Friday, August 24, 2012
By: Matthew Brooks
Mitt Romney made a bold and serious move in his choice of a running mate. With the naming of Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney turned this election into a referendum not only on Pres. Obama's past three years, but on the future freedom, prosperity, and strength of our country.
President Obama will add more to our national debt in just 3 1/2 years than all the presidents before him have done since 1789. Obamacare, his signature piece of legislation, will raise taxes for most Americans, gut $700 billion out of Medicare permanently, raise the cost of health care, and reduce the quality and accessibility of care to millions of Americans, while limiting patient choices.
Romney and Ryan have a different vision of America, and a serious plan for taking us to a more prosperous and secure future. Paul Ryan's budget plan has been honed over the last couple of years and has earned the bipartisan support of Democrats like Sen. Ron Wyden and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles (of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform).
As expected in a campaign year, Democrats will try to demonize Ryan and scare Jewish voters, claiming that he will "end Medicare as we know it" or "push bubbe over a cliff." They'll accuse of him of wanting to shred the social safety net. Well, here are the facts you should know about Ryan's plan:
• No one over the age of 55 will be affected at all, in any way, by the changes to the Medicare system.
• Medicare's traditional fee-for-service plan will remain an option that anyone can choose - Medicare will continue to operate and no one will be forced out of it.
• The introduction of "premium support" - a way to increase competition and reduce costs while maintaining the same level of benefits - will not "privatize Medicare" but will add the option for today's younger workers to choose the same benefits of Medicare at lower costs.
Medicare "as we know it" today is unsustainable, impossible, and deadly to our children's economic future - it must be reformed, and soon.
Ryan is a protege of Jack Kemp, whose pro-growth, pro-trade ideas came from a profound belief that free markets benefit minorities and the poor by enlarging the economic pie. Ryan's efforts on the House Budget Committee (which he currently chairs) have been focused on reforming areas of ineffective or bloated government spending and making the tax system more coherent and less burdensome - all in order to grow the economy and create jobs. Jobs and growth are vital to ensuring that the U.S. avoids the kind of economic crisis facing much of Europe.
On Israel and foreign policy, Ryan has a solid record as a member of Congress and, more importantly, a solid understanding of America's role in the world, our alliance with Israel, and the terrible threat that Islamist extremism and terrorism pose for us and for the free world. In fact, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said of Ryan that he's "very supportive" of the Jewish state.
Democrats will try to have you believe that Ryan voted against sanctions measures on Iran. In fact, Rep. Ryan has supported every single Iran sanctions measure supported by AIPAC and co-sponsored many of them. The Democrats' bogus charge is based on Republicans having voted as a bloc to reject Democratic procedural motions - motions whose only actual effect would be to torpedo unrelated legislation. Those votes were never about Iran; they were all about partisan politics.
Like Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Israeli leaders who met Ryan when he visited Israel with a congressional delegation in 2005 have been impressed with his strong support for Israel. In public remarks, Ryan has made it clear that he rejects President Obama's policy of pressuring Israel and he opposes the Palestinians' unilateral statehood efforts.
The Romney-Ryan ticket is ready to tackle the big problems - our debt, our ever-growing federal spending, and the out-of-control entitlement programs that are on track to destroy our economy. Democratic scare-mongering, treating the Jewish community like unthinking children, is an unworthy and failed response to the serious and positive proposals that Romney and Ryan are putting in front of American voters.
Matthew Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
This article appeared in the Washington Jewish Week on August 22, 2012
Obama Campaign Embraces Radical Rabbi
She meets with Ahmadinejad, travels to Iran, serves on board of organization ADL calls a "top ten anti-Israel group"
RJC Calls for Her Removal from Campaign Group
Washington, D.C. (August 23, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today expressed profound outrage at the inclusion of radical rabbi Lynn Gottlieb on the official list released by the Obama campaign of "Rabbis for Obama." Rabbi Gottlieb has a long and troubling history, which includes dining with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, being the first American rabbi to visit Tehran, and serving in an organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, which the Anti-Defamation League has called one of the "top ten anti-Israel groups."
By promoting and showcasing Rabbi Gottlieb as one of Pres. Obama's supporters, the Obama campaign lends legitimacy and credibility to a rabbi whose extreme views are well beyond the mainstream of the Jewish community and the mainstream of America.
