As most of the readers of the Jewish Exponent know, this is one of the nastiest, angriest and most expensive elections in Pennsylvania history, and it will get worse before Election Day. It also is one of the most important elections, especially for the race for the U.S. Senate.
In addition to general legislative responsibilities and important decisions on the raising and spending of our tax dollars, the Senate has specific responsibilities, especially with respect to its advice and consent obligations for the president’s cabinet and judicial nominees.
Given the fact that our two major political parties have given us candidates for the presidency that both have serious flaws, the responsibilities of the Senate in the coming years are more important than at almost any time in the history of our country. This is no time to send a new, untested, ideological rookie whose public service record is highly partisan to Washington. It is an opportunity to send Pat Toomey back to the U.S. Senate to continue his thoughtful, pro-markets approach to our serious economic issues and continue his outstanding work on dangerous national security issues.
While the issues are complex, basic values are not complex. Toomey has stood gallantly against the Iranian nuclear deal, which has resulted in billions of dollars going to support the Islamic Republic of Iran and her active proxy enemies of Israel, including providing rockets to Hamas and Hezbollah that are launched against Israeli civilians. Not only is the Iranian deal dangerous in the results, but the process also was illicit. The Iran agreements are a treaty that should have been sent to the Senate for debate and discussion as required by our Constitution. It was not! Katie McGinty supports President Obama’s deal with Iran.
Toomey has worked to retain the Guantánamo naval base as a prison for radical Islamists, while McGinty supports closing Gitmo and moving prisoners to the United States. Yes, Sen. Toomey is someone with whom there can be disagreements on individual policies, especially difficult social issues. However, no one can attack his intelligence, his thoughtful approach to his work, his integrity, or his commitment to our national security and public service. These are essential components of the equation that should be used in evaluating whether he should be reelected.
The senator’s record led the PAC supported by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to support him because of “his work to expand background checks for firearms buyers.” In an unusual endorsement, the gun safety PAC formed by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her astronaut husband Mark Kelly is backing Sen. Toomey because of his co-sponsorship with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) of a background-check bill. He also has the support of many usually liberal newspapers that have properly prioritized the many issues in our national discussions.
We Jews must also prioritize what matters most to us, and when we do that we should decide to vote for Toomey, regardless of our choice for president.
No matter what promises McGinty might make during this tumultuous campaign season, she will be under pressure from the increasingly intemperate left of the Democratic Party to support “a peace deal with the Palestinians.” No one wants peace more than the Israelis, but a peace agreement needs to be made with a reliable, trustworthy government capable of delivering the essentials of surely what will be complicated and dangerous arrangements, and as of today the Palestinians cannot provide a reliable partner. In fact, the armed, rogue entities that govern in Gaza and continue to lob rockets at Israeli civilians and build tunnels to infiltrate Israeli territory to kill Jews are in charge. Palestinians continue to educate their children to be another generation destined for poverty and occupation. Their maps do not show Israel, and their playtime often is spent dressed in military fatigues with toy bombs strapped around their midsections. Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Fatah party, is now in the 11th year of his four-year term and he rules without a popular mandate. In short, there is not a reliable partner with whom the Israelis can achieve a sustainable peace.
We Jews need Toomey in the Senate because he has the necessary qualities and experiences to do the job. Sen. Toomey has been attacked for his business experiences, but those are valuable when making decisions that affect us. McGinty lacks that balance. Toomey has a proven record showing that he can work across the partisan divide that now permeates our politics. We need someone who understands the rapidly changing economies of the 21st century, has a proven record of strongly supporting the Jewish state, and who can provide the thoughtful balance to the executive branch that our Founding Fathers built into our Constitution.
We do not need an untested, philosophically committed left-of-center rookie who has never served in a legislative body to represent Pennsylvania during these difficult times. It should not go without notice that two of the most ideologically Democratic senators have come to our commonwealth to support McGinty, who was called “a creature of the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.” Both recently convened rallies to support her, one at Penn and one at Carnegie Mellon. We don’t need those who are learning to lead making decisions without some guidance and discussion with those who have worked hard and who deserve to have a voice in this important public decision.
Regardless of your individual choice for president, the Pennsylvania Jewish community should support Pat Toomey’s election to the Senate of the United States this November.
The writer is a former secretary of revenue for Pennsylvania and served in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He teaches business ethics at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.