your Liberty education will set you apart, and always it will help direct your path. And as you now leave, and make for new places near and far, I hope for each one of you that your path will be long and life will be kind.

The ideals that brought you here … the wisdom you gained here … and the friends you found here – may these blessings be with you always, wherever you go.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Photo - Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Governor Romney’s speech built an inter-faith bridge:

Some students, such as J.D. Wilkinson, a worship and music studies major from Springfield, Massachusetts, told CNN that they liked that Romney spoke out on the same-sex marriage issue.

“This school has always been about being not politically correct, just saying it, just telling the truth how it is and I thought he did that,” Wilkinson said. “I think that’s fresh in today’s world and I think that’s needed.”

Another, Michael Kildare, said he doesn’t identify strongly with a particular political party but is open to hearing more about Romney after today’s speech. Kildare, who is from Orlando, Florida, will return to his home city to take a job as a computer technician.

I was kind of skeptical at first but he definitely said some things that I have to take into consideration,” he said. “He’s definitely a good candidate for the presidency and I definitely look forward to his other speeches and other campaign ideas.

(emphasis added)

Congratulations and best wishes to the graduates!


Romney vs. Obama: Polar Opposites

Dennis Prager is my favorite nationally syndicated talk show host — his logical reasoning to arrive at moral truth is unmatched. Unfortunately, his AM radio program in the Los Angeles Metro area is a relatively weak signal so I’m not able to catch the show often. Prager has a unique way of simplifying the complex.

This short video by Dennis Prager illustrates the clear, fundamental differences between Mr. Obama’s policies and those of Governor Romney. Have there ever been two presidential candidates that are more polar opposites than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? I cannot think of any.

As you watch this video, think about which candidate, if elected in November, will have the greatest impact to American society in creating far more selfish people:

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Mr. Obama’s Enemies List — First Since Nixon

10 days ago, Kimberly Strassel wrote about a short list Obama had compiled of people that had donated money to the Romney campaign. Basically, her article states this “enemies list” was the first of its kind since the Nixon years (David Parker also cited it here).

One of those Romney donors was Tom O’Malley of Florida. He wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal that the Journal published today. It is is very brief:

Kimberley Strassel’s April 27 Potomac Watch “The President Has a List” reports some serious allegations. I have not made too many lists in my more than 50 years in business, so I was quite surprised to see my name on President Barack Obama’s “enemies” list.

My most recent business venture, PBF Energy, bought the closed-down Delaware City Refinery, spent $400 million to fix it and reopened it with a United Steel Workers unionized work force. More than a thousand high-paying jobs were created in a state where unemployment had become a real problem.

PBF also bought a refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., one that was scheduled to close. Thus, more high-paying unionized jobs were saved in New Jersey.

If this gets you on the enemies list, it would be good for the country if the list were expanded. It would seem that I got on the list because I gave to the Romney PAC. I have also run a fund-raiser for New York’s own senator, Chuck Schumer, who I believe is still a Democrat. I hope this doesn’t get me on another list, because the amount involved exceeded the Romney contribution.

I can’t believe that the president has authorized such a self-destructive strategy and can only suggest that he and his administration may want to disown the author of the list, whoever that may be.

Tom O’Malley, Executive Chairman, PFB Energy, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Nixon was desperate when he maintained an enemies list. So is Obama.



“Forward, what, over the cliff?”

Mr. Obama’s campaign recently announced its new slogan: “Forward”

Governor Romney asked the rhetorical question: “Forward, what, over the cliff?”

Credit: Getty Images

Yesterday’s WSJ published Daniel Henniger’s weekly column titled, “Memo to the Youth Vote” that challenges the notion there is anything progressive or forward benefiting the young voter.

Why would anyone under the age of 25 vote for Barack Obama in November?

Mr. Obama resumed his College Tour 2012 last week, visiting campuses in Iowa, North Carolina and Colorado for the purpose of replicating his 66% youth-vote total from 2008.

In 2008, he reeled them in with promises of hope and change. In 2012 he’s offering cash, promising to protect 3.4% interest on their college loans. We’re about to find out if it’s true that when you’re young, hope springs eternal.

Put differently, the past three years have been a Peter Pan presidency for Peter Pan voters. If you’re going to college, it’s good to vote for Barack Obama again, so long as you’ll never have to turn 23. But for many young Americans, there will be no Tinker Bell showing them how to land a job with lovely thoughts.

The youth unemployment rate for Americans has hovered around 16%. Anecdotal stories abound of college graduates living in the bedroom they grew up in, jobless. But hey, the president they voted for as freshmen is promising 3.4% interest on the average $25,000 or so of college debt they owe four years later.
[…]
Last May, the Nobel laureate economist Robert Lucas, an expert on economic growth, put together a lecture on the economy because so many people asked him why the U.S. economy’s post-recession growth rate was struggling around 2%.