According to RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks, there can be only two explanations for her inclusion in the list: 1) the Obama campaign failed to properly vet the rabbis on their official list, or 2) they did properly vet the rabbis and chose to ignore Rabbi Gottlieb's radical views.
Either way, this speaks volumes about the Obama campaign's judgment and the RJC calls on the Obama campaign to immediately remove her from any formal or official involvement in the campaign.
The fact that the campaign announced Rabbi Gottlieb's participation in "Rabbis for Obama" at around the same time that it was announced that former President Jimmy Carter -- who has met with Hamas and has been a virulent critic of Israel -- will speak at the Democratic Convention, highlights not only the insensitivity of the Obama campaign to the concerns of the Jewish community, but also underscores why Pres. Obama has seen a significant erosion of support among Jewish voters.
Washington, D.C. (August 22, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today released the next ad in its "My Buyer's Remorse" series, entitled "Brad."
"Brad" is an attorney who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and even donated money to his campaign. But now he says: "I don't think we can afford another four years of an administration that thinks it can create economic opportunity and growth by taxing people into submission.... I wish I didn't have to say it, but where we are right now and the situation we are in, domestically, and in my view internationally, I think we can do better than Barack Obama."
The new video is part of an ongoing series, in which real people tell their stories of why they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, how they became disillusioned with him, and why they won't vote for him in 2012.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "The recession, unemployment, and the lack of opportunity in this economy are serious concerns for voters this year, including Jewish voters. Candidate Obama made a lot of promises about jobs and taxes and economic growth that President Obama has failed to keep. There is an increasing sense in the Jewish community that we're on the wrong track, and the RJC is letting individuals with buyer's remorse express that to a national audience."
The new ad and previous ads in the series can be seen at http://www.MyBuyersRemorse.com.
Friday, August 17, 2012
By: Matthew Brooks
It's only been a few days since he was added to the Republican ticket, but already the Democrat-driven Paul Ryan myths are piling up. In a ritual familiar to many of us from past GOP VP roll-outs, the feverish emails, hyped-up lists and overwrought press releases reveal a desperate Democratic party straining to scare American voters - including Jewish voters. The aim this year is to get voters to focus on Ryan rather than President Obama's record of failure. And they're scared that voters will judge for themselves and come to the same conclusion as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who offered this glowing assessment of Ryan and his signature budget.
Have any of you all met Paul Ryan? We should get him to come to the university. I’m telling you, this guy is amazing. I always thought I was okay at arithmetic, this guy can run circles around me. And he is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget, and it cut the budget deficit, just like [the budget commission Bowles co-chaired] did, by $4 trillion.
That's a pretty good 'reference' given the work that lies ahead for the next President of the United States and his team. Especially in contrast to Bowles's assessment of the incumbent.
The president came out with his own plan. And, the president as you remember, came out with a budget. And I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously. The Senate voted against it 97-to-nothing.
The need to distract voters from making that sort of assessment of the two presidential tickets drives the zeal to propagate myths, some silly, some scurrilous. Here are just five we've seen since the weekend.
1. Paul Ryan is a social issues crusader
This is one of the most mindless and predictable attacks. While it's true that Ryan's views on social issues reflect his Midwestern congressional district, those issues have never been his focus. Also striking - Ryan parted ways with social conservatives on one of the major gay rights issues considered by Congress during his tenure, a proposed law to ban job discrimination based on sexual preference
2. Paul Ryan will take away your Bubbe's Medicare
The recent exchange between CNN's Wolf Blitzer and DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz attracted a lot of attention, especially from amused Republicans. The serious take-away from the episode is that Wasserman Schultz was bound and determined not to admit that today's seniors - as well as those nearing retirement - will be unaffected by the Medicare reforms Ryan proposed in tandem with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden. Democrats plainly intend to propagate this lie far and wide. But it's still a lie - and an egregious one given that the intent is to scare seniors.
Since Democrats are trying to suggest otherwise, it's also important to make clear that under the Ryan-Wyden plan, the decision to opt for a private plan instead of traditional Medicare would be left up to the individual, not dictated by the government.
