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NY-9 Race May Be A Political Awakening In A Jewish Community – But Can These Conditions Be Duplicated?

NY-9 Race May Be A Political Awakening In A Jewish Community – But Can These Conditions Be Duplicated?

Today, a special election will be held in New York’s 9th congressional district to fill the seat vacated by disgraced dick pic enthusiast Anthony Wiener.  The three polls released this month have Republican Bob Turner up about five or six points over Democrat David Weprin.  The district is ordinarily quite blue, giving Weprin a potential organizational advantage, and Obama’s personal army has deployed 300 troops SEIU expects to send 300 volunteers to get out the vote, so the race is far from over, but polls are very encouraging.

Turner’s lead could ordinarily be chalked up to blowback against the president’s party due to a lousy economy, the nature of Wiener’s departure, or Weprin’s considerable flaws, such as his not having a decent ballpark estimate of the national debt or not living in the district (and not promising to move there if elected).

But there is more to the story than that.  NY-9 is by some accounts the most Jewish district in the country, with about 30% of its residents identifying as Jewish.  Turner, backed by local moderate Jewish Democratic heavyweights former Mayor Ed Koch and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, is specifically targeting the Jewish community with the argument that they must send a message to Obama that his policies towards Israel have been unacceptable.  Koch is featured in robocalls blunting Weprin’s negative advertisements, and the Republican Jewish Coalition is sending mailers to Jewish voters in NY-9 highlighting the Israel issue.

The latest PPP poll surveyed about 239 Jews, which is small but not nothing (I estimated this from overall sample size and percent Jewish.  The true number may be slightly different due to rounding).  However, even with that small sample size the 56-39% advantage Turner has among Jewish voters is fully outside the approximately 6.3% margin of error, and Romney’s 52-38% advantage over Obama in a hypothetical matchup indicative of a 99% chance of a true lead (Perry has a much more modest 4 point lead and overall negative approval)

Does this mean that the Jewish community is finally waking up – that Obama’s “F*** the Jews, they’ll vote for us anyway” strategy is finally falling apart?  Are they finally realizing that a politician being Jewish doesn’t guarantee that the Jewish community can entrust them with their votes any more than Bernie Madoff being Jewish guaranteed that they could trust him with their money?  Have they noticed that Jewish Democrat politicians often talk a big game, sign whatever watered-down statement designed to get 90% support in Congress AIPAC puts in front of them, and are otherwise ineffective when it comes to challenging Obama when he unjustly oppresses Israel?

Alas, probably not.

The Jews of NY-9 are not typical.  A much larger percentage than usual are Orthodox, a group that has been increasingly willing to vote Republican anyway, but which accounts for only about 10% of the Jewish community.  Not only are they more strongly connected to Israel and to Israeli policies that many on the American left oppose, but they lack many of the views that keep the rest of the Jewish community so liberal.

Non-Orthodox Jews are driven in many ways by social issues and the group identities that go with them.  The Jews of NY-9 support gay marriage by only a 45-43% margin, with an Orthodox rabbi being featured in robocalls sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage.  Nationally, Jews overall support gay marriage by a 75-18% margin, a result Pew found to be more lopsided than  any demographic except atheists.

Also, Orthodox Jews were found in a University of Maryland study found to be less motivated by hostility towards Evangelical Christians and more motivated by Israel instead.

Liberal Jews generally hold quite hostile views towards Evangelical Christians, and often believe that their right to practice the religion that they mostly don’t practice anyway is under constant threat.

Democratic politicians and their allies in the Jewish community routinely take advantage of and promote this fear.

They stoke anti-Christian emotions with the most uncharitable interpretations of Christian theology and motivations, and promote the demonstrably false belief that Republicans are more anti-Semitic than Democrats (Studies generally show either no partisan difference or Democrats being more anti-Semitic, partially because minorities are much more anti-Semitic on average than whites).

The first time I encountered Ira Forman, then-president of the National Jewish Democratic Council and now the Jewish Outreach Director for Obama’s reelection campaign, I was at an AIPAC training convention for college students.  He told us that were President Bush to be reelected, our children would not be free to practice Judaism.