He noted that in the years after World War II, both the U.S. and Europe grew at an annual rate of about 3%. But in the mid-1970s, Western Europe dropped below that growth rate and stayed there, creating a 20% to 40% gap in income levels between Europe and the U.S. Prof. Lucas suggested this had to do with the cost of maintaining the social-welfare commitments Europe accumulated in the postwar years.

He then looked at the levels of U.S. social-welfare commitments, including the new Obama health-care entitlement, and ended with a simple observation: “Is it possible that by imitating European policies on labor markets, welfare and taxes, the U.S. has chosen a new, lower GDP trend? If so, it may be that the weak recovery we have had so far is all the recovery we will get.”
[…]
For new American college graduates, there is an alternative to that job you thought you’d have: Join a union.

If your new goal in life is to join the United Auto Workers (saved by Mr. Obama with your parents’ taxes) or work for a government agency somewhere for the next 40 years, the president is your candidate. The modern Democratic Party from top to bottom is the party of all unions, hardly different than the European political parties whose union members and unemployed college graduates filled city squares Tuesday in forlorn May Day demonstrations. If a career inside an American union is what it’s all about, then an Obama vote (“Forward”) is a no-brainer.

But aside from the aspiring union lifers, what’s in an Obama vote for the rest of the youth vote? The U.S. annualized growth rate in the first quarter this year was 2.2%. Perhaps the life raft is that provision in ObamaCare that extends health-insurance coverage to children living at home until the age of 26. If Barack Obama wins another four years, you may need it.

By the way, Henninger’s social-welfare argument above might have a lot more truth to it when considering what many are saying is behind Mr. Obama’s one line slogan. Consider these three: Here, here, and here. Would any President of the United States employ a subliminal message such as these from history? Am I naive to think not?

Nah. This is what I think of Mr. Obama’s new slogan:

By Bill Fortune

Poll Shows a Replay of 1980 – American Jewish Electorate Divided on Presidential Election

As the general election has just kicked off, with the economy getting the main focus and attention, and Obama taking some hits on his record, it is also important to see how American voters view President Obama’s conduct and his handling of issues that matter to most Americans.

Let’s look particularly at a demographic that may play an important party in determining who becomes the next President of the U.S. in November 2012 - the Jewish American electorate. Since this race is going to come down to a battle over swing states, those that historically and demographically choose the President, the Jewish population in Florida, Ohio, Philadelphia and Cleveland could be the demographic giving Mitt Romney the edge over the President.

A new poll, conducted by Knowledge Networks for the AJC, shows the mixed political mind of the American Jewish community as the nation heads into general election season. It reveals Romney making significant inroads in the Jewish community, getting the support of 28 percent, 6 months before election day. In comparison, President George W. Bush, considered one of Israel’s greatest friends, got only 24 percent of the Jewish vote in his reelection bid in 2004. Senator McCain, also known as a strong supporter of Israel during his years in the Senate, got only 22 percent.

The poll also shows President Obama getting only 61 percent of the Jewish vote, a decline of 17 points down from the 78 percent he got in 2008. 11 percent are undecided, but when asked whom they are leaning towards, 5% picked Romney and 6% picked the president. Even before the Veep pick, the national convention, and the campaign effort which is expected to be aggressive and carefully area targeted in the months ahead, that gives Mitt Romney roughly 33% of the Jewish vote.

Based on this poll data, one could confidentially assume Mitt Romney getting around 39% of the Jewish vote in November. It matches President Reagan’s 1980-1984 support.

The analysis is based on poll data, which could be spinned and twisted brilliantly by both campaigns, but also gives us a glimpse of how the electorate is somewhat similar to 1980 when Ronald Reagan challenged President Jimmy Carter. When asked for the most important issues in deciding their vote, 80 percent of American Jews cited the economy, 57 percent health care, 26 percent national security and 22 percent U.S.-Israel relations. But among those who are more focused on national security concerns or U.S.-Israel relations, only 42 percent would vote for Obama. Forty-four percent of those who cite national security and 45 percent of those who cite U.S.-Israel relations would vote for Romney.

Regardless of how the respondents intend to vote, 60 percent think the Democratic Party is more likely to make the right decision in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. 37 percent choose the Republican Party. The same is with national security issues and the economy in which 36% trust the Republicans compared to 60-62 that trust the Democrats.

Nonetheless, if this election is a combination of the economy and national security issues, based on the assumption these factors will be key in determining the support each candidate might get – the President’s record, his name recognition, his incumbency advantage and Mitt Romney’s aggressive campaigning mode, one could definitely expect Mitt Romney to pick up high support among Jewish voters. Consequently, that would create an opening and opportunity for the Republican party to open it doors, run competitive Jewish candidates, make Jews feel comfortable in the GOP party, and most of all, be just enough to tilt some highly contested Battleground states in Mitt Romney’s column.

