Saturday, January 17, 2004

Jewish Voters

This is not a new subject for this blog. As the presidential elections approach there are more and more articles claiming that the Jewish community is either becoming more Republican or solidifying its Democratic base. This can be quite confusing. I'd like to try to put it into some context for my loyal readers.

In this article from the Washington Times, we're introduced to the main culprits in this argument: David Harris and Matthew Brooks. Harris, as we're told in the article, is the deputy executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council. One thing the article leaves out in describing him: he's also the executive director of the American Jewish Committee. Yes, that's the same AJC that did a study on jewish opinion as described in this AP article. [Click here for the official survey site]. Does this mean that Harris had his organization put out a biased poll and hoped that news organizations (such as the Washington Times, as it turns out) would use his other title when describing the author? (John Podhoretz puts the AJC poll in perspective in a recent NYPost article)

But this is now standard. This blog has commented on the Republican Jewish Coalition poll that stated just the opposite. (You can either search "The Slippery Slope" archives or click here to search the RJC news archives. In the "2002 News Items" click on the October 4th article entitled, "Are Jews becoming Republican?...") Obviously both are doing their part to support their respective parties, nothing wrong with that. Interestingly enough, the JTA has published an article detailing the plan the Democrats have to try to retain their Jewish base. If it weren't such a problem, would they have to do this much to protect themselves?

One point struck me when I considered considering a town meeting with Anthony Weiner a few weeks ago:
"The campaign has three prongs, according to senior Democratic operatives who were involved in its formulation: Stress the Democratic Party´s commitment to Israel and raise questions about Bush´s own commitment; remind Jewish voters they are much likelier to favor Democratic positions on domestic issues, and marginalize Democrats who alienate Jews."

He did all three on that snowy day in Queens. He asked why President Bush had to place so much pressure on Israel and claimed a Democratic president would never do such a thing; noted the mostly-elderly crowd's displeasure with the recently-passed Republican-sponsored Medicare bill and used that to demonstrate their shared domestic policy views; and marginalized anti-Israel comments by Howard Dean.

Before we start making sweeping generalizations pro or con either side, let's make sure we have everything in perspective first.


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