3. Paul Ryan is a blank slate on foreign policy
It's pretty rich to hear people who promoted then-Sen. Barack Obama four years ago faulting Ryan for having specialized in other legislative areas than foreign policy. And while it's true that few can claim to have sat in as many committee hearings or gone on as many congressional trips as Joe Biden racked up in his 36 years in the Senate, it's also true that Biden is infamous for getting every important foreign policy question wrong - from the Cold War through the Iraq surge.
And Paul Ryan has an excellent record of support for the State of Israel, which is why Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. described him as ‘very supportive’ of the Jewish state within hours of the announcement that he was Romney's pick.
Paul Ryan has also demonstrated a consistent understanding of why our alliance with Israel is so critical - one that compares favorably to President Obama's equivocal record of support. Explaining his approach on his House of Representatives web site, he said:
America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel... We cannot advocate for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that jeopardizes Israel’s safety or legitimizes terrorism.
Notwithstanding Rep. Ryan's decision to make budget policy his area of specialization, he has demonstrated that he has reflected seriously on our nation's role in the world.
Critics who say he has no relevant experience are almost certainly compounding egregious hypocrisy with credentialism. By their standard, Bill Clinton would have had even less foreign policy 'experience' than Ryan when he took the oath of office as President.
4. Paul Ryan opposed efforts to strengthen sanctions on Iran.
Rep. Ryan has supported every single Iran sanctions measure supported by AIPAC - the pro-Israel umbrella group - and cosponsored many of them. The bogus Iran sanctions charge is based on Republicans having voted as a bloc to reject Democratic procedural motions - motions whose only actual effect would be to torpedo unrelated legislation. While it's ludicrous to claim Ryan opposed measures to strengthen Iran sanctions, some journalists who know better have given this meritless charge some credence.
5. Paul Ryan is callous to those less fortunate than himself and is generally indifferent to social justice.
This is perhaps the ugliest item on the list because it reflects the politics of personal destruction. Rep. Ryan has articulately detailed and defended a view of social justice that is consistent with his Catholic faith and our common American tradition. It shows the influence of his mentor, Jack Kemp who promoted an opportunity society in which government would be there to protect the weak and vulnerable while minimizing obstacles to individual flourishing. People who are satisfied with our welfare state status quo are free to defend it, but they overreach when they presume that it is the only possible framework for taking care of those in need. Given our inability to afford our current welfare state, they do the poor no favors when they lash out in personal terms at leaders like Paul Ryan who would reform it to better respond to our current challenges.
Another frequent claim is that Rep. Ryan is animated by Ayn Rand's ideas. Rep. Ryan has cited Rand's novels as among the books that have influenced him. So have many others from all points on the political spectrum. Rep. Ryan has also made it clear that he rejects her atheism and 'objectivism,' diverging from her legacy on a fundamental ethical level. Whatever the criticisms of his budget proposals, it's impossible to honestly portray the reformed government he envisions as a Randian utopia.
Washington, D.C. (August 11, 2012) - The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) praised Gov. Mitt Romney for selecting Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, citing his determination to face our nation's most serious problems and his record of proven leadership.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan are right to reject the notion that America is doomed to economic stagnation and a loss of influence around the world. President Obama wants Americans to believe that - because he's determined to evade blame for his failures in office. But today in Norfolk, Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan made a powerful argument that America can do better - if we embrace the bold, principled leadership they're offering.
"Paul Ryan has challenged both party leaderships in Washington to face up to growing fiscal problems that threaten to blight our nation's future. And while congressional Republicans have responded to the challenge, Democrats have ducked responsibility. The Democrat-controlled US Senate hasn't passed a budget since 2009. And Obama's Treasury Secretary admitted to Congressman Ryan that the administration prefers to only criticize GOP efforts and therefore, will not put a plan of its own to save Medicare and other troubled programs on the table.
"Today, on behalf of himself and Gov. Romney, Paul Ryan promised, 'We won't duck the tough issues...we will lead!' That commitment - one Paul Ryan is well-qualified by his experience to fulfill - creates a stark and favorable contrast with the increasingly desperate Obama administration."
