When Weakness in a Candidate is a Presidential Strength

This column was originally published by The Times of Israel.

Mitt Romney is a bad self-promoter. The reasons why are also reasons he’ll be a fine president.

How bad a self-promoter is Mitt Romney? Pretty bad, when you think about it. Romney has lived in the public eye to varying degrees his entire life. He’s run numerous campaigns, served in public office, and is completing his second run for the presidency. Still, there is much of his life still hidden from the public — so much that reveals incredible decency and character. Publicizing that information could not only confer tremendous political advantages on Romney, but would destroy the cartoonish image of him his opponents have cultivated. Yet Romney instinctively keeps that information private, refusing to glorify his personal heroics for political gain.

Yes, Romney’s earnest character and modest personality make him a terrible self-promoter; but while that character makes him a weaker candidate than he might be, it will also make him a stronger president.

 

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Romney Wins in a Landslide (at Least in Israel): What it Means

On the election map, the State of Israel is not just blue and white; it is solidly red.
The Presidential election results are in.  Well, at least the votes from Americans in Israel.  Not one to keep readers in suspense, I’ll reveal the most important numbers up front: Gov. Mitt Romney received 85%–85%!–of the vote; President Obama managed only 14.3%.  This,  according to exit polling just released by iVoteIsrael, the non-partisan group promoting and facilitating voting by U.S. citizens currently in Israel.  Their statistics reveal some fascinating results.  More importantly, these results have implications for the outcome of next week’s election.  (Again, not to keep you in suspense: those implications favor the Republicans.) Continue reading

From Under the Bus: A Response to Efraim Halevy and the NYTimes

This column was originally published in The Times of Israel

Although President Obama has his own record — and what a record it is — regarding Israel, Halvey has nary a word to say about it.  Furthermore, Governor Mitt Romney has a sterling record of support for Israel, and a staunchly pro-Israel foreign policy team; yet Halevy deems this unworthy of comment. What kind of analysis of the election ignores entirely any analysis of the actual candidates or their records?

Efraim Halevy, the former director of Israel’s Mossad, has penned a most peculiar column published in The New York Times.  Halevy maintains that “no Democratic president has ever strong-armed Israel on any key national security issue,” and that Republican presidents were the ones who have thrown Israel “under the bus.”

Halevy used to be a serious man.  But his unserious analysis is as incomplete as it is irrelevant. In fact, it amounts to historical malpractice.     Continue reading

Obama’s Improved Debate Performance: What The Pundits Are Missing

 
It’s not about who wins a debate; it’s about who wins the election.  And this debate, whoever “won,” actually helps Mitt Romney’s election chances a lot more than it helps President Obama’s.
Let the race to over-analyze the debate begin!  What’s that?  Oh, it seems I’m a bit late—instant analysis and spin were already in full force within seconds of the debate’s completion.  Instead, I’ll have to analyze the over-analysis of the debate that blankets today’s news coverage.   Continue reading

The Surprising Israeli Takeaway From the Presidential Debate

Precisely because Israel-based viewers are less engaged in details of this campaign than voters in America.  They are, therefore, arguably a better reflection of the less-engaged and still-undecided voters in America than the hardened political junkies whose impressions of the candidates were formed long ago.
The first Obama-Romney debate is over, and has been followed by predictable torrents of over-dissection and over-analysis.  So, why add more?  Because reactions in Israel may be surprisingly instructive in projecting the likely impact of this debate on the coming election.  Americans in Israel, as well as native-Israelis, make for an interesting group with which to measure the effect of the debate, especially on the impression made by Governor Romney. Continue reading

How not to read presidential polls: The increasing absurdity of media reports

This column was originally published by the Times of Israel.

While various statistical methods may be sound, all polling analysis depends on the quality of assumptions and data inputted.  Garbage in, garbage out: skewed data inputs lead to skewed poll results, no matter how brilliant any particular statistical methodology.  

At first, it was just a trickle, a misguided throw-away line here and there, easily ignored.  Then it started picking up momentum, showing up in one Israeli commentary after another.  And now, it is conventional wisdom in the Israeli press and public that the U.S. election is already over, that polls show President Obama’s reelection is inevitable, and that Republican Mitt Romney might as well throw in the towel now.
Of course, this is nonsense.  It is based on the most superficial reading of the most superficial polls.  Continue reading

Tampa Journal: Observations from the Republican Convention

This column was originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Israel is a hot topic here, and support for Israel (and criticism of President Barack Obama’s treatment of Israel) seems to run across the board. I’ve done radio interviews here with hosts who are more enthusiastic Zionists than I am–and I live there.

These are people with an attachment to Israel that runs deep, and they are excited discuss it. There is no better opening line in this group than saying, “Hi, I’m Abe, from Republicans Abroad Israel.”

It is fascinating to attend this year’s Republican National Convention as a representative of Republicans Abroad Israel. Continue reading