In the Arena

Senority

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The New York Times gives Romney adviser Dan Senor front page treatment today, which gives me a chance to praise Dan’s book Startup Nation, and damn his boss, Mitt Romney, for yet another example of intellectual slovenliness.

Senor’s book is about the remarkable growth of Israel’s high-tech sector. He argues that the culture of Israel’s military–intense and yet informal, iconoclastic, creative and entrepreneurial–helps prepare its leaders for business success. This is a strong argument, and Senor laces it with case history after case history. (I’ve written about how the changes in training that David Petraeus introduced transformed the culture of the U.S. Army in ways that will benefit the rest of society as our troops leave the service and become leaders in their communities.)

But Senor’s thesis has absolutely nothing to do with Palestinians. Zilch. Zero. And Romney’s attempt to compare and contrast Israel with Palestine is simply, well, stupid…as is his attempt to invoke Jared Diamond’s excellent Guns, Germs and Steel. As others have pointed out, the relative poverty in the Palestinian territories has an awful lot to do with the Israeli occupation and the diseased Palestinian political culture, obsessed and divided over how to deal with the Israeli reality, that has resulted. But it’s important to distinguish Palestinian political culture from its business and professional culture.

Indeed, Palestinians are widely known, and often disliked, by their Arab brethren for their entrepreneurial ability–as well as for the disproportionate number of professionals, especially doctors and lawyers, in their ranks. Palestinians, including Yasser Arafat’s father, owned the construction companies that built the Gulf States. They dominate the business class in Jordan. And there is good cultural reason for that: Like the Jews, the Palestinians have been a displaced people. Business and, especially, professional skills are portable. They don’t depend so much on land as farming and ranching does.

If  the intellectually flatulent John Podhoretz and other members of the neocon cohort weren’t so blinded by hate and pride, they would recognize the ironic similarities between Jews and their semitic cousins, the Palestinians. Certainly, the neocons’ extremely unJewish tendency to dehumanize the “other” is obnoxious and embarrassing. It is certainly true that Palestinian political culture has been a disaster; the Palestinian leadership, especially Arafat, deserves the lion’s share of blame for the failure of the peace process over the past 40 years. But Israel has become increasingly desensitized to the humanity of its neighbors during that time–and especially in recent years, as Salam Fayyad built a respectable government on the West Bank and terrorist incidents have diminished markedly.

Romney’s ignorance of these details, and his willingness to associate himself with extremist grotesques like Sheldon Adelson, raise serious questions about his ability to conduct a wise and measured foreign policy.

50 comments
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brooklin352
brooklin352

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pneogy
pneogy

'If  the intellectually flatulent John Podhoretz

and other members of the neocon cohort weren’t so blinded by hate and

pride, they would recognize the ironic similarities between Jews and

their semitic cousins, the Palestinians.'

I agree wholeheartedly with Joe Klein's characterization of Podhoretz and his neocon cohort.  But then I have to scratch my head in bewilderment at Klein's fulsome praise for Senor who distinguished himself mainly by carrying water for the policies advocated by the same neocons.  As Chandrasekharan summarized Senor's achievements - "a masterful job of spinning the media."  If Senor's book deserves praise, his role in selling Bush's war is surely part of the context.

Marry
Marry

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Michael M. T. Henderson
Michael M. T. Henderson

Romney is motivated more by politics than by analysis. His puerile and embarrassing comment comparing Israelis to Palestinians was, I believe, an appeal for Jewish votes in the US as well as from Israelis holding dual citizenship. Unless I'm mistaken, he offered no opinion on Israel's continued  illegal occupation of Palestinian land, but he certainly will if President Obama says anything more about the 1967 borders.

The ignorance Romney showed on his foreign tour was embarrassing, but I doubt that that will cost him many votes. More effective will be (a) his continuing refusal to release his tax returns, and (b) the increasing awareness that he wants to become president in order to lower his own minuscule taxes (zero? Less than zero? How 'bout those humongous IRAs?) - and to raise mine. I'm a retired university professor, never making more than 50K a year, now living mostly on Social Security. I don't think I should be paying higher taxes than Mitt, but evidently I already am - and he wants to make the difference even more in his favor.