Mr. Obama is no Commander in Chief — He is a Weak Man of Character for Exploiting the SEALs

Very few things in life ever make me angry. Messrs. Obama, Biden, and Clinton have crossed the line in their gloating and bragging and have gotten my attention.

The issue of President Obama and Vice President Biden boasting of the decision to kill Bin Laden is unbecoming any leader, gentleman, or certainly a President of the United States. I could not let this one go by. Back in February, I wrote this piece about how the Navy SEALs were upset that Mr. Obama would allow leaking of classified information.

Recent news exposes what I consider to be weakness of character of Mr. Obama as he continues to brag about this event while at the same time criticizing Gov. Romney by stating he would not have taken the same action. While Mr. Obama deserves credit for making the decision certainly, he and Governor Romney are miles apart in one very important way. I wish I could shout this from the rooftops! Once a President Romney were to make such a decision, he would NEVER boast about it and he would NEVER create a political television commercial about it. NEVER!

Anybody who has been around or known any person that has served in the armed forces, in any leadership position, knows that they never brag about combat missions (in part because human beings die as a result). And yet our Commander in Chief is doing exactly that! In my opinion, his language and actions this week are absolutely deplorable!

UPDATE: Outstanding WSJ article: Michael Mukasey: Obama and the bin Laden Bragging RightsIt’s hard to imagine Lincoln or Eisenhower claiming such credit for the heroic actions of others.

Consider this opinion from Breitbart. The article refers to a memo by Panetta and many have referred to Obama’s decision as a “gutsy” call — certainly that is the case in the Clinton narrated ad. The Breitbart article is worth reading in its entirety. Here is an excerpt:

Only the memo doesn’t show a gutsy call. It doesn’t show a president willing to take the blame for a mission gone wrong. It shows a CYA maneuver by the White House.

The memo puts all control in the hands of Admiral McRaven – the “timing, operational decision making and control” are all up to McRaven. So the notion that Obama and his team were walking through every stage of the operation is incorrect. The hero here was McRaven, not Obama. And had the mission gone wrong, McRaven surely would have been thrown under the bus.

The memo is crystal clear on that point. It says that the decision has been made based solely on the “risk profile presented to the President.” If any other risks — no matter how minute — arose, they were “to be brought back to the President for his consideration.” This is ludicrous. It is wiggle room. It was Obama’s way of carving out space for himself in case the mission went bad. If it did, he’d say that there were additional risks of which he hadn’t been informed; he’d been kept in the dark by his military leaders.

Finally, the memo is unclear on just what the mission is. Was it to capture Bin Laden or to kill him? The White House itself was unable to decide what the mission was in the hours after the Bin Laden kill, and actually switched its language. The memo shows why: McRaven was instructed to “get” Bin Laden, whatever that meant.

President Obama made the right call to give the green light to the mission. But he did it in a way that he could shift the blame if things went wrong. Typical Obama. And typical of him to claim full credit for it, when he didn’t do anything but give a vague nod, while putting his top military officials at risk of taking the hit in case of a bad turn.

MailOnline obtained the opinions of Navy SEALs regarding Obama’s using their mission for political gain — consider:

Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.

The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’.
[…]
Mr Obama used a news conference today to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mr Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let bin Laden live.
[…]
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.

Even Arianna Huffington ripped Mr. Obama!

Mr Obama has faced criticism even from allies about his decision to make a campaign ad about the bin Laden raid. Arianna Huffington, an outspoken liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.

She told CBS: ‘We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room… all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.’
[…]

The article continues:

‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander-in-chief so his secret is safe.’
[…]
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.

‘In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier — as would George W. Bush.’
[…]
It was ‘stretching a little much’ for Mr Obama to suggest only he would have made the decision. ‘I personally I don’t think Romney would have any problem making tough decisions. He got a very accomplished record of making decision as a business professional.
[…]
Clint Bruce, who gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer before retiring as a lieutenant after nine years, said: ‘We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate.

[emphasis added throughout]

Frankly, I am angry. President Obama is accurately credited for the decision he made. But for him to effectively glory in the mission by exploiting the true heroes who made it happen — and to politicize the mission — is beyond the pale. His extremely poor judgment in constantly seeking political gain, using a military operation, speaks volumes of his utter lack of decency while at the same time revealing his character.

Obama, Biden, and Clinton are weak men for using our service men and women in this way.

Governor Mitt Romney is Keeping President Obama Off Balance

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

By all assessments, Governor Romney has surprised all political experts. The general election officially started last Tuesday and just one month ago, politicos of all stripes were predicting a Mt. Everest campaign for Governor Romney because of how he had been “damaged” from the primary battles. And guess what? All credible polls have Mr. Obama and Governor Romney at dead even odds — those surveying “likely voters” have Romney ahead. For perspective, at this exact point in the campaign in 1980, Reagan trailed President Carter by eight points.