Regarding the House Budget Committee Chairman's commitment to national security, Brooks added, "Paul Ryan also understands that America must continue to serve as a bulwark against deadly threats in the international arena. He's successfully fought efforts to trim the budget by hollowing out our military, noting that because the consequences of American decline would be so destabilizing, 'a safer world and a more prosperous America go hand-in-hand.'
"And we are pleased that by picking Paul Ryan, Gov. Romney has opted for a running mate who has a record Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, has already praised as 'very supportive' of the Jewish state. Paul Ryan has earned appreciation from pro-Israel voters by rejecting the Obama administration's tactic of pressuring Israel to make concessions its leaders believe will undermine its security - and he rightly insists that a rejection of violence and incitement on the Palestinian side is an essential precondition for a meaningful peace agreement."
Times of Israel, "Romney's running mate Ryan 'very supportive of Israel,' says Ambassador Oren," August 11, 2012.
Tim Geithner to Paul Ryan: "We don't have a definitive solution... We just don't like yours" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s29X6Wm0J1Q
Ad Highlights President Obama's flip-flop on Jerusalem
Washington, D.C. (July 31, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today released a new web ad focused on President Obama's flip-flop on Jerusalem.
The ad, entitled, "Backtrack" highlights then-candidate Barack Obama's statements about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel and contrasts them with White House spokesman Jay Carney's inability to answer a reporter's question: "What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?"
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "Candidate Obama gained support in the pro-Israel community by saying, " The fact is that Jerusalem IS Israel's capital." As President, Obama has backed away from that assurance. This is another broken promise from Barack Obama, one the American people will remember in November. It's another reason why many in the Jewish community have buyer's remorse."
The ad can be seen here.
Background - quotes used in the ad:
Washington, D.C. (July 30, 2012) -- Today the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) released two ads, entitled "Bruce" and "Renie", along with the "Michael" ad previewed last week, in conjunction with the launch of the MyBuyersRemorse.com web site.
MyBuyersRemorse.com is the central online platform for the RJC's unprecedented $6.5 million outreach effort to the Jewish community this year.
The web site will showcase a series of ads in which real people tell real stories of why they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, how they became disillusioned with him, and why they won't vote for him in 2012.
In addition, a key feature of the site will be the ability for visitors to upload their own video testimonials and tell their personal stories of Obama buyer's remorse.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "There is a deep sense of disappointment and unease in the Jewish community over President Obama's responses to our economic crisis, his foreign policy choices, and in particular his policies relating to Israel and the Middle East. Many people, including long-time Democrats, are rethinking their support for Obama in 2008 and we're providing a platform for their voices."
The RJC's $6.5 million outreach campaign will encompass web ads, extensive TV ads, print ads, mail and phone efforts, and a massive grassroots campaign with volunteers on the ground in key communities.
The RJC will periodically release more ads in the coming weeks at http://www.MyBuyersRemorse.com.
Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2012) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) praised Gov. Mitt Romney for remarks today in Jerusalem affirming the vital importance of our nation's alliance with Israel.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "While Gov. Romney has been scrupulous in avoiding any criticism of President Obama while on foreign soil, this galvanizing speech crystallizes the clear choice facing American voters. Plainly, President Romney's approach to our critical alliance with Israel would be a vast improvement over President Obama's.
"Four years ago, then-Likud party leader Netanyahu emphasized to candidate Obama that for Israelis, there was no concern more urgent than the rising nuclear threat posed by Iran. That Prime Minister Netanyahu felt it necessary to make similar remarks today demonstrates how President Obama has missed critical opportunities to address that threat.
"When the Prime Minister told Gov. Romney, 'We have to be honest and say that all the diplomacy and sanctions so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota,' the message is clear: we need a new approach - one that is commensurate with the seriousness of the threat.
"In his speech today, Gov. Romney reiterated a point he's emphasized consistently since he visited Israel in 2007 on a trip RJC was proud to sponsor: 'the conduct of Iran's leaders gives us no reason to trust them with nuclear material.' Prime Minister Netanyahu called special attention to that point to emphasize that saying that Iran can't be allowed 'to have a nuclear weapon' is an inadequate formulation given the nature of the regime and the stakes for Israel.
"Gov. Romney speaks for the vast majority of Jewish Americans - and of all Americans - when he explains why we hold dear a friendship based on shared interests and shared values. We appreciate that he made the effort to travel to Israel to make that statement - and that he's promised to make the Jewish state the destination for his first foreign voyage as President."
