One reason that the Republicans are losing is that they don’t understand why people do not vote for them. Don Feder of GrasstopsUSA.com has a post, which is being echoed by other conservatives, which writes off GOP attempts at attracting the Jewish vote as unsuccessful because “dumb Jews” don’t vote as he things we should. As with the GOP losses nationally this year, the repulsion towards the Republican Party felt by the vast majority of Jewish voters has nothing to do with being dumb as Feder claims. The problem is the Republican message.
Republicans repeat their scare tactics so many times that it appears they actually believe what they say. Feder begins (before getting to the point where he writes off Jews as being dumb):
Back in the 1980s, during the euphoria of the Reagan-era, Neo-cons like Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol predicted a seismic shift in Jewish voting patterns.
Once American Jews discovered that voting Republican was crucial for the survival of the Jewish state, they’d naturally align themselves with the party that actually believes in national security, we were assured.
Their argument, going back at least to the 1980′s, is that we must vote for Republicans or Israel is doomed. Some neoconservatives buy this argument, but the vast majority of Jewish voters do not. It appears that Israel has actually survived under Democrats as well as Republicans. Feder’s argument is a corollary of the argument that we must vote for Republicans to be safe from terrorism. Does Feder think that all those living in New York and Washington, D.C, the major targets of terrorism in recent years, are also voting Democratic because they are dumb?
Republicans risk remaining a minority party as long as they pursue a foreign policy which increases the risks of terrorist attacks, and which undermines our national security. Threats that Israel will be destroyed if Democrats are in office fall in the same category as other Republican threats that we will be killed by terrorists if Democrats are elected, that Democrats will take away people’s guns and bibles, or this year that Obama will redistribute the wealth. Republicans are not going to receive the support of Jewish voters, along with other educated voters, as long as they resort to such scare tactics.
Feder quotes a survey on the attitude of Jewish voters to mistakenly conclude that “a significant segment of the Jewish community either doesn’t give a damn about Israel or is delusional.” A more realistic explanation is that Jewish voters did not base their votes upon Israel as they didn’t buy for a second the arguments that Israel would be any safer with John McCain as president. If anything, Israel, along with the rest of the world, would be less safe with John McCain in office. This left Jewish voters free to vote against Republicans based upon the many other issues where they are wrong.
Feder then resorts to the same McCarthyist tactics we have seen from the Republicans (and some Democrats). The attacks based upon distortions of Obama’s relations to people such as Reverend Wright have long been debunked, and those who resorted to such repulsive tactics were justifiably the ones that lost support, but in the primaries and the general election. As long as the Republicans continue to practice McCarthyism of this type they will have considerable difficulty receiving the support of Jewish and other educated voters.
If we are considering associations, Obama’s associations with people whose political views he has denounced is irrelevant. The choice of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff provides far more meaningful evidence of the actual policies to be expected from an Obama administration.
The Republican Jewish Coalition should close its doors. Its budget, and anything else the GOP spends on wooing Jewish voters, should be equally divided between building more Orthodox Jewish day schools (thereby encouraging the Orthodox to have more children) and transporting evangelical Christians to the polls on Election Day.
That would do more to help Israel and to assure Jewish survival than the money wasted quadrennially on trying to bring a message of reason to the mega-meshugeneh.
He is half right. It is a waste of money for Republicans to seek the Jewish vote as long as they pursue extremist policies, and as long as they practice scare tactics and McCarthyism which alienate educated voters. Rather than writing that Jewish voters are dumb, delusional, or meshugeneh Republicans need to reassess both their policies and their tactics.