On second thought, Mitt, keep those older tax returns in petto as long as possible; it just helps your opponents to speculate even more about your tax havens and other evasions. As the fan of the at-bat team yelled, when the pitching coach came out to yank the pitcher who was being shelled, "Leave him in - he's doing all right!"

Futureinjeopardy
Futureinjeopardy

Why can't people just understand that the land is historically Israels.  They let the Palestinancs have it but then half the middle east thought it would be great to attack Israel.  Israel one and took the land to help protect themselves.  Palestinians have many rights and freedoms, but they are living on land that rightfully belongs to Israel.

La_Randy
La_Randy

Given your logic, whose land are we "Americans" living on?

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

What a delightfully refreshing piece. I would like to draw a comparison between this and the Iraqi war. The American war mongers, Cheney and his pansy were ill informed about the country. They went in assuming they could just trash the place, desplace Saddam and be hailed as leader. No idea that Saddam's regime was repressive because he was a scholar of that part of the world.

   

Yes, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of them have made more money beyond their wildest dreams and secured wealth for generations in their family. However, history will NOT judge these men kindly. They destroyed the very fabric of a country under the pretext of searching for WMD whilst their true motive was to enrich themselves.

As for Rove and the other people who believe they control and decide who leads America, and when elected, they direct him on what he is meant to do-enter Romney.

They will also be judged harshly by history. No Rove is not a myth, he is real, ruthless, arrogant and uncaring. He thinks he knows how to sway the small minds of the populace. But he is no victor. History will be taught. People will speak the truth and these men will be revealed for the destruction they have wrought on the political process in the greatest country in the world.

As for Senor and the other Hawks who believe the Palestinians are not a people and should be treated and described with derision. They might have their say now, but again, I do not think people continue to drink the hemlock of stupidity forever.

I was alarmed when I saw the roster of billionaires putting all their economic might behind the election of Romney. Then I listened to Romney spitting out the same war mongering prevarications that marked the "war loving, never having fought in any war", Cheney and Rumsfeld.

I know the focus of America is on the economy, but I do hope that people factor in the harm that Romney's total embrace of the mistakes made during the Bush years, will cause people pause. This "anything but Obama, do not look at Romney" soup, the Republican party is serving us (Registered Republicans) is quite frankly like eating food made out of the dirty underwear of a dog. It is unpalatable.

The elections are about choice but not just about economic vision but the future of America and its place in a changing world.

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...     

  

filmnoia
filmnoia

I hear what you are saying, and while I agree with you 110%, you will have to admit that Rove and NBC's David Gregory made a nice singing and dancing duo during one of those incestuous correspondent's dinners. It may even have been the same function when GWB made a joke about the search for weapons of mass destruction, where upon the amoral MSM yucked it up (I wonder if Klein was among them). Truly one of the most disgusting moments of our 8 year nightmare with these war criminals.

apr2563
apr2563

Sorry Joe but I have closed my mind to Dan Senor.  Until he takes responsibility for the loss of 1000s of lives and billions of dollars in Iraq and admits his allegiance to the worst of the neo-con war mongering, chicken hawks:  Kristol, Kagan, Cheney, Wolfowitz...He was Paul Bremer's gofer.  For God's sake he approved torture.

It seems as long as a person is a Wa insider he can be forgiven anything.

Now Joe, read Peter Beinart's take:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/a...

Why Dan Senor is Wrong

filmnoia
filmnoia

Ah c'mon, but gee, you're talking about one of Joe's friends here.

squarebird
squarebird

I'll hold my nose and vote for Ronmey anyway, but...  Joe Klein is dead-on correct here.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

 I hate that hold nose nonsense. What do you mean. Romney is an awful choice. Do you think it is justified to vote against Obama, even though from past records, it is evident Romney is 10 times worse a leader than Obama could ever be?????

He is not the first super rich guy to run for office, but he one of the worst. He cannot help the middle class because he does not know them. So how can he do anything? He is clearly and brazenly being ushered in as a PUPPET for the Bush era policies, and you hold your nose to vote for him.

I suggest you chop of your legs too, and while you are at it, close your eyes. You should not vote if you are voting for a STINKING, ANYTHING BUT OBAMA vote. 

