Shall We Consider Mitt?


The Republican Jewish Coalition’s Winter Meeting took place in Las Vegas April 1-3. While visiting my good friend Esmeralda Whitechurch, I stopped to check it out. Since Mitt Romney announced formation of his 2012 Presidential exploratory committee on Monday, it seems logical to start by sharing some of his talk and my impressions of it.

For starters I’m inclined to focus on his discussion of Obama’s foreign policy and specifically his criticisms of Obama’s handling of the middle east. More later on the rest of his talk and the winter meeting in general.

Overall, my impressions of Romney were more positive than I’d expected. I’ve heard it observed that many voters find it tough to warm up to Romney because he seems more like the guy who’d fire you than the guy you’d grab a beer with. I can relate to that, but in this setting Romney came across as much more relaxed, jovial, and easily straightforward than he has typically seemed in the past. He opened his remarks, for instance, by joking with Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, and Jewish Republican, who hosted the affair at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, one of his properties, “Thank you to the Adelsons for opening your home; nice li’l place you’ve got here.”

Not a half bad opening line – and delivered with surprisingly good comic timing from a guy who often looks like he needs to get his hair mussed up a bit (sidenote: it is an outstanding head of hair for a guy his age).

Romney talked about how, since the 1940’s, U.S. foreign policy has confronted evil. Doing so required acknowledging good guys and bad guys. “We would link our arms with friends around the world because we can be stronger united than alone,” Romney said.

Obama, in his estimation, has failed to recognize the value in this simple and straightforward approach.

Regarding uprisings in Iran after the 2009 “election” of Ahmadinejad, Romney objected to Obama’s sluggish response, saying, “instead of cheering these people on he had nothing to say.”

During Obama’s inaugural address to the United Nations, Romney noted, Obama “castigated Israel for settlements and said nothing about Hamas launching thousands of rockets into Israel.”

Of Obama’s mindset in general, Romney said, “He is following this belief we all have common interests…but some people want to oppress other people. We are not like those people and we don’t have common interests with them; we have common interests with people who love and want freedom.”

He also said, “I am dismayed hearing our Secretary of State characterize Mr. Assad as a “reformer.”

He characterized President Obama as a poor negotiator.

“The consequences of not understanding negotiations” on Obama’s part have been “extraordinarily devastating,” according to Romney.

“The President’s inexperience in negotiations contributes to less than positive developments on the Israeli/Palestinian negotiating front. He wanted to show the world he was impartial. But you want to start a negotiation locked arms with your allies. [Instead,] he gave the Palestinians a signal they could get a better deal [by not negotiating].”

Simultaneously, Romney contends, Obama’s adoption of a neutral stance was a disincentive to Israel.

“The Israelis …pulled out of Lebanon, and Iran moved in [through their surrogates Hezbollah], they pulled out of Gaza and Iran moved in [through their surrogates Hamas]. So [they are thinking], if we pull out of the West Bank, it could be existential…so the only way we can do this is to know the U.S. stands with us.”

More to come.

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