In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 16, 2004 / 26 Nissan, 5764

The Javits Factor

By Jonathan Tobin

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Specter tries to avoid the fate that ended the career of another Jewish Republican

https://www.jewishworldreview.com | Just as Arlen Specter was entering the Senate in January 1981, another moderate Jewish Republican was leaving. New York's Jacob Javits, who had served since 1957, was ending a long career of public service with a bitter taste in his mouth.

The liberal-leaning Javits was an American Jewish idol who managed to succeed brilliantly in politics without discarding his Jewish identity. But during his four terms, he had managed to alienate the conservative wing of the GOP, with maverick stands such as his refusal to support the candidacy of doomed presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964.

For most of his tenure, Javits was protected from any backlash by the patronage of the sovereign of the Republican Party in New York: Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. But by the time the 76-year-old Javits sought a fifth term in 1980, he was ill and Rockefeller was dead. Javits' right-wing antagonists were intent on reclaiming New York's GOP.

This was the time of the Reagan revolution, and Javits was an ailing throwback to an earlier era. Still, the Republican Senate leadership was not opposed to his re-election, as he was considered a favorite against any Democrat. But that logic did not trump the burning desire of many New York Republicans to oust Javits.

The political wisdom of the time was that any conservative could trounce Javits in a closed primary, where many of the senator's fans — independents and Democrats — couldn't vote. The only question was whether or not there was a Republican with the bad manners to challenge the aging icon?

Alphonse D'Amato, an obscure Long Island town official, was just such a person. The virtually unknown politician not only forced a primary but had the chutzpah to highlight Javits' age and health, as well as his record.

The result was, in retrospect, virtually foreordained; Javits was badly beaten. In November, D'Amato won the seat, enabling the Republicans to take control of the Senate while Reagan marched into the White House with New York's electoral votes in his pocket. In March 1986, Jacob Javits died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig's disease), largely unmourned by the party he'd represented for so long.

The moral of this story is not lost on Arlen Specter, another moderate Republican septuagenarian who would like a fifth term in the Senate. Specter, who faces a challenge to his hold on the GOP Senate nomination from U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey of Allentown in an April 27 primary, is in the fight of his political life.

Donate to JWR

Like Javits, the 74-year-old is a maverick who has earned the ire of many rank-and-file Republicans. The simmering anger toward the senator on the part of Pennsylvania conservatives is very similar to the way Javits' critics felt about him.

But the needs of the White House have made Specter's survival an issue, which has caused even some conservatives who despise Specter to pause. President Bush wants Specter on the ballot with him in November to help him win the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

And the Republican leadership of the Senate, including Pennsylvania's own junior senator, Rick Santorum, also support Specter. Though he doesn't share their conservative ideology, Specter's still considered the best bet to hold on to the seat against Democratic nominee Rep. Joseph Hoeffel in November.

Pat Toomey may be as much of an unknown to voters as D'Amato was, but unlike that New York street fighter, he's no "Average Joe." Educated at Harvard and a veteran of the world of international finance, the 42-year-old Toomey could best be described as a policy wonk. Ask him to contrast his stands on foreign policy with those of Specter, and you get a treatise on post-Cold War diplomacy. Ask him about Specter's ability to get Pennsylvania its share of Washington's political pork allocations, and you get a dissertation about inefficient economic models. It's impressive, but Toomey's no tough guy.

On the other hand, Specter — though he remains the same high-handed and not particularly loveable character who has been stepping on political toes since the early 1960s — is not taking the primary for granted. He remembers what happened to Jack Javits, and readily cited in an interview the similar fates suffered by other Senate GOP liberals, like Edward Brooke of Massachusetts and Clifford Case of New Jersey, whose political scalps were collected by conservative challengers.

Specter has a huge advantage in money raised over Toomey, and unlike those fallen moderates, isn't waiting until the fall to spend it. Those who have heard the challenger speak generally come away impressed, but Specter's ability to define his opponent as a nut could sink Toomey.

But, like Javits in 1980, this is the man's first serious primary challenge. Despite his flat presentation, Toomey speaks to the guts of most GOP'ers who like his hard-line stands against spending and taxes, even if his rigid opposition to pork-barrel bills may not seem realistic.

Specter may be right when he says that Toomey makes Santorum "look like a liberal." But what he forgets is that such a label is not an insult to a lot of the folks who vote in Republican primaries.

That's why Specter launched a campaign to get registered Democrats — especially Jews — to change over to the Republicans so they could vote for him. But no matter how many Democrats flipped, they're probably still outnumbered by conservatives, who have been itching for a shot at knocking off Specter.

Though the Jewish vote probably isn't a significant factor in the GOP primary, Toomey does stress his support for Israel and his opposition to what he calls Specter's "multilateral globalist" foreign policy. Specter has answered by citing his own long record of support for the Jewish state — and Toomey's votes against some foreign-aid spending for Israel (which the congressman defends as opposition to spending in general) — as well as his right-wing stands on social issues.

Specter's dilemma is that some Republicans resent the senator's foreign-policy freelancing, such as his relationship with the Assad family of Syria, as much as others are bitter about his opposition to the nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Specter may think Bush is a better judge of who is a loyal Republican than Toomey, but it's an open question as to whether GOP voters share this realpolitik approach.

Specter is not going down without a fight, but those of his fans who think Toomey doesn't have a chance to win are kidding themselves. The problem for Specter is no different than that faced by Javits in 1980. Are enough of the people who support him — as opposed to those who share his party affiliation, but not his ideas — able to vote to keep him in the Senate?

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. In June, Mr. Tobin won first places honors in the American Jewish Press Association's Louis Rapaport Award for Excellence in Commentary as well as the Philadelphia Press Association's Media Award for top weekly columnist. Both competitions were for articles written in the year 2002.

Jonathan Tobin Archives

© 2004, Jonathan Tobin