Your remarks are infuriating. Did you live in MA or know anyone who did, when Romney was governor????? It was awful. Even in the midst of a thriving economy, he did not show ANY of his so called business acumen in helping us. He was disconnected, rich, entitled and extremely arrogant. 

He will not release his taxes because even though he KNEW it would be expected of him, he treats the populace like he treats his serfs and treated his dog, no respect, no regard.

So if you will be voting for someone because you loathe Obama, then keep it to yourself.

America needs informed voters who have some hope and excitment about the man who will occupy the highest political office in the world.

Get a LIFE!

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...  

Diane V. McLoughlin
Diane V. McLoughlin

For what passes as 'measured discourse' with regard to Israel in the corporate press, this article is pretty good.  Slanted toward the occupying status quo; inclined to blame the Palestinian victims; but still, not bad.  

Missing in the piece is the tidbit that Romney hasn't actually got the nomination thingy sewed up quite yet. The real political giant as well as one-term governor Romney's opponent, is twelve-term congressman Ron Paul:  

'Congressman Ron Paul's Speech Against Iran Sanctions'; (Aug. 1, 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... outrageous vote fraud and other political dirty tricks by embeds in the Republican Party system is going to go down in history - with names and dates, one might add. It's not too late to do the right thing, Preibus.  Shut down the shenanigans before it hits the courts (and it's headed there.) He won the votes and the delegates. Place Ron Paul's name on the ballot in Tampa.http://mcloughlinpost.com/Bankruptcy-... 

Diane V. McLoughlin
Diane V. McLoughlin

Aside, kudos:  My original post above was simply to link to my own op ed. An anonymous TIME editor took the time to read what I wrote and then inserted the highlights of my argument above - brilliantly, I would just like to note. Thanks.

Pam Irwin
Pam Irwin

" extremist grotesques like Sheldon Adelson"

Maybe the best description of Adelson amp; his ilk I've ever seen!

filmnoia
filmnoia

What is it about casino owners Adelson and Trump. They both have really bad hair

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Joey Klein laments about how Romney points out the obvious in cultural differences among people.  

But in Joe Klein's world, as well as most liberals, they want an all inclusive "no culture" open society.  One that everyone takes credit for the work of the few.  In Joey's ideal world, everyone is equal and everyone pulls the same load up the hill.  However in reality, that's not the case.  

Many people are lazy.  They feed off the success of others waiting for handouts and bread crumbs to survive off of.  A society built upon this type of mentality (USSR) will untimely fail.  What does build great societies and culture, capitalism.  Free market enterprise.  Something which is so foreign to the liberal minds like Joey Klein they cannot and refuse to grasp the concept.  

As Barry Soetoro-Obama pushes this country ever more close to the European socialized system of Government and Economics, we too will fall victim to these unsustainable programs.  

Time to chose America.  Do you want to be dependent upon the Government and a slave to them?  Or, do you want to have your own destiny and freedom within your own grasp?

Time to chose.  Time to vote Barry Soetoro-Obama out of office.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

 After I read your piece, I immediately knew what you were. No teeth, overalls, tobacco chewing and intellectual loathing unthinking dweeb!

Yeah, red neck shows might be funny on TV to some, but in politics it makes anyone using those unsupportable "wealth of a few" nonsense, seem, and pardon my bluntness, extremely common. Very simple minded.

I will try and skip over your comments in the future. They remind me of Tom and his dog Tim in the Junkyard. They smelled bad, talked nonsense and swear night and day that we are taking the money from the rich. Since he lives an impecunious existence and wallows in abject poverty, I would have thought, his hatred of paucity of intellect might be overcome by his dire situation.

Instead, he talks just like you.

Is this you Tom? The dirty man with the no teeth and bad dog.

Read a book Tom and sleep without all that ammunition. No, Obama is not coming to take your guns and em emm your dog.  :)

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...  

 

jsfox
jsfox

Where do you come up with this silliness or does your fevered brain just make it up?

It is just  factually false on so many levels as to be almost performance art.

VaughanThomas
VaughanThomas

Your use of belittling names mars your post as juvenile/sophomoric/immature. I don't like posts that belittle Mitt Romney's name either.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

One that everyone takes credit for the work of the few,

Better than the situation we have now, where the few (such as Romney) take the wealth produced by the many.

