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06.17.2012 _____________________

“I am not Israeli. The uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform. It was an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF and one of my daughters was in the IDF …; our two little boys, one of whom will be bar mitzvahed tomorrow, hopefully he’ll come back — his hobby is shooting — and he’ll come back and be a sniper for the IDF,” Sheldon Adelson, July 2010.

“His hobby is shooting …”

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a native of Dorchester, Mass., has just given $10 million to help elect Mitt Romney to the presidency of the United States, and has expressed a possible willingness to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Obama.

One hundred million.

Not bad. An act of patriotism in support of a country that has made him one of the world’s richest men.

Not bad. An act of patriotism in support of a country whose military Adelson considers second-choice.

As I write my column this morning, Mitt Romney is up the road in Stratham, speaking to supporters at the beginning of a five-day, six-state bus tour as part of his campaign to unseat President Obama.

Polls have Mr. Romney running neck and neck with President Obama, and New Hampshire’s four electoral votes are considered critical to both Democrats and Republicans. The U.S. economy is not recovering as quickly as Obama had hoped, and economic circumstances will be important considerations when voters go the polls in November.

Today is a glorious late-spring day. When I’m done writing (sometimes it feels that I’ll never be done) I’ll hit “send” to my editors, grab a towel and head for the beach, possibly driving up Route 33 toward Portsmouth, driving past the historic Scamman farm.

I’ve been driving past the Scammans for years, most often to deliver my daughter to Stratham’s Cornerstone School. Once upon a time, you could see more cows than political signage. I remember the beauty of snow-covered trees and outcroppings of granite ledge.

The white-clapboarded house and barns dominated the hilltop. At the adjacent garden center, offerings of rows of bright orange pumpkins, Christmas trees and fruit-tree saplings marked the passing of the seasons as we drove past.

New Hampshire landmark. Reflections on the soil and character of its land and inhabitants both flinty and generous. Farmers. Merchants.

Politicians. Hockey fans.

New Hampshire.

Today, there are no cows. It is Mitt Romney’s day. It is a day for New Hampshire Republicans to celebrate the presence of their team leader, to pay him tribute, to wish him well on his quest to capture the Capital.

I can sort of understand why Republicans in New Hampshire are being drawn to Romney. Sort of.

He talks about American values. He talks about fixing the economy. He talks about his success. He’s been successful. Privileged.

Rich. Establishment.

The anti-Obama.

It may be true that the economy will be the determinative issue that will drive voter decisions this fall. Although I believe the economy is recovering I understand that some voters may be impatient at the rate of recovery and will vote for change.

Be careful what you wish for.

The president does not have a free hand in how the economy is driven.

Congress, lobbyists, states and the courts all have a role.

I fear Romney’s foreign policy impulses, and the president’s hand is freest in foreign policy.

I fear a foreign policy guided by John Bolton. I fear a foreign policy driven by the neoconservatives who brought us Iraq. I fear a foreign policy driven by Chickenhawks who never met a war they didn’t like, with cheerleaders like Fox News and Glenn Beck leading the way.

I fear William Kristol and Gary Bauer and the Emergency Committee for Israel. I fear those who believe, as Rick Santorum does, that “all the people that live in the West Bank are Israelis. They are not Palestinians. There is no Palestinian. This is Israeli land.”

I fear Republican foreign policy based on confrontation with Iran, on confrontation in Syria, on disenfranchisement of the Palestinians. I fear a neo-con Republican policy, allied with supporters of Israel, that is intended to defeat President Obama by portraying him somehow as weak, apologetic, unsupportive of Israel, of being “Other,” of being not “American.”

I fear a Republication Party that believes those things to be true.

I believe that because I see two large hands that rest on Romney’s shoulders — and I see no attempt by Mr. Romney to shake them off, just as there has been no attempt to shake off the embrace of “birther” Donald Trump.

On one shoulder is “Bibi” Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister; on the other is Sheldon Adelson, one of Netanyahu’s most ardent supporters and advocates.

I believe Prime Minster Netanyahu and Mr. Adelson do not support a just two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians, and I believe they fear that, if President Obama is re-elected, he will move to impose a settlement on the Israelis and Palestinians. That may be true. A settlement is to be wished for.

Republicans have no such fears about Mr. Romney.

As a first-generation New Hampshire-ite, I cannot claim an illustrious lineage of flinty New Englanders. My house, though, sits astride a road that was once an old Indian path, and it is built on granite foundations that have been unshaken over the centuries of American history. We share a land and a vision that has sustained Americans for generations. We need to be careful how we pass our visions along.

Let us pass our visions along, not thorough the power of unrestricted money fueling political campaigns and prejudices but through the power of harmony and law and compromise. Through the power of peace.

It worries me that too many people are looking for change — immediate change — without considering the consequences.

There has been too much shooting in the Middle East. Too many lives lost, too much blood and treasure. We have made too many enemies and lost too many friends because of our failure to consider the consequences of our actions.

Too much cash. Too much shooting, not enough negotiation.

This column appeared originally in the Portsmouth Herald.

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