On December 3, the Republican Jewish Coalition hosted the current GOP presidential contenders at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building in Washington D.C.. Each candidate had about 20 minutes to speak on their foreign policy plan for America.
At this event, I’m wondering how each of these candidates would handle foreign policy questions and share some of their knowledge on their vision of America’s foreign policy in 2016 and beyond. It takes more than being a one or two term governor or being on a Foreign Relations committee in the Senate. It takes more than rehearsing and regurgitating information to impress a crowd, especially one that is focused on the state of Israel. Therefore, if you want financial and political support from this conservative Jewish Coalition (which could mean wealthy donors), be careful what you say and how you say it and PLEASE don’t think or say any of these things.
Rick Santorum, who many at first glance may not realize is still running for the Republican nomination in 2016, could not differentiate between Bar Mitzvah and Ba Mitzvah. Should Rick be given a mulligan as many Catholics would stumble on that distinction?
Even though many political reporters would say the Senator from Kentucky is strong on foreign policy, when he heard Jordan discussed at the event, Rand Paul thought they were describing one of the greatest basketball player of all-time and not a neighbor of Israel. He also lost points when he didn’t scream to the audience that we should tear the Iranian deal to shreds.
Former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, with his ‘aw shucks’ last name, couldn’t find the land of milk and honey on a Middle Eastern map. Perhaps he’s been studying older biblical maps instead of the latest geo-political ones.
Carly Fiorina thought US had given $135 billion in aid to Israel since WWII when in fact it was approximately $121 billion. Why would she exaggerate like that or even bring up such a topic? Perhaps she should have mentioned she’d like to see the U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would be symbolic thing to say and do and may differentiate her from the top of the field.
Jeb! didn’t realize that Ari and Saul were popular Jewish names of men. One thing perhaps he got right that night, he didn’t mention his controversial advisor, James Baker.
Even though Chris Christie often has a voracious appetite, when visiting Israel, he didn’t realize how easy it is to find some of the best Falafel sandwiches in the world on the busiest streets of Tel Aviv.
The Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz did not realize the great designer Ralph Lauren was originally named Ralph Lipshitz. Once Senator Cruz found out about his gaffe, he thought maybe the name change occurred so users were not forced to swear when using the designer’s original last name.
Marco Rubio was chastised because he mixed up the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. He also couldn’t determine which continent Israel resides in? Europe? Africa? Asia? He shouldn’t feel too bad — many Americans are awful at Geography (and may not care beyond Canada and Mexico).
Donald Trump got in trouble with the Jewish organization because he didn’t hire union plumbers on several of his towers. Wait, is there such a thing as a Jewish plumber? I know there are plumbing companies owned by Jewish people but not aware if actual Jews work that trade.
While courting Jewish donors, the former governor of Ohio, John Kasich, was unaware that the nickname of Israel’s Prime Minister was ‘Bibi’ (Benjamin Netanyahu).
Ben Carson, who some may same struggles with foreign policy leading up to the Republican primaries is trying a new brand. He has suggested that he might be an African Jew. On the initial look of things, he is a doctor and quite familiar with DNA so perhaps he should take a test which could place him on top or on bottom or the group depending on the results of the test.
Lindsey Graham has stopped blasting Obama for his cankerous relationship with the Prime Minister of Israel. Without that constant blaming Obama for many foreign policy blunders, some conservatives Jews are beginning to wonder about Mr. Graham’s gravitas and may shy way of supporting him, especially on foreign affairs.
Jim Gilmore (who’s he?), inferred when speaking to the group about the member’s strong business and banking savvy which raised a few eyebrows. Regardless of how true that may be, some attendees quietly whispered that is material not to be included in such a public forum.