Oy Vey! Nancy Pelosi Wants to Protect Me from Being Exploited
Nancy Pelosi is concerned about my being exploited by the Republicans. Actually, people try to exploit me every day. Powerful government officials in Nigeria -- the defense minister, the vice president, their sisters and aunts and stepsons -- write me regularly, asking me to help them hide in my bank account $10 million or so of their hard-earned savings. (Admittedly, they do offer to let me keep half or more of it eventually, after they safely arrive in my neighborhood.) Automobile makers foist runway models on me, promising me that if only I trade in my dependable and extremely loyal Honda Accord that dates back to a time when Accords were called "compacts," and instead drive the car in the commercial, these runway models will be unable to keep their hands off me. Beer brewers promise me the same, if only I buy their advertised suds.
As an Orthodox rabbi, I really do not need that, even if they know how to make chulent. And then there are the other exploiters, closer to home, like the people who cannot find my synagogue but know exactly how to find me when they need pro bono legal representation.
It therefore came as something of a relief, at first, to learn that Nancy Pelosi was ready to protect me from being exploited. Speaking to an interviewer with Bloomberg last Friday, Pelosi stated in challenged grammatical tempo: "You know, as many of the Republicans are using Israel as an excuse, what they really want are tax cuts for the wealthy. So Israel, that can be one reason they put forth. ... That's how [Jews] are being exploited. And they're smart people. They follow these issues. They have to know the facts."
As it happens, I am a Jew. Although flattered that she wants to protect me from exploitation -- or is it my half of the Nigerian defense minister's $10 million that she is after? -- I take issue with a key premise at the core of Ms. Pelosi's statements. Alas, contrary to her patronizing compliment, Jews are not "smart people," and certainly not when it comes to politics. Yes, Jews are studious. Jews are fastidious. There is something about Jewish culture, as Mitt Romney has noticed, that teaches us to respond to adversity by working harder to excel, and to deal with the hurt of bigotry by learning to find humor in the mundane. But as a group who voted 78 percent for Obama in 2008, and who repeatedly have bullet-voted for candidates from that same Democratic Party, even when that party offers no reason for such lockstep devotion and actually promotes an agenda that threatens several of our vital concerns as Americans, one thing that cannot be said about us, without commentary, is that "they're smart people."
Yes, Jews in Hollywood are smart enough to know to stop shooting movies in California in order to avoid the high tax rates that their Hollywood Democrats have imposed on everyone else's businesses. In this way, Hollywood moguls and entertainers of Jewish orientation are as smart as all the non-Jews in their circles who similarly are blessed with being among the country's richest. They know that high taxation drives capital to other states and to other shores. The Beatles figured it out. Madonna figured it out. They have figured it out. After they mouth platitudes to taxing the rich, they abandon Hollywood.
It seems fascinating that Rep. Pelosi has us Jews on her radar now. Then again, she always has had a sensitive and deeply compassionate eye out for the exploited. For example, when Barack Obama and Harry Reid -- and she -- pushed ObamaCare through the two Houses of Congress, she knew the devastating toll that her legislation would take. For example, it wiped out the careers of many loyal Democrats in Congress, who voted as Pelosi demanded of them, only to lose their jobs when voters outside San Francisco shellacked them in November 2010.
Moreover, as small businesses cried out to the Heavens and pleaded for help to be spared the exploitative ravages of ObamaCare, Pelosi was among the first to stand for the exploited, even wielding her influence as then-speaker of the House to spare several exploited small business from Obama's tax mandate. Among the 204 formal governmental waivers approved in April 2011, singling out particular companies across the United States for special protection from ObamaCare, some 20% were businesses based in Pelosi's congressional district.
These included 38 upscale restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels. For example, Boboquivari's restaurant, which offers $59 porterhouse steaks and filet mignon at $39, got a waiver to stay afloat. Other waivers went to two of San Francisco's most gorgeous hotels, Campton Place and Hotel Nikko. Likewise, one of the most exclusive spas in San Francisco, the red-hot Infusion Lounge nightclub, and other ritzy upscale businesses in Pelosi's district were given waivers. She protected them all from exploitation, much as she now offers to safeguard America's Jews. Meanwhile, Obama's Department of Health and Human Services also approved 31 union waivers and 27 waivers for favored health care and drug companies at that time. Obama's and Pelosi's cronies would not be among the exploited.
Now, they're smart people -- they know Nancy Pelosi.
By October 2011, there already were 1,800 waivers granted from ObamaCare. Even McDonald's qualified. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it seems that exploitation is in the pocket of the beholden.
The rhetoric of exploitation is part of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid social engineering lingo. It is the lingo of those who believe that we the people are not intelligent enough to fend for ourselves, so we need government to protect us, to seize the fruits of successful people's labors -- after all, "[they] didn't build that" -- and to redistribute the wealth to others. Government to feed us with food stamps. We are "entitled." Government to pay us with welfare. Another "entitlement." Government to fabricate artificial jobs for us until government has no money left to compensate us further. Government to protect us from unworthy teachers being paid less than master teachers. Government to protect us from drinking too much soda. Government to protect the world from overheating by limiting the amount of oil we can produce at home, forcing us to buy it instead from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and from other despotic and barbaric tyrannies who produce their oil with none of the environmental safeguards adopted by American industry. Government to make our fuel cleaner by requiring that it be made with corn, leading to exacerbated famine in Africa.
As a Jew who plans to vote for Mitt Romney, I am far less concerned about being exploited by Republicans than by San Francisco Democrats who want to protect me from my own ignorance. I do not need Wasserman-Schultz protecting me. Let her go protect someone else. Particularly during this week, when I saw the juxtaposition of Mitt Romney saying in the firmest unequivocal way that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, while the Obama State Department and White House spokespeople just cannot say what the capital of Israel is, I know where my heart lies, even though I am in the farthest corner of the West.
Nor am I alone. Obama may carry more Jewish votes this November than will Romney -- as noted above, Jews are not as smart in politics as they may be in other fields of endeavor -- but this will not be a 78-percent year. Not this time. No way. I know this, and I know it better than Nancy Pelosi does, because some of my best friends...
Dov Fischer, adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, is a columnist for several online magazines and is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County. He blogs at rabbidov.com.