I looked over at the large delegation from Oral Roberts, a Christian liberal arts college in Oklahoma, mortified that they came to help us only to be forced to sit through being scapegoated in a segment of two-minutes hate.

Many others, such as Howard Dean during his time as DNC chair, have made similar statements.

All that being said, and regardless of who wins tonight, these late polls do show that an Israel-based strategy may motivate Jews to vote Republican under ideal conditions.

Unfortunately, these conditions are hard to find.  Gay marriage and abortion are still powerful wedge issues in most of the country, and every legitimately contested church-state matter reenforces many Jews’ existing self-identities as members of an oppressed religious minority, heightening the compulsion to like or dislike groups and parties accordingly.  School prayer may be a marginal issue in national politics, but every such battle is a plentiful source of ammunition for the Democratic fear machine.

The challenge going forward is to figure out how change issue priorities so that American Jews are more concerned with true villains such as Ahmadinijad and Hamas, rather than  some Christian boogieman.  It won’t be easy.

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Comments

I don’t know how large or well-known the Republican Jewish Coalition is but I suspect that it’s existence is only recognized by conservative Jews and political junkies like me and I seldom see their views posted on the many blogs that I read…..they would do well to make their voices heard by everyone, not just Jews, just as the Tea Party has done all across the nation.

You’re right when you say it won’t be easy….the Tea Party movement is continually attacked but is also growing larger each day…perhaps the RJC can take a few lessons from them.

Based on an astute observation by one noted commentator regarding the effect of this race on a certain columnist from the New York Times, I’ve said it before, and I certainly hope I get to say it after tonight. A Turner victory tonight could send Modo right over the edge on Obama.

Please. people of NY9 . . . do yourselves proud, AND help bring out the truly whacky in MoDo! Vote for Turner!

Honestly, if I lived in that district, and had no other reason to go vote — hard to imagine — I’d still go vote for Turner just for the opportunity to read Maureen Dowd’s follow-up column — and, for that matter, to read the reactions of the entire crowd at the New York Times. They’d all go right over the edge.

It’s comedy gold in the making, folks!

Why, why . . . it might even be enough to induce former Sec’y of Defense Rumsfeld to don a disguise and head out to actually purchase a copy of the NYT at a local newsstand.

Ask yourself this . . . wouldn’t you want to have a few copies of “the day the NYTimes went bats” to give to your grandchildren?

I can see it now . . .

“Grandpa, tell us the story again about the day the New York Times went crazy! You’re funny, Grandpa! We love that story!

Who was that nutty lady again? The one you called MoDo?

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | September 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

I think what’s going on in NY-9 demonstrates the political acumen and savvy of Ed Koch. Koch is a Democrat, but he’s not a blind partisan. He crossed party lines when he supported President Bush’s re-election in 2004. However, Koch understands that this NY-9 election is symbolic and mostly about messaging.

By most accounts, this district is going away after re-districting. But because of it’s large concentration of Jewish voters, this special election is the perfect way for Ed Koch to send Obama a loud message that he does not agree with Obama’s policy toward Israel. With the House already overwhelmingly Republican, it is a meaningless seat from a legislative perspective. No matter who wins the election, it is not going to influence legislation. And since the district is going away, whoever wins is not going to have an incumbency advantage in 2012. This election is however, powerfully, symbolic.

The Democrats understand that they need to hold this district for symbolic reasons. That’s why when polls showed Turner taking the lead, they dumped $500K into the race to hold onto a seat that is meaningless from a legislative perspective and which is going away. They don’t want to take the risk that a Republican victory could influence Jewish voters elsewhere, particularly a swing state like Florida where many NY Jews go to retire.

No matter who wins tonight, Koch is the real winner. He’s made his point.

“Gay marriage and abortion” arguments against threaten Jewish self-identity?!?! So many Jews support both of these?!?! What Bible do these Jews read? Surely not the TNK. Oh, Israel, how have you fallen, valuing idolatry and the passing of childn through Molech’s fire higher than the Creator! I never realized that so many had lost their connection with what makes them Jews. It’s not Yiddish and gefilte fish. It’s faith in the ine true God, and without that, many are no longer Jews … just godless heathen.

