Bud Hockenberg (92), a Democrat from Des Moines IA, is the former president of the Des Moines Jewish Federation and a founding member of what is now the Republican Jewish Coalition, as well as of Iowans Supporting Israel, a bipartisan group. He is a fourth-generation Des Moines resident and former president of the Conservative synagogue Tifereth Israel. He is still a “very active” attorney and recently attended his 52nd consecutive AIPAC conference.
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
What top three issues concern you most in the 2020 presidential election?
I would say that the number one priority is the safety and security of America. And that segues into the safety and security of Israel, and also Western democracy. So that would be a single issue, because they are interrelated. The next issue would be secure borders. And there is also the economy. The fourth issue I’m concerned about is the extremes in our country, from the far right and the far left. On the far right: the white supremacists. On the far left: the Antifa group, which unfortunately has not received much publicity, particularly in the Jewish community, but is equally as dangerous in my opinion.
What personal traits matter to you most in picking a candidate for president?
Integrity is number one. I’m not particularly interested in what the candidate says; I’m more interested in what the candidate does.
Are there any traits or behaviors that might make a candidate unacceptable to you?
Being an anti-Semite would make a candidate unacceptable to me. I can give you an example. Pat Buchanan, who happens to be a member of my party, was an anti-Semite.
What are the main reasons you’re supporting Donald Trump?
I’m a business lawyer; I deal with business people and what’s called balance sheets—assets minus liabilities equals net worth. So, here are Trump’s major assets. Number one, safety and security in America; part of that is his cancellation of the Iran deal. And we now know through Israeli exposure of their secrets that Iran lied and continues to lie about the nuclear program they are initiating. Number two is the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving our embassy there. Number three, the assets of our economy. By any standard this is one of the best economies we’ve had probably in the past 50 years. Number four, the internal security of America, the way we secured our borders quickly; the southern border is the best we’ve had.
In your opinion, what are Trump’s liabilities?
His temperament, his behavior, his tweeting and his personal relationships. I could list some more Democratic talking points, but I’m sure you have them all recorded anyway.
What would you have him do differently?
I would request with respect that he be gentler in his treatment of key aides coming and going, appointments and departures. I would ask him to stay more focused on the main issues and give Twitter a vacation for a while.
Has the impeachment inquiry affected your views about the candidates and the election in general?
The impeachment inquiry is disappointing, but not surprising. I have no opinion regarding the Democratic candidates; I am now more supportive of reelecting President Trump. I reject the impeachment inquiry, now and prior to the Ukraine fiction and information, not revelations.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
You are doing a great service by interviewing diverse folks with diverse opinions like me. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
1. Reports show the number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has doubled since 2018. (BBC)