So? The point is that Governor Romney is doing a lot right! As we have said many times here at MRC, Governor Romney is an outstanding strategist and planner. He has surrounded himself with some of the best advisers any candidate could hope for. Even so, we will see journalists, politicos, pundits, and editorial boards attempt to shape or influence his campaign strategy and message right up to the November election. They are Americans too and they want what’s best for our nation as well.

The following from the WSJ is one example. I have read many other articles in which Romney advisers have indicated he will be outlining key policy positions as the campaign progresses, so these suggestions below were internalized long ago. It seems obvious to me that one of Gov. Romney’s strategies is to keep Mr. Obama off balance, of which he is doing a masterful job!

Last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal editorial board published their central opinion piece titled, “The Romney Opportunity — Running on biography and the economy won’t be enough.” I recommend reading the entire piece by clicking the link just above.

With Newt Gingrich finally leaving the GOP Presidential race, Mitt Romney is now closer to realizing the ambition he has so long pursued: He has an even-money chance to become America’s 45th President. He’s more likely to fulfill that ambition if he overcomes his cautious nature and runs a campaign that is equal to America’s current political moment.

***
This will not be the instinct of Mr. Romney or his close-knit group of advisers. Looking at the polls, they see a nearly even race, with President Obama below 50% despite the beating Mr. Romney took in the primaries.

The temptation will be to assume the public has decided to fire the incumbent and so run a campaign to become the safe alternative. Take no policy risk, stress Mr. Romney’s biography, his attractive family and the seven habits of highly effective businessmen, and then hammer away on the economy.
[…]
On the economy in particular, such a larger argument would fit the country’s current mood. The public’s anxiety isn’t merely about the failures of the last three years, as important as it is for Mr. Romney to score this Administration for its failed stimulus, crony capitalism, hyperregulation, soaring debt and ObamaCare.

Americans are more deeply worried than at any time since the 1970s about their country’s long-term prospects. Why aren’t middle-class incomes rising? Why are nonmilitary public institutions failing—from K-12 education to entitlements?

Mr. Obama understands these anxieties, even if he has no new answer for them. So his diversionary re-election strategy will be a combination of class warfare, more government subsidies (free student loans!), and personal attacks on Mr. Romney for being wealthy. Mr. Romney will need allies who can rebut these attacks.

But he’ll find it easier to defeat Mr. Obama’s argument—even to transcend it—if he offers his own economic narrative that reaches back to the mistakes of the Bush Administration to explain how we got here and how he can get us out. Politically, this will help shield Mr. Romney from Mr. Obama’s inevitable attempt to link the Republican to the Bush era. Such a critique also has the advantage of being true.

Before Mr. Obama’s stimulus, Mr. Bush joined with Nancy Pelosi and Larry Summers on the blunder of “targeted, temporary” tax cuts. Mr. Bush began playing business favorites for ethanol and green energy fads. Republicans in Congress spent like Democrats and protected Fannie Mae and the housing lobby. And Mr. Bush and most Republicans embraced an easy-money Federal Reserve that favored Wall Street and asset bubbles at the expense of real middle-class incomes.

The editorial says some nice things about last week’s speech by Governor Romney.

But the speech was policy-free. To be credible, a reform agenda has to have some reform substance.
[…]
He has already endorsed enough of Mr. Ryan’s premium-support plan to have to defend it, and Mr. Obama is vulnerable with his Medicare cuts and unaccountable rationing board that are part of ObamaCare. Mr. Romney won’t win the election on Medicare, but even a draw will be a political victory. Leading on the debate will show voters he is willing to take on difficult issues and give him a reform mandate if he wins.

***
One of Mr. Romney’s trickiest challenges will be how to handle Mr. Obama’s, er, veracity. More than any President we’ve seen, this incumbent is willing to say things that aren’t in the area code of the truth. Thus he gives himself credit for the natural gas drilling boom, the deficits are still Mr. Bush’s fault, Mr. Obama has never raised taxes, and “green jobs” in his dream economy are blooming by the millions.

Mr. Romney can’t let the President get away with this, or Mr. Obama will conjure a vision of unreality that enough voters might believe. The challenger has to find a way to mock the mirage of an “economy built to last” without sounding arch or personal. He needs his version of Reagan’s “there he goes again.”

For all of his challenges, the most important political news is that Mr. Romney has a fighting chance to win. The incumbent’s accomplishments are unpopular and the economy is failing average Americans. To win the GOP nomination, Mr. Romney has shown reserves of tenacity and discipline. To win the White House, he’ll need to show a larger vision and the nerve to pursue it.