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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mitt Romeny opens campaign at Ford Museum in Dearbornistan

A comment on HaAretz's website today attacks former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for opening his Presidential campaign at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearbornistan this past Tuesday:

On Tuesday, the former governor of Massachusetts is set to formally launch his campaign for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

He has chosen as the venue a museum which bills itself as America's Greatest History Attraction, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Named for America's greatest anti-Semite.

Named for a man revered by Adolf Hitler, who awarded him the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. Named for the U.S. publisher of the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" and "The International Jew: the World's foremost problem."

Perhaps unfortunately, perhaps inevitably, the first to take Romney to task for the decision was the National Jewish Democratic Council. The council's executive director Ira Forman said the group was "deeply troubled by Governor Romney's choice of locations to announce his presidential campaign."

"Romney has been traveling the country talking about inclusiveness and understanding of people from all walks of life," Forman continued. "Yet he chooses to kick [off] his presidential campaign on the former estate of a well-known and outspoken anti-Semite and xenophobe."

According to Forman, Romney's "embrace of Henry Ford and association of Ford's legacy with his presidential campaign raises serious questions about either the sincerity of Romney's words or his understanding of basic American history."

Petty? Maybe Partisan? Certainly. Or maybe these things are just becoming second nature. After all, the Romney campaign says it's sticking by its decision, and that the campaign kickoff will continue as planned.

"Governor Romney believes our country needs to put innovation at the forefront if we are to ensure a stronger, safer and more prosperous America," said Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said. "The Ford Museum embodies that bold, innovative spirit."

There's something bold and innovative about that old-time Jew hate as well. When it comes back, after being gone so long, its adherents have that feeling of freshness, of renewal.
A couple of points that bear mentioning: First, it's no great secret that Henry Ford was an anti-Semite.

Second, it is also no great secret that Dearbornistan has one of the largest concentrations of Arab Muslims anywhere in the United States.

Could Romney be stupid enough to open himself to charges of anti-Semitism? I doubt it. Is he pandering to the Arab vote? Well, take a look at what he said in Herzliya just a few weeks ago:
“No, what we should have realized since 9/11 is that what the world regarded as an Israeli-Arab conflict over borders represented something much larger. It was the oldest, most active front of the radical Islamist jihad against the entire West. It therefore was not really about borders. It was about the refusal of many parts of the Muslim world to accept Israel’s right to exist – within any borders.

“This distinction came into vivid focus this summer. The war in Lebanon had little to do with the Palestinians. And it had nothing to do with a two-state solution. It demonstrated that Israel is now facing a jihadist front that from Tehran through Damascus to Southern Lebanon and Gaza.

“As Tony Blair astutely put it, Hizbullah was not fighting ‘for the coming into being of a Palestinian state…but for the going out of being of an Israeli state.’

“Yet we have still not fully absorbed the magnitude of the change. As far as our enemies are concerned, there is just one conflict. And in this single conflict, the goal of destroying Israel is simply a way station toward the real goal of subjugating the entire West.”
Doesn't sound like someone who's pandering to the Arabs, does it? So why did Romney do it? Zev Chafets thinks the whole story is overblown:
The picture [of Romney at the Ford Museum. CiJ] was meant to convey a message of "innovation and transformation," the motto of the Romney campaign. The venue had a local message, too. Romney's father, George, a former Michigan governor [and candidate for President in 1968. CiJ], was the automotive executive who (temporarily) saved American Motors with the compact Rambler in the late 1950s.

Today, with Detroit hemorrhaging automotive jobs, Mitt would like to be remembered as his father's son and - because he probably couldn't carry Massachusetts in a presidential election - make Michigan his surrogate home state. And there's nothing that says Michigan more than the Ford Museum, a place every school kid south of Petoskey is dragged through at least once.


As for the Ford Museum, it is the most important historical institution in a city not overflowing with culture. It houses Thomas Edison's lab and the chair President Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot. The tone of the place is one of bland, politically correct American self-celebration. If the racial prejudices of its namesake put it beyond the pale, what are the Democrats going to do about the Jefferson Memorial?

If attempting to link Romney with anti-Semitism is a cheap political trick, it is also something worse. Jews have real enemies these days, some of whom insist that a Jewish conspiracy has hijacked U.S. foreign policy on behalf of Israel. This is genuine Ford-ism, and it is found primarily on the "progressive" end of the political spectrum - as the National Jewish Democratic Council knows very well. Crying wolf is always irresponsible, but doing it in the middle of a forest is truly dangerous.
If I had to make up my mind right now, I'd be voting for Rudy Giuliani. But I'm inclined to agree with Chafets. This story has been blown out of proportion.


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