LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21, 2015 — Mired at 1 percent in the presidential polls, former New York Gov. George Pataki sought to boost his campaign in front of a friendly audience. At the Republican Jewish Coalition 2015 Presidential Candidates Forum, Pataki was among those with whom he had a lengthy and productive relationship.
Pataki repeatedly implored the crowd to ignore his standing in the polls and look at his record. Pataki was introduced by RJC member Earl Mack.
Pataki began with a tribute to his friends in the room. “Without you, we don’t win elections.”
He spoke about a variety of issues, starting with foreign policy.
Pataki cited the Garland, Texas, attacks that were foiled as well as the successful Chattanooga murders of Marines, Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon bombings. He linked the common thread as radical jihad. Anyone verbally shouting “jihad” is not engaging in protected speech. It is “yelling fire in a crowded theater” and must be stopped.
Pataki summoned the ghost of Admiral James B. Stockdale in asking the question of why he was in the race. He cited his electability and his experience. He won three times as a Republican governor in liberal New York. He got a plurality of the Puerto Rican and Dominican vote, even though those two constituencies have been in direct conflict with each other.
He cited his record in reducing crime and lowering taxes and in leaving the state with a surplus. He reduced the welfare rolls and presided over the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history.
“If that doesn’t matter, maybe I shouldn’t be in the race, but I think it does matter.”
He then went after the other side.
“The Democratic Party is no longer a liberal party. It is a leftist party.”
He will get rid of Obamacare and Common Core.
He called the IRS targeting of conservatives “barbaric” and vowed to do his best to put the guilty parties in jail.
He compared American business policies to the East German wall. He said that the same liberals against a border fence favor a “virtual wall” to keep American businesses from being productive.
On foreign policy, we must do three things. First, we must rebuild our military. This includes developing Star Wars.
Second, we must stand with our allies. He would return missiles to Poland that Obama removed. We have to help President Sisi in Egypt. This was impressive since some of the candidates spoke about Israel but neglected to mention the many other allies America has.
Third, “We have to destroy radical Islam. It is that simple.” He would send in American troops, special ops forces, to destroy ISIS training camps.
Pataki then turned to enemies of Israel and Judaism itself.
Anti-Semitism is “toxic,” and where you see it “you must stomp it down.”
He spoke about how Israel showed self-restraint when Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles. He noted that Israel stayed loyal to America rather than take action America did not want.
With regard to the Palestinians, he said, “You cannot have a partner for peace when one of them denies your existence. No more wasting time. No more negotiations. PLO, you change your charter.
“The Iranian deal has got to be killed. The Iranians have already violated it.”
He spoke of the hypocrisy of people who are willing to trade with Russia and Cuba but who are determined to boycott Israel. He called BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) “an anti-Semitic movement that must be stopped.”
Pataki did not leave time for questions.
While the RJC crowd appreciated his stance on the issues, the sheer number of candidates has been crowding him out. Also, his speaking in a calm voice allows him to get overshadowed by candidates who are flashier. Pataki showed substance, but even in a crowd hungry for substance, candidates with shinier personalities relegated him a likable and respected afterthought.