    They’re still Jews, but they know nothing about Judaism, and those that attend Reform or Conservative “temples” know even less than nothing, because their “rabbis” teach them a lot that isn’t true. So they imagine that Judaism is about “social justice” (for which they’ve coined a Hebrew term, “tikun olam”) and supports whatever social agenda happens to be trendy on the left. They’re told that nobody nowadays thinks the Bible is God’s actual words, and they believe it, because why wouldn’t they? Their “rabbi” tells them that it’s so, and surely she knows what she’s talking about.

I noticed on Jammiewearingfool, that the despicable nostril, Henry Waxman, cannot understand why Jews are turning against Obama except in stereotypical anti-semitic terms. Henry Waxman explains that what is happening is that Jews are “protecting their wealth” http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2011/09/waxman-jews-may-vote-against-obama.html
While protecting wealth is a rational motivation for most, this has never been enough to shift Jews to vote rationally for Republicans in the past, and I do not think it is the reason now. It all has to do with Obama’s strong tilt towards the Palestinians, and his weakness in dealing with Iran and other Islamist dictatorships and organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the USA

Well said, fellow UCLA Bruin.

“He told us that were President Bush to be reelected, our children would not be free to practice Judaism.

I looked over at the large delegation from Oral Roberts, a Christian liberal arts college in Oklahoma, mortified that they came to help us only to be forced to sit through being scapegoated in a segment of two-minutes hate.”

Matthew, having lived in L.A., you’re probably familiar with black Republican radio talk-show host Larry Elder. Have you hear the clip of when Larry was talking to Cher and Cher is crying hysterically “If Bush is elected, women won’t have any rights!!”

Insane stuff that needs to be replayed and replayed.

Steven Miller was a Santa Monica High School student whom Larry had on his show numerous times to talk about the anti-conservative/anti-Republican bias at my old high school. He had a devil of a time getting the administration to allow Larry and David Horowitz speak on campus after leftist speakers were welcome with open arms.

He wrote a few columns of his experiences for Horowitz’s website.

He complained about his virulently biased government teacher. I had our daughter read his stories before she transferred to Santa Monica High (the first two years she attended a Catholic girl’s high in West L.A.). She ended up getting the same government teacher but transferred to another class after the first day after complaining the teacher spent the entire first class ranting against conservatives and Republicans. My older sister and Larry love each other and she talks to him on air often. She told Larry that Steven Miller’s old government teacher was still at it trying to indoctrinate her pupils … that it was so bad that her niece transferred out after only one day … guess all the bad publicity Samohi got faded away and they reverted back to form.

I’m reading Groseclose’s book on media bias. He postulates that if the media were truly unbiased, the average voter would vote like the average voter from Utah. I think it’s the same with our schools. If impressionable kids weren’t subject to all these educational authority figures getting up on their soapboxes, I think we’d have a more conservative electorate.

LukeHandCool (who tries to do his small part everyday influencing the opinions of coworkers, aquaintances, young people, etc.)

Never again, right? A lot, and maybe even most, Jewish Americans have, in fact, forgotten their ancestral heritage. Granted, appeals to emotion, semantics games, and pervasive indoctrination could be considered justification for suffering a mass delusion.

Then again, I would surmise that many American “Jews” are actually secular, despite their claims to the contrary. With that in mind, they are merely left-wing ideologues, generational progressives — rebels with a cause and without a clue.

[…] The odds of a NOBAMA Coalition victory tonight is ordinarily impossible. To the rescue comes Obama with all his booberies and lies at full mast. […]

Matthew, you are absolutely correct about Forman. The NJDC accused Koch of “shilling for the GOP” when he endorsed Turner. True, in the past 30 years there have been 3 times where Koch publicly endorsed a Republican (Reagan and Bush in 2004), but he endorsed Obama in 2008. The viciousness of the reaction shows among other things a refusal to deal with real issues. This is why it was so stupid to bring Forman on board. He will not identify any problems that need to be fixed; he will simply smear those who believe inconvenient truths for the administration. (I’m guessing that AttackWatch – which is reminiscent of NJDC’s Stop the smears in 2008 – was his brainchild.) This is an approach that would be good with true believers, but I suspect it will alienate fence sitters even more.

How long till the usual suspects start shopping around a rumour that Ed Koch is related the David and Charles?

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