Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2008 / 25 Nissan 5768

Dream Teams May Test Party Ties

By Jonathan Tobin



Printer Friendly Version

Email this article



Pennsylvania's Democratic slugfest may leave some Jewish votes up for grabs


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Despite Sen. Hillary Clinton's decisive triumph in the Pennsylvania primary, when supporters of Sen. Barak Obama look at the totals of pledged delegates elected to the Democratic convention, they know that the Illinois senator's eventual coronation in Denver is still the likely outcome of the Democrats' nominating marathon.


Nevertheless Democratic officials know that the wounds opened up by his slugfest with Clinton may be felt long after the primary is forgotten.


Though the dominant theme of post-Pennsylvania analysis has been Obama's failure to capture the affection of working-class Democrats, exit polls here revealed another potential problem for him: the Jewish vote.


In many of the previous primaries, Jewish Democrats who are generally part of Obama's favorite demographic — upper income professional whites — either supported the senator from Illinois or split the same way as the rest of the white vote.


But Pennsylvania was different. Here, the 8 percent of voters who identified as Jewish went 62-38 for Hillary, seven points higher than her overall margin.

GOP HOPES LIVE
Though not exactly earth-shaking, it was probably enough to give hope to Jewish Republicans who never tire of predicting the end of Democratic dominance of the Jewish vote.


They're headed for disappointment. Unless the Democrats nominate Jimmy Carter at their Denver convention instead of Obama or Clinton, there's no doubt that the majority of Jewish votes will go to the Democrats, no matter who wins the nod of the super-delegates.


Though polls have shown that some Clinton voters would either stay home or vote for Republican John McCain if Obama is the nominee, Democrats have scoffed at suggestions of mass defections. And no group feels the pull of partisanship during what is surely one of the most partisan moments in American political history than the Jews.


With the majority of Jews critical of the war in Iraq, McCain's pro-life record on abortion (a key issue with Jewish women who like Hillary) and with the economy in a downturn, there are plenty of reasons for Democrats to be optimistic.


But what the Pennsylvania results should remind us is that all it will take to switch the Keystone State from the blue Democratic column over to the red Republican ledger is a small shift in the numbers, not a huge one.


Here in Pennsylvania, Jews comprise only about 2.3 percent of the total population. Yet in the Democratic primary, they accounted for an estimated 8 percent of the vote. That means that even if the majority of Jewish Clinton backers embrace Obama, should a significant minority of them consider his drawbacks too much to take, that could possibly tip the scales of the overall vote.


The same holds true in other states where, like Pennsylvania, the presidential race is likely to be close. And when one considers that polls show McCain being only a few percentage points behind Obama in an otherwise solidly Democratic state like New Jersey, the significance of any sort of shift among Jews (who make up 5.7 percent of the total population there) would be telling.


Though backing for the Jewish state has been the GOP's sole wedge issue for Jewish voters, Obama has undercut doubts on that score by endlessly repeating his mantra of support at every conceivable opportunity. Republicans and some Clintonites may question his sincerity, but Israel alone is not going to cost Obama many Jewish votes.


Yet Clinton clearly scored at Obama's expense with Jewish voters and others with her willingness to threaten Iran if it acquires nuclear weapons while Obama was still talking about engaging its leaders.


Obama had also thought he had put his 20-year association with the radical Rev. Jeremiah Wright to rest in a speech given here in March. His rhetoric convinced most of his fans in the media that it was a non-issue, but Wright's refusal to shut up has exacerbated the problem.


The cleric's April 28 speech before Washington's National Press Club made it clear that the notion of his extremism was no media invention. His stated support for Louis Farrakhan, belief that America brought 9/11 upon itself, and that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus and spread drugs among blacks were every bit as venomous as the sound bytes previously aired on the cable networks.


Obama's association with Wright and former Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers are the sort of thing that increases doubts about his judgment and character in a way that is particularly scary to many Jews. Unless Obama stops trying to have it both ways and simply disowns Wright, his former mentor will continue to hurt him badly.


Likewise, he is going to have to start sounding tougher on Iran lest he give McCain the chance to make it sound as if he would acquiesce to a situation in which Israel's existence might be endangered.


That said, it must still be considered a given that McCain has little chance of matching the modern Republican record for Jewish votes that Ronald Reagan set in 1980 when he won just under 40 percent against Jimmy Carter.


And if Democratic leaders can put a shotgun in the backs of their two candidates and force them to accept an Obama/Clinton "dream" ticket, then they may well be able to maintain their hold on the 75 to 85 percent of Jewish votes they have generally received in the past. The Lieberman Factor

THE LIEBERMAN FACTOR
However, Jewish Republicans have their own "dream" ticket in mind. That would mean McCain tapping his close friend Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate.


Lieberman, who ran as Al Gore's running mate in 2000, has repeatedly said he won't do it. His standard disclaimer is "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt." But if McCain offered him the nomination, don't bet on Connecticut's sainted junior senator turning him down.


Such a choice would enrage conservatives who didn't back McCain, but have nevertheless been demanding that the irascible Arizonan show them a little love. But as political guru Stuart Rothenberg recently wrote on the Realclearpolitics.com Web site, Lieberman is the perfect choice to help the Republicans win independents and Democrats in November. He also notes that McCain is also exactly the sort of person who would delight in a pick that would infuriate his two least favorite groups: ultra-conservatives and liberals who see the pro-war independent Lieberman as a turncoat.


Lieberman is an unlikely choice for McCain. His stand on Iraq and willingness to make nice with Republicans also means that many Jewish Democrats will probably not follow him. But given the fact that all of the other GOP possibilities have their own serious drawbacks, choosing Lieberman may actually turn out to be the least illogical choice available to McCain.


Obama's weakness may be leading Republicans to overestimate their chances this year. But if they get their "dream" ticket, then you can throw all previous commentary about Jewish voting patterns out the window.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

Jonathan Tobin Archives




© 2007, Jonathan Tobin