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

The only wealth you have Dan Bruce is the wealth of BS you spew forth on this website.

apr2563
apr2563

LiberalLies:  I am overwhelmed by your sophistication and erudition.  Where did you learn to be so intellectually confident?  Morning recess or afternoon recess?

destor23
destor23

Romney's argument about "culture" comes right out of Senor having his ear and, I have to tell you that even if it isn't in his book, Senor has spoken about this.  I was at a book launch party for Start Up Nation and during Senor's talk he mentioned the economic results of Israel compared to the Palestinian territories.  I remember this quite clearly because my wife and I found the notion offensive.

jmac
jmac

Senor's ear:  ". . . an advocate of neoconservative thinking that has sought to push presidents to the right for years on Middle East policy. (His sister, Wendy Senor Singers, runs the Jerusalem office of the AIPAC, an influential lobbying organization. . . . At the start of the Iraq war, Mr. Senor served as the spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, often delivering rosy accounts of the war's progress to reporters whose on-the-ground view of the crisis there was anything but."  

filmnoia
filmnoia

Joe grovels to Senor since they are all part of the DC beltway media elite. Unless you're kissing behinds it makes it kind of hard to look  at that other person around the punch bowl on the DC party circuit.

sigaba
sigaba

"Joe grovels to Senor since they are all part of the DC beltway media elite. "

you know he might just like the book.

Apply Occam's Razor: (Option 1) Dan Senor writes book about subject Joe Klein has a lot of knowledge of, comes to interesting conclusions that agree with his background knowledge. (Option 2) Joe Klein is a systematic hippocrite about everything he claims to believe and is happy to write thousands of words under his name for the sole purpose of impressing a minor Republican nomenklatura, thus getting invited to Georgetown parties.

reflectionephemeral
reflectionephemeral

As to who is to blame, I agree with every word Megan McArdle wrote here: "To an outsider, it looks as if Israel is continuing and deepening the occupation because 1) it can 2) it feels justified by a whole lot of past history 3) it’s working right now.  These things may all be true, but that still doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  That exact reasoning is how an awful lot of companies and marriages drive themselves into the ditch.  And like [Jeffrey Goldberg, who had just written, "I think we’re only a few years away, at most, from a total South-Africanization of this issue."] I’m afraid that this is what Israel is doing.  If there’s no way that this can end well, then the wise thing to do is to change course, no matter how risky that may be."

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Excellent points.

sacredh
sacredh

"Romney’s ignorance of these details, and his willingness to associate himself with extremist grotesques like Sheldon Adelson, raise serious questions about his ability to conduct a wise and measured foreign policy."

.

Throw in Mitt hiding money in Switzerland and offshore accounts, a disaster of a foreign tour, refusing to release tax returns and an innate ability to come across as an out-of-touch elitist even when trying to appear as a common man and you have a good picture of who Mitt really is. 

jmac
jmac

Jared Diamond on Romney misrepresenting his views in 'Guns, Germs, and Steel':

"Mitt Romney may become our next president.   Will he continue to espouse one-factor explanations for multi-causal problems, and fail to understand history and the modern world?  If so , he will preside over a declining nation squandering its advantages of location and history."  

As more and more Demint/Rand Pauls  make it into the Senate, the answer is yes. 

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Mitt probably would’ve felt more at home if he had limited his tour to France and all countries where he parks his money, like Switzerland. That wouldn't have helped with his elitism problem, though, there's no hope there.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

 Many people do not see a problem with Romney's lack of connection to the masses. They do not understand the unsupportable connections he tries to make between his venture capitalist experience and governance.

Chopping up companies and enriching the wealthy means that your mind set is that the employees are dispensable and irrelevant. Its all about profit. Private sector, that's good but not for the masses, not for America. Sadly, many people are buying into this unsupportable extrapolation that Romney continues to tout.

Sickening.   