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By: RJC Press Office
RJC Releases Preview of "Buyer's Remorse" Ad
Ad series to showcase former Obama voters telling their personal stories
July 25, 2012…In a preview of the Republican Jewish Coalition's upcoming multi-million dollar effort to reach out to Jewish voters, entitled "My Buyer's Remorse", the organization today released "Michael," the first ad in the series.
The ads highlight the real stories of real people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but, because of his failed economic policies and their concern about his handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship, will not be voting for Obama in 2012.
"These folks, in telling their own stories, give voice to the nagging doubts that many in the Jewish community feel about Obama," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.
The preview of the first ad can be seen on the homepage of the RJC's new web site at www.RJCHQ.org and on YouTube.
Monday, July 23, 2012
By: Noah Silverman, RJC Congressional Affairs Director
The upshot of this week's political developments is clear: President Obama's ideology and the way he talks about it are becoming a real problem for his reelection campaign.
By now, everyone who pays attention to politics has heard about the President's controversial remarks last Friday After touting his proposal to hike taxes on small businesses and wealthy individuals, the President observed (at the 33:32 mark):
You know, there are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t—look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
Many commentators have noted that these remarks hew closely to the argument offered by Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in a remarks that were widely circulated on the Internet.
But Obama’s tone may have been even more dismissive of business owners concerns, which leads to what Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake calls "Obama's 'You didn’t build that' problem."
Obama’s team argues that he is pushing for an increase in government funding for programs that are broadly popular.... But the bluntness of his “you didn’t build that” quote is going to obscure those details. After all, Obama was basically addressing business owners directly in an adversarial way. (emphasis added)
John Kass vividly recalls the “government men coming from City Hall” to collect tribute from his father and uncle as they struggled to build their small business - a neighborhood supermarket:
They wanted steaks.
We didn't eat red steaks at home or yellow bananas. We took home the brown bananas and the brown steaks because we couldn't sell them. But the government men liked the big, red steaks, the fat rib-eyes two to a shrink-wrapped package. You could put 20 or so in a shopping bag.
"Thanks, Greek," they'd say.
That was government.
Many Americans have similar impressions - of government more as an impediment to the fulfillment of their ambitions than a help. Many more worry that an expanding government will tip the scales in the wrong direction by saddling taxpayers with ever-higher taxes to pay for ever-growing social programs and debt service and squelching innovation with burdensome regulation.
Obama’s off-the-cuff encomium to the indispensability of government to our fulfillment only begs the questions that are weighing on these Americans' minds.
- Based on what are we to sustain any confidence that a government that squandered the 2009 Stimulus will do better if it sets out on another binge?
- When so many state governments are staggering under the burden of past promises come due, why does the federal government seem more interested in bailing out the most imprudent of them than in addressing its own underfunded promises?
- What limiting principle prevents this rationale from becoming a justification for unending government power and money grabs? If there is none, it’s no exaggeration to say that accepting this argument would leave our traditional notions of property rights and limited government entirely hollowed out.
Liberals like President Obama may have a tough time understanding where Americans who have such concerns are coming from. They’re used to feeling frustrated that government isn’t growing faster.
Their exasperation is evident in the current spasm of saber-rattling over how to deal with the scheduled expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Democrat Senators can’t contain their bewilderment at colleagues - and voters - who would deny them the proceeds from soaking ‘the rich,’ which they see as a politically easy windfall to collect.
Seemingly, their ideological tunnel-vision makes it impossible for them to look at it from the perspective of people like John Kass’s father. If they could, perhaps they’d understand how outrageous it sounds to struggling small business owners when "government men" insist that Americans who produce tax revenue are "doing fine" and it's those who consume revenue who are bearing the brunt of the weakest economic recovery in living memory.
They’d see Democrats whose actions bespeak a dogged determination to "take care of their own," an attitude that makes Democrat politicians' habit of citing true public goods like public safety and roads appear revoltingly cynical.
The Americans whose concerns the President so brusquely belittled hear the indifference and contempt in his words loud and clear. They see through the liberal Democrat shakedown style of politics.
And that's why this has been a bad week for President Obama.