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Ilan Mann

The Romney truth telling tour

The more the left recognizes that their traditional base of Jewish and pro-Israel support is rapidly eroding, the more shrilly they cry foul. The rules of the game haven’t changed, nor have the players. Americans overwhelmingly support the state of Israel and its efforts to defend itself from terror; Moral clarity has always been a litmus test for leaders, and those who fail at it are all too eager to decry this or that as taboo.So it was small wonder that Thomas Friedman, the formidable American Olympian in the field of mental gymnastics, attempted to explain why Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel this week was not the smashing success that it appeared to be. The Republicans, you see, are making Israel into a wedge issue (which is, naturally, totally out of bounds when it’s not being done by the left). That doesn’t work with voters; elections are all about choices and contrast, and Romney has credibly staked his ground as the pro-Israel candidate not because he has deviated drastically from the standard American position, but because Barack Obama has, for four years.Friedman criticizes Romney for not taking the time to visit Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian authority, on his trip to Israel, his implication being that Romney should have more equally distributed his attention between one of America’s closest allies and strategic partners, and the non-nation next door, so that he could have better paid undue credence to the corrupt, anti-American thug du jour, who is nominally leading the Palestinian people whilst redirecting international funds to questionable uses, and showing a disconcerting penchant for terror; er- sorry – rather so that he could have advanced the “peace process”. Never mind the fact that his time would have been better and more fruitfully spent at a game of water polo… Read More

Iran can’t do a damn thing against us – yet‏

In 1979, Islamist followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s erstwhile and self-styled “supreme leader,” shocked the world by storming America’s embassy in Tehran and holding 52 American nationals hostage.They managed to rally immense popular support at home, under the slogan “America can’t do a damn thing against us.” The momentum from this brazen and daring act of defiance against the stronger of the world’s two superpowers carried the Ayatollah’s banner in the subsequent political power struggle they fought with non-theocratic politicians and activists.One need not exercise much imagination to internalize the extent of the propaganda victory that the Ayatollah’s forces won with their audacity. Like the Spartans who held the pass at Thermopylae, the Minutemen who scattered the British red coats, and the Israeli forces who triumphed over countless foes in just six days, they had seemingly prevailed over a considerably larger and more powerful force, and the feeble Jimmy Carter who occupied the Oval Office did not seem able, or willing, to do a damn thing against them. Their actions inspired confidence in the otherwise skeptical. Add to the mix a feverish superstition and religious zeal that was, and in many cases still is, a regional affliction, and it’s small wonder that millions of Iranians rallied to the notion that Ayatollah Khomeini’s forces were unstoppable.The truth of the matter is that Iran on her best day could not have dreamed of mustering the military might of even one of America’s aircraft carriers. That is as true today as it was then, but may not be so tomorrow. The Iranian leadership’s oft-bleated fantasies of felling the Great Satan (America) and her little dog (Israel) can seem as harmless as the frothing vitriol of a mad weakling. In reality, America and her allies could make such short work of the Iranian regime… Read More

Romney’s mythical ceiling

Much ado has been kicked-up of late about the supposed ceiling of national Republican support (between twenty and twenty-five percent) that Mitt Romney can expect to enjoy this primary season.In the lead up to his victory in New Hampshire (which, in tandem with his Iowa win, was unprecedented for a non-incumbent candidate) the mythical ceiling was the favourite bludgeon of the scrappy Newt Gingrich, who was deftly dispatched from front-runner status by the impressive Romney machine. “How can you take seriously somebody who, with that amount of time and that kind of money, flattens out at 25 percent?” Gingrich mused on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown.Well, for starters, those candidates who don’t take Mr. Romney seriously have a habit of ending up as “also-ran” footnotes in his future memoirs; you can find them in the index under “Former House Speaker,” “Tea Party Darling,” “Former Texas Governor,” and “Pizza Magnate.”Whilst everyone and their uncle caws about Santorum’s stunning come-from-behind statistical-tie for 1st place in Iowa, the two campaigns ought to be given the evaluation they deserve. Certainly Romney outspent Santorum by some ungodly factor, but much of his money went into neutralizing Gingrich and Perry, thereby clearing the way for Santorum’s surge. Perry spent a whopping $480 per vote, more than the combined total of all other candidates’ per-vote spending.Romney ran a wholesale campaign, while Santorum favoured a tactile, retail level ground-game. Romney spent approximately 8 days in Iowa in the year leading up to the Caucus. Santorum held over 250 events in the state, practically shunning the rest of the country.Perhaps most astonishingly, Romney managed to capture 25% of the vote at a caucus where six of every ten caucus-goers self identified as an Evangelical Christian. This is the same Romney who has been accused of being soft on abortion, a cause for which… Read More

A millionaire’s letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,It has recently come to my attention that you will be ending the Bush-era tax cuts for those earning $250,000 annually, and significantly raising taxes on millionaires like myself.If I understand correctly, the revenue generated from these tax increases will go directly into paying down our fourteen trillion dollar debt.Well, speaking frankly, Mr President, I couldn’t be happier.So we’ll have a few hundred thousand dollars less in our pockets; big deal.See, I have 3 kids, and I don’t want to stick them with the debt when I kick the bucket.Sure, my daughter Jaclyn will be disappointed when we cancel her “Sweet 16” party later this year, but she’ll learn a valuable lesson: when the going gets tough, we all have to tighten our belts.It’s not too late to cancel our reservation at the banquet hall, fire the catering company, fire the band, and tell everyone to hold off on buying all those gifts.Her friend’s parents will probably have the same idea anyway.I’m sure all those people will be fine without our business any way. After all, how much of a banquet hall’s business can possibly depend on wealthy people throwing parties?Sure, a million bucks isn’t what it used to be, but there are tons of ways that we can make up the shortfall in our family’s budget:We hardly need our cottage in Martha’s Vineyard, and our annual vacation to see my wife’s parents in California. We’ll just skype them instead.How can we even think of taking that Alaskan cruise vacation while there are Americans on food stamps? It’s unconscionable. We’ll stay home and play charades instead. After all, the tourism industry is having no trouble staying afloat.And that private school that I’ve been paying to send my 3 kids to? There’s $30,000 a year right there!They’ll get just… Read More