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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Romney, Israel and the Campaign

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Netanyahu and Romney

Mitt Romney’s decision to make a trip to Israel this summer is great politics and even better policy. It communicates to the voters at home and the entire world much more than a dozen speeches could, and the message it sends is very simple: Help is on the way.
Chapter 12 of The Brief Against Obama opens with President Obama’s rightly infamous meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 25, 2010, when the president abruptly rose and left a meeting with the leader of our ally in the world’s most dangerous region with a rude “I’m still around. Let me know if anything changes.”
It is amazing to me how many people know of this incident and want to discuss it as I make the rounds on my book tour. They also know about the president’s May 22, 2011 speech calling for borders “based on the 1967 lines,” just as many of them know of the president’s long-time friendship with anti-Israel radicals like Rashid Khalidi. (The Los Angeles Times continues to sit on the tape of the president’s 2003 toast to Khalidi when the president was a mere state senator because, after all, it is the media’s job to control the information flow to the public.)
The electorate knows, in short, that President Obama is hostile to Israel and disposed to side against it in every dispute and unreliable in any future confrontation with the enemies at its gates, whether it be Hamas or Hezbollah terrorists or the biggest threat of all, Iran.
I have been preparing this past week for interviews with best-selling author Daniel Silva and CBS newsman Daniel Raviv.
Silva’s soon to be released new novel, The Fallen Angel, is an utterly engrossing story that has its its center the history of the Temple Mount.
Raviv and his co-author Yossi Melman have produced in Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars a riveting account of Israel’s secret wars against its enemies from the time of independence up to last week.
Both books serve the same purpose, which is to educate an increasingly inward-turning American public about the looming threat that is Iran. The mullahs have known since 2009 that they have no serious opposition in the White House and have acted accordingly. Romney’s trip is a great message to them as well as the voters at home that the United States will come to the aid of Israel regardless of the hostility of its present president and would likely force even the most reluctant occupant of the Oval Office to stand with Israel in a crisis. Romney’s trip –just like Romney’s position of complete support for Israel throughout the long campaign– has the very useful effect of bucking up this weak president’s resolve and rhetoric, though of course voters shouldn’t be fooled into thinking the Obama of 2012 won’t quickly revert to the Obama of 2009-2011 if he is somehow re-elected.

Yesterday’s news of CNN’s poll of registerer voters in “battleground” states that found Romney ahead by 8% among registered voters was a shock to many MSMers who are still bothering to read national polls that don’t zero in on the key states where the November contest will be decided. Like the debate over who is raising the most money, the polls that keep getting reported as showing the president with a narrow lead miss the forest for the trees: Romney has momentum and is far, far ahead of where Ronald Reagan was at a similar point in 1980 and this election feels very, very much like 1980, with a befuddled and besieged incumbent growing increasingly desperate and obviously panicked.
Romney, in sharp contrast, is relaxed and confident, running a superbly disciplined campaign, raising prodigious amounts of cash an methodically thinking through his choice of running mate while staying inside of the Chicago Gang’s OODA loop with timely responses and strategic advances like the trip to Israel.
As the spasm of outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB v. Sebelius subsides —The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn has a very balanced approach to thinking about the decision this morning, even as the paper also carries an essay on undoing Obamacare by Keith Hennessey, one which recognizes that a Romney win must be accompanied by a GOP Senate or the law will not be repealed– the presidential campaign is returning to center stage after two weeks in which the Supreme Court took over the headlines. All the national polls show an incredibly tight race, and all the electoral college maps put the focus on those dozen or so “battleground states.” (Election Projection which forces states into one column or the other gives President Obama the contest today but also shows the “real map” for Romney quite well.)
I keep asking people what they would have said if today’s state of affairs had been presented to them a year ago? The honest ones admit that Mitt Romney has had one very good year politically and President Obama a very disastrous twelve months. That’s the mega-trend over the past year, and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue. The country is fed up with a weak, indecisive and clueless-on-the-economy-and-the-world president, eager to get back to robust economic growth and an unapologetic leadership of the free world. Romney’s trip to Israel communicates many things, but nothing more clearly than the fact that real change is on the way.

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