Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Non-Neutral Newt

Newt Gingrich, whose presidential campaign is looking more quixotic every day (he's been reduced to calling up “Kelly Girls” to replace all the staffers who've bailed on him), has at least made one of the required pit stops on the campaign trail – namely a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition. (Yeah, there really is such an organization, believe it or not – they usually have meetings in a single booth at IHOP. But this gathering was in Beverly Hills – where else?) And no one waves the Israeli flag higher than a neocon Republican, no siree! Newt's talking point on this occasion was the real capital of Israel – like the average American gives a damn. According to the AP, “he pledged that if elected president, he would sign an executive order on his first day in office moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.” Well gee, Newt, why not just cut to the chase and declare war on the entire Islamic world – assuming there's anyone left we haven't already started a war with at that point. The problem in Israel is that both sides are equally fanatical. Israel is not the voice of reason it pretends to be, and if the Arabs were all that concerned about Palestinian refugees, they'd have resettled them across the Arab world decades ago rather than leaving them to rot in Gaza and those refugee camps. And of course, both sides claim they have “rights” -- they must have gotten that terminology from us. In the old days, no one worried about “rights” -- it was just that they wanted what they wanted. That was much more wholesome, straightforward, and mentally healthy than this non-stop, morbid obsession with "rights” -- the same obsession that has rendered our domestic political dialogue insipid and moribund.

But in any case, I call to your attention the fact that Newt's first stop on the campaign trail was to reassure Israel of our eternal, undying, and infinitely sacrificial support. This should give one pause when considering his qualifications for the presidency – or those of any other candidate who engages in similar kowtowing, which nearly all of them do.

A quote from his speech is also instructive: “Both Israel and America are at a dangerous crossroads at which the survival of Israel and the safety of the United States hang in the balance.” Well, he has a point – especially if by “the safety of the United States” he means our economic security. Israel could vanish from the Earth tomorrow, and it would not harm a hair on the head of any American (except maybe a few caught on one of Pat Robertson's “holy land tours”). But the price of our continued support for Israel is diplomatic isolation and economic doom – and I don't mean sometime in the future; the process is already underway. So Newt could just as readily be talking about the survival of the United States – but he doesn't want to take the reasoning quite that far, because the resulting conclusions would be just the opposite of the ones he wants to promote.

Well, I'm not overly worried about Newt. He has yet to shake off the tar and feathers the media graced him with back in the “Contract With America” days. The guy is, let's admit, very bright, but he has drunk so deeply of neocon Kool-Aid that he really thinks it makes a difference to the “safety” of the U.S. where Israel's capital is. This is delusional and dangerous – and it will be gratifying to see his campaign crash and burn, which it will eventually. Now if only we could make the same prediction about most of the others...

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