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

superlogi
superlogi

And the occupation of Palestine has an awful lot to do with Palestine's leadership calling and acting for the destruction of Israel.  It's hard to be preoccupied with someone else's demise and at the same time increasing your own success economically or otherwise.  To suggest it doesn't play a part , is  what I call intellectual slovenliness.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

superlogi,

What you don't realize and what Joe is trying to point out is that the Palestinians are the most entrepreneurial of all of the Arab tribes.  If you look at Arab professionals in this country, they are either Lebanese or Palestinian.  While I agree that Arafat was a kleptocrat, Abbas is a technocrat and Fayyad worked for the World Bank and is prime minister due to Israeli approval.  In fact, Hamas is demanding his resignation in order to form a "unity" government.

The problem is that the Israeli occupation is making life miserable for the Palestinians and driving the professionals (and moderates) out.  I know a number of Palestinian professionals, almost all them are Christians and they all left the West Bank due to Israeli occupation.  If you drive these people out, all you are left with is Islamic extremists.

superlogi
superlogi

You don't believe what you're saying any more than I do.  The difference is, I've been there and you have not.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Over the years we've given the Pals food and Israel billion$.  There's a big difference in "culture."

superlogi
superlogi

I wonder why?  Do you suppose it was because Israel is surrounded by Arab and Persian enemies who did their very best to destroy Israel?  Oh, and never mind the fact, we gave Egypt almost as much as we did Israel.

PS We gave the Yasser Arafat more than food and he used much of it for self-enrichment.  What we got for it, was absolutely nothing.

superlogi
superlogi

Yeah, they did real well.  They've been intentional outcasts for several thousand years and more recently lost have their population to a German Jew hater.  Oh, and don't think if either the Arabs or the Persians thought they could take them down, they would.  Personally, I have a soft spot in my heart for bona fide democracies and would much rather throw in my lot with them than genocidal maniacs and Islamists.  I guess I'm biased.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Don't go 'round getting mad at the facts.

My point is that Israel has done well with a lot more than just "culture."

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

Here comes another 450 comment thread of non-regulars.

I can hardly wait!

Austinite
Austinite

Huh?  Did Joe mention Ron Paul somewhere and I missed it???

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Maybe this will balance our daily 450+ comments at MMR, though those are always by two or three righties with others replying back instead of ignoring ‘em.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Romney's love of money is the guiding principle in his life. His life so far demonstrates that fact beyond any doubt. Having massive amounts of money is his yardstick for success. He listens only to those with big money. Christians, like myself, should remember the fruit that love of money produces.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

 I don't know you are getting this Christian thing from. It is the LOVE of money that Christ opposed. Solomon, David, Job etc. would have been modern day billionaires.

The issue is that Romney told us he would use his business acumen in MA. He did not. If he had run again, we would have hammered him OUT in a landslide.

He is running on the same lies and incompetence, but now he has more money than he ever imagined to help spread his hemlock of political misrepresentations. His Cabal of millionaires who want to use their speech (per the "Citizens United" ruling, to speak louder than the masses.

We all know that the average American does not evince any deep knowledge about the impact of government policies on his life.  

The economy is the main issue and that is ALL that Romney can run on. How he is managing to convince people of this lie is an index of the sheer power of money or suggestion slammed at you in the media.

I watched the debates, and Romney can get very aggressive, and he is master at regurgitating all the talking points that eviscerate his co-debaters. I hope Obama is taking note. All that professorial debate style does not cut it. He better NAIL it at that first debate and expose the unsupportable connections Romney seeks to make with his ability to make money for the wealthy, and his ability to salvage a sick and terminally ill middle class.   

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

superlogi
superlogi

Seriously Bruce, you're nothing more than a Romney wannabe. Unfortunately you simply had neither the brains, the initiative or the talent.  So now, you're crying into your computer.  Christian?  That is a joke.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

My first president was FDR, my second Harry Truman, my first to vote for was JFK, so why would I ever want to be Mitt Romney. I've seen much better. Of course, those who can only think of themselves will not understand what a great country we were becoming back then. Their scoffing is the best indication of just how far we have declined.

superlogi
superlogi

Well, that explains, doesn't it Danny boy?  You were born during the rule of a fellow who owned the world because of business and at the some time hated it, a guy who thought Stalin was his uncle, another who tried to undo what Stalin created and a fellow who thought more with his little head than his big one and you've been trying to justify it ever since.