Eighty-year-old Bryna Franklin says she’s never voted anything but Democrat from the time she could vote. In fact, she was so committed to her party she once headed the Israel branch of Democrats Abroad and was a delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention. But the faith in her party has been shaken during the four years that Barack Obama has been president, and she has decided - for the first time in her life - to vote Republican.
Franklin, who now lives in Jerusalem, is the star of the latest Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) ad urging American Jews to vote for Mitt Romney for president. In the ad that’s running this week in four swing states, she criticizes President Obama’s Israel policy:
The relationship changed almost immediately when President Obama became elected. He went to Egypt, he didn’t come to Israel […]
There was never daylight between Israel and the United States, between the United States and Israel. This is a new phenomenon that, it means there’s changing. That special relationship does not exist […]
Forget that you voted Democratic since you were knee-high to a grasshopper. I did too. My message to American Jews is to join me, Bryna Franklin, former chairperson of Democrats Abroad Israel and a delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention to switch sides and vote for Mitt Romney for president.
The Missouri native also penned an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post published Monday night in which she writes:
In all of my 80 years, I have never before voted for a Republican for president. But this time around, I am not only proudly voting for Mitt Romney, but feel compelled to encourage others to do the same.
I grew up in a Reform Jewish family in Missouri, and came of age politically as a proud Democrat due to the inspiration of my native-son president, Harry Truman. I have been involved in Democratic Party politics for many years in both America and Israel, including serving as vice chairperson of the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee in Missouri.
It is precisely because of my belief in the longtime ideals of the Democratic Party that I feel the responsibility to speak out now.
Why? First, because we ask in each presidential cycle, “Are we better off now than we were four years ago?” This year, the answer is a resounding “NO!” But even more troubling, in so many ways, President Barack Obama has betrayed the ideals of the great Democratic Party. He is a poor successor to Truman’s legacy.
Franklin slams Obama for being in her words “so fiscally irresponsible” in running up trillion-dollar deficits every year; insufficiently tackling unemployment; for being “a weak leader,” not taking on Syrian President Hafez Assad and for abandoning former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
But her main issue with the president is her assessment that Obama has singled out Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for criticism. She writes:
Nowhere has President Obama failed to live up to Democratic ideals more than in his relationship with democratic Israel. From his creation of “daylight” between our countries to constant public criticism of Israeli policy – does Obama do this to any other country? – Obama has allowed severe deterioration of our special relationship just as Israel and the world face extreme danger.
President Obama’s open hostility to Israel’s prime minister, and his insulting true feelings caught on an open microphone, indicate antipathy towards the citizens of Israel. Obama’s administration does not even maintain symbolic gestures: at the recent opening of the United Nations Assembly, the United States sat and listened to the address by the president of Iran, yet Ambassador Rice was absent during the entire presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. This wasn’t lost on the leaders of Israel’s enemies.
Coming from Missouri, I take immense pride that President Truman had the courage, conviction and moral compass to recognize the nascent state of Israel. By comparison, President Obama has steered our relationship to an abysmal low.
As a result of her disappointment in Obama, Franklin says she sees “no choice but to switch sides” and vote for Mitt Romney for president “who better embodies our Democratic ideals.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition says the television ad featuring Bryna Frankin is running in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania through Election Day and is part of the group’s “My Buyers Remorse” initiative which invites those who voted for Obama in 2008 to submit videos about their disappointment in the president.
Here is the RJC ad featuring Bryna Franklin: