McCain Steps Up Outreach to Jewish Democrats

John McCain is going after the Jewish vote. He's attracting some major Democratic donors, including one who gave $80,000. to the DNC in 2000. Why? Israel.

Jewish Democrats are concerned about Obama for several reasons. While stumping in Iowa last year, Obama told Democratic activists, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”

Some Jewish voters interpreted the statement as a sign that Obama would be overly sympathetic to the Palestinian side in future peace negotiations with Israel. And some are concerned about a senior Obama adviser’s comments regarding the influence of American Jews on foreign policy. Merrill “Tony” McPeak, the former Air Force chief of staff, told the Portland Oregonian newspaper in 2003 that the political influence of the Jewish community had hampered efforts to negotiate peace in the Middle East.


Obama has also caused some alarm among Jewish Democrats by pledging to negotiate with leaders of nations that have taken hostile stances against Israel, such as Syria and Iran.

One state that will be tough for Obama if he loses its Jewish vote: Florida. McCain is hitting it big. According to one McCain fundraiser:

“In Florida there are a lot of people not happy with Obama’s stance with regards to Israel and regards to Cuba. We’re starting to see some significant people come over. “Democrats who are traditional large Democratic givers are coming over to our side."

....Jewish support is especially important in Florida, a crucial swing state where Obama trails McCain in recent polls. Jewish voters make up about 5 percent of the electorate in that state. Florida’s Jewish community is also a lucrative source of political fundraising.

McCain's fundraiser is trying to spin that Hillary supporters are going to McCain. Prominent Democrats deny it:

“I’ve talked to a lot of people in the past couple of days and I have not spoken to anybody who was supporting Hillary Clinton and who has indicated any likelihood of supporting McCain,” said Steve Grossman, a former co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a former chairman of AIPAC, who raised tens of thousands of dollars for Clinton this election cycle.

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    It's also important in PA.. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:16:56 PM EST
    Quick, name me the Democrat who won the WH without recieving the Jewish vote in the high 80's since Woodrow Wilson?  I do believe there was one.

    Many of them (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:47:17 PM EST
    See here:

    Jewish vote in Presidential Elections

    Only FDR and Johnson got upper 80s or more (up to 90%)


    Hmm. Well, I stand corrected. (none / 0) (#49)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:53:43 PM EST
    Someone told me that.  I guess they were wrong.

    Carter? (none / 0) (#10)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:27:05 PM EST
    I think so. I believe he won enough (4.00 / 1) (#17)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:32:54 PM EST
    of the evangelical vote to make up for it.  I could be wrong about that, but I don't think I am.

    I had read that no Democrat won (4.00 / 1) (#19)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:34:47 PM EST
    without the level of support you mention, but I figured that Carter would have been the least popular with Jews of the Democrats who got elected.

    Apparently, whomever told me that (none / 0) (#50)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:55:29 PM EST
    got it wrong.  See below.  I stand corrected.  

    But I was right. Carter did get the lowest (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:56:21 PM EST
    %age, among the winners.

    Wonder How Jewish Voters Will React (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:20:41 PM EST
    to Obama's outreach to the religious right. The combination of worry about his commitment to Israel and courting the far right evangelicals might lose him even more support.

    Well, this Jew is equally turned off (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:26:54 PM EST
    by both McCain and Obama, for many reasons, some having nothing to do with religion.

    I have decided that neither will get my vote in November.


    That's because of the "change"that's (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by zfran on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:28:44 PM EST
    a commin'

    I'm an old fuddy-duddy (5.00 / 8) (#16)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:30:51 PM EST
    I like experience and ability.

    Amen to that. (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Iphie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:09:57 PM EST
    She said ironically. Something that has bothered me for a long time is the number of people who Obama has surrounded himself with who are anti-Semitic. (Many of them are the same people who are also homophobic, which I find equally distressing.) At a certain point the company he keeps does become a problem. Most of the people I spend considerable time with share my values -- I think that's probably true with most people, including Obama.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:28:05 PM EST
    As a good liberal Jew, I find it difficult sometimes to tell the difference between people who are actually anti-semitic, and those who have been tarred as anti-semitic just for making some blunt statement about Israel.

    I mean, when Wes Clark said that "New York money people" were among those pushing the White House towards war with Iran, was he really being anti-semitic, or was it just a reference to the fact that there are a few Israel hawks who have a huge amount of fundraising power?


    Leaving aside the (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Iphie on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:06:30 AM EST
    conversation about anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money, I'm talking specifically about people like Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Meeks, McPeak, Brzezinski,* etc., who have made clearly anti-Semitic remarks. *And about Brzezinski -- it takes an enormous amount of, how shall I say, chutzpah for a Pole to claim that Jews are paranoid about anti-Semitism. Especially one who was born between the two World Wars and saw first hand the build-up to, and the destruction of almost all Polish Jews.

    I'd like to think (none / 0) (#89)
    by janarchy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:58:44 AM EST
    that Wes Clark wasn't being anti-semitic there, especially since his father's Jewish. But it is very hard to tell.

    AFAIK, NY money people are not (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:14:07 AM EST
    exclusively Jewish, nor is everyone who wants to bomb Iran  ;)

    Same here (none / 0) (#93)
    by janarchy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:31:14 AM EST
    It's just a question of being able to read between the lines. (Then again, I dislike people who get hysterical and play the anti-semite card as much as any other form of 'card')

    "NY money people" can also (none / 0) (#109)
    by FlaDemFem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:40:18 AM EST
    include the people invested in defense companies who would make lots of money out of a new war. Wall Street makes tons of money out of other peoples' misery. No reason to think Clark's statement refers to Jews unless you are one of those people who thinks Jews control all the banks and investment institutions. Then that person would be the anti-Semite, not Clark.

    How Jews will react (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by lynnebrad on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:40:07 AM EST
    I am a Jew. I support Obama. He will be a strong supporter of Israel, but also support negotiating which is something most American Jews support to end this never-ending cycle of violence.

    I don't think you can question his "Jewish" cred:

    1. One of his strongest supporters is Robert Wexler of Florida. He is as pro-Israel as anyone in the country and comes from a very Jewish district.
    2. I am from Chicago. Some of Obama's biggest supporters in Chicago are Jewish.

    Bottom line: when Jews learn about him and learn more about what other Jews support him, we will vote for him.

    Actually (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:21:26 PM EST
    I'm not sure if there's a smear here or if it's simply another case of W.O.R.M., but my understanding is that Obama didn't actually say "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinians," but that "nobody suffers more than the Palestinians from the actions of the Palestinian leaders."  Obviously a completely different point, if that's what he said rather than simply what he meant.

    To tie this into tonight's other threads, separation of church and state is a huge issue for Jewish voters, because there's so much historical precedent for governments suppressing the practice of the Jewish religion.  One reason Jews tend to recoil from the GOP is that talk about school prayer and other issues of that type really freaks us out.

    McCain certainly associates with all the wrong people on the Religious Right, but he probably comes across as non-threatening on a personal level because he has none of the religious zeal about him.  And with Obama making a conscious choice to go down that road and boast about his status as a "Committed Christian," I could see some Jewish votes bleeding away.  And it bugs me to think that there are Obama supporters who believe that any Jewish defections from Obama must be because they secretly believe he's a Muslim or whatever.

    There Is Always A Derogatory Reason Why A (5.00 / 10) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:24:52 PM EST
    person choses not to support Obama. It is never that a person could legitimately disagree with his words, his actions or his policies.

    I heard tonight on Fox that Obama and (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by zfran on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:25:38 PM EST
    Lieberman are at odds because Obama campaigned some for Lieberman in 2006, and now Lieberman when asked if Obama was a christen, Lieberman didn't answer yes quick enough.

    That didn't happen (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by daryl herbert on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:46:07 PM EST
    The Obama campaign is floating nasty rumors to discredit Lieberman, so he can't do as much damage before November.

    Sen. Obama plays rough.  When he wants to take someone down, he takes them down.  Just look at how hard he came at Sen. Clinton.

    Do you remember how his team smeared her as a racist for having the temerity to say that Pres. Johnson used his political power to push through civil rights laws?  Standard Obama Operating Procedure.  He has a mean streak.  It's very Nixonian.


    let's not (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:34:10 PM EST
    get off-topic to Lieberman and Obama. The topic is Jewish voters and Obama vs. McCain.

    Obama is "non-threatening" too (none / 0) (#78)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:04:19 AM EST
    Please go to the following link
    It will be clear that Obama's "religiosity" is "non-threatening" too. I would request all to be a little more informed about Obama before going with "the sky will fall if Obama gets elected" meme on any subject involving him.

    Quote from the article
    "Obama believes that religious conservatives need to accept the fact that America has evolved and government policies need to encompass all faiths because the country is no longer just a Christian nation"

    In Obama's own words
    "I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community."


    I've never attended a Christian church (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Josey on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:02:07 AM EST
    that demonized Jews, Catholics, a particular race, etc. not only from the pulpit, but in newsletters and CDs sold to raise money for the church based on Hate.
    WWOD? attend that church for 20 years, then claim ignorance about its teachings.
    WWJD?  leave that church.

    (OK, I admit WWJD is just an assumption) ;>


    In this country we have (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by FlaDemFem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:45:26 AM EST
    separation of church and state. Therefore, government policies should encompass all the citizens, not all faiths. Faith should not be a component of any government policy. To make faith a component of a government policy is un-constitutional. A constitutional lawyer should know that. Why doesn't Obama know that?

    I think there's no way around the fact... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:22:03 PM EST
    ... that Obama will underperform most recent Democrats among Jewish voters, but how well he limits the damage will be important in the states where they make a difference. I expect he'll do quite well among younger, secular Jews, but the older voters in Florida and the Orthodox sects that often vote in blocs in the New York area are likely to be a problem for him. Democrats may no longer like him very much, but Lieberman is a real asset for McCain in that regard.

    Florida (none / 0) (#98)
    by Coral on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:19:29 AM EST
    Having long family ties in Florida, I believe that Obama simply has to write off the state and look elsewhere for the votes to take the electoral college.

    It is a fairly conservative state, with pockets of liberal voters. This year, lots of Florida Democrats are completely disgusted with the national Democratic party. Jewish voters in Florida that I know, lean toward McCain. Israel is the main reason, but distrust of Obama's religious rhetoric is another.

    If he wins Florida in this election--even by a small margin, he will sustain a landslide victory nationwide.


    disenfranchisement (none / 0) (#105)
    by p lukasiak on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:24:26 AM EST
    One also has to wonder about the impact of Obama's efforts to disenfranchise Florida's voters -- Jewish voters favored Clinton over Obama by more than two to one, and Obama's efforts to keep them out of the convention -- and then his efforts to ensure that they are treated as only "half-voters" because of their support for Clinton -- may well have soured many Jewish voters on Obama (and Democrats in general)

    This is so upside down (5.00 / 7) (#6)
    by bjorn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:24:09 PM EST
    McCain with the Jewish voters, Obama with the Christian right...I am confused.

    Arn't we all. (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Rhouse on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:28:00 PM EST
    Well After All This Is The NEW Democratic Party. (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:29:57 PM EST
    In many ways, Obama has been an agent of change at least with regards to the make up of the Democratic Party.

    Not a change I believe in but unfortunately approximately half of the party and Dem leadership seems willing to go along with any thing that Obama wants.


    Controlling the Message (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by fctchekr on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:35:59 PM EST
    It's not at all inconceivable, at this point in the race to the White House, loyal long time Democrats may find it hard to believe anything Democratic party officials have to say.

    What's interesting is Obama actually needs a couple VPs, one to help with the Jewish and Latino problem in Fl, one to help with the working class whites in Appalachia and maybe another for the mid-eastern swing states. I don't think there's anyone person on his list that could possibly fill the bill, except maybe one...

    That is the unfortunate consequence of (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:59:34 PM EST
    multipandering.  You need so many more bodies than usual to keep it all in the air.

    Have mercy. (5.00 / 10) (#36)
    by eleanora on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:45:27 PM EST
    Hillary's only been out since Saturday, and already I'm getting totally creeped out by the way this is going. Religion everywhere--didn't we used to have a war going on or something? And I seem to dimly remember something about the economy.

    Amen. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:50:45 PM EST

    This is totally freakin' me out! (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Grace on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:01:28 PM EST
    I can't stand to see religion get mixed in with politics!  

    Just say "No!"  


    The religion issue (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by Coral on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:25:08 AM EST
    has been one of the major reasons I've never been drawn to Obama.

    Everytime I manage to talk myself into voting for him in November as the lesser evil, he does something that makes me weigh the option of voting third party as a protest.

    This election is one of the saddest I've experienced (other than 2000 with Gore's loss, which was the worst).


    The Jewish population may not (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by zfran on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:59:26 PM EST
    agree with Bush's policies, and McCain, while courting them, needs to assure them his policies are different. Obama has yet to really court this bloc and he'll paint McCain as being Bush.Don't underestimate the Jewish bloc...they have their own pipeline.

    Ugh. (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:06:03 PM EST
    To repeat what I said in a thread above:

    The position Obama articulated in the interview Jeralyn quoted is one that many, if not most  (I think it's most but I don't have a poll at hand) American Jews would agree with pretty much. I do, for example.

    The political wisdom (if there is any) to McCain's painting himself as a hard-line Likud-like "friend of Israel" for "our" benefit is that, as someone mentioned above, there are geographically concentrated blocks of Jews who do vote that way. Electorially, it may be smart.

    [Please don't mistake the views of the often-quoted  Jewish "leaders" for the views of American Jews in general.]


    Amen to that (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by fuzzyone on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 11:59:56 AM EST
    As a Jew, and a child of a holocaust survivor, I am thrilled to see a candidate for President who is interested in moving the United States back to a position where it can act as an honest broker in the middle east.  Bush has destroyed all U.S. credibility in the region and McCain would be worse if anything.  AIPAC does not represent American Jews.  And there are those trying to create an alternative, so let me put in a plug for J Street.

    Even as we speak it appears that Israel is engaged in negotiations with Hamas on some level.  (John Stewart had a great line the other night about how its okay to criticize Israel in Israel, but not here in the U.S.)


    Look (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:00:42 PM EST
    I'm not defending the GOP's cynical attempt to wrap themselves in the Israeli flag to woo Jewish votes, but using Israel policy to appeal to Jews is no different than using Cuba policy to appeal to Cubans.

    Democrats since Harry Truman have acknowledged our moral responsibility to support the state of Israel.  Now, you may see it as a fine line, but I actually see it as an extremely clear distinction between saying something like that, and saying something like "we must support Israel because it is the Holy Land," which would obviously be a church-state violation.

    I'm guessing you're responding to my comment... (1.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Addison on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:22:36 PM EST
    ...which was (I'm guessing) deleted because of what appeared to be over-generalizations about the Jewish population. And I have no problem with that (the deletion).

    You're holding your position in good faith. I just want to clarify that I don't see it as a fine line, but as a very, very smudgy one. So that was my point and the thought behind my comment.

    In (on-topic) regards to McCain's support of Israel, I imagine it's half-martial and half-Hagee pandering. I don't know how that will play out.


    the comment you are replying to (none / 0) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:02:42 PM EST
    was deleted. I found it offensive.

    It was also wrong in a key point. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:06:03 PM EST
    I have had many secular Jewish friends, and they also cared passionately about Israel.
    In fact, IIRC there was an important strain of Zionism which was secular.

    I believe that's correct. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Llelldorin on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:52:27 AM EST
    Jews are an ethnic group, as well as members of a religion. (That's why it makes sense to talk about "secular Jews" in the first place!)

    Among the many problems with "self-determination" as proposed after WWI is that it makes no provision at all for ethnic groups that aren't a majority anywhere. A major impetus for Zionism was simply to create an ethnically Jewish nation-state, because in a world of ethnically homogeneous nation-states Jews found themselves out of place nearly everywhere. (A major exception was the ethnically-diverse US, which is why so many Jews immigrated here!) The British made matters much worse in the 1910s and 1920s by supporting both Zionism and Palestinian self-determination, despite the fact that the two goals were entirely incompatible.


    Was that mine? (2.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Addison on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:08:33 PM EST
    If so, sorry. Though, why did you find it offensive? Obviously you have absolutely no need for a reason.

    Jewish women gave Kerry (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Iphie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:14:41 PM EST
    much stronger support than Jewish men (90% of elderly Jewish women and 88% of Jewish women under 30 voted for Kerry). I think his problems with women are going to compound his problems with Jews.

    Point of Clarification (5.00 / 4) (#80)
    by cdalygo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:14:25 AM EST
    It's not going to be only the Jewish or (even) Cuban vote that takes him down in Florida. It's going to be the entire state after the RBC fiasco.

    There's a price to be paid for running roughshod over folks.

    Targeting opposing demographic groups is a very (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Newt on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:46:05 AM EST
    tricky thing but I think Obama/Axelrod are taking the wise path of going for young evangelicals first.  The more they're exposed to McCain's and the radical right's message in this election cycle, the less likely we'll be able to change their minds later on.  The key item with a lot of the religious demographics is the communications channels.  The same is not so for the gay vote, mostly because we don't have leadership that communicates to us how we should vote.  

    Not to be too stereotyping, but evangelicals are known to be, let's say, stubborn in their beliefs.  If Obama can capture that "market" he's on the road to undermining the (potential) megachurch and underground religious network's messages against him.  Plus it opens up new fundraising opportunities, which he has to tap before the convention to show the DNC they chose the right candidate.  And hey, wouldn't it be sweet to use evangelical money to try to capture the Jewish and working class vote later on?  

    For better or for worse, the Democratic party has previously ignored communities of faith at our own peril.  If Obama is able to reach them and get their votes, fine.  I'm trusting that the momentum behind him (yup, the old Yes We Can movement) will be the impetus for progressive change even if the evangelicals are expecting something else.  What will evangelicals want?  The same thing they want from Republicans.  Money for votes.  I doubt there's any way to stop the so called faith initiatives at this point, so I'd rather the Dem party held the strings.  

    As far as gay rights go, it was the gay vote that took Clinton into his second term, and where did that get us?  Oh yeah, Defense of Marriage Act & Don't Ask Don't Tell (DOMA & DADT).  I'm taking my chances on this guy.  If I'm wrong, at least we have better communications nowadays to push for the changes ourselves.  

    Interesting comment (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Coral on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:33:55 AM EST
    Not sure I agree, but I appreciate your point of view.

    What bothers me is the faith progressive Obama supporters have in his eventually coming through with progressive policies despite many of his "Republican light" stands on issues...and his vagueness on many others.


    On gay rights... (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by northeast73 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:03:35 AM EST
    Dont Ask....that was not what BC wanted.  It was a compromise, and at least he got the issue discussed.  Blame the Reps and the military for it DADT being the best they got.

    It's a Queer as Folks world now (none / 0) (#113)
    by angie on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:16:29 PM EST
    which is hella different then what the world was like back in the 90s -- there was no "Will & Grace" on the tv then. DADT & DOMA were not what B. Clinton wanted, but they were political compromises that HELPED get this country to the place where it is now with civil unions & states legalizing same sex marriage, etc. Like it or not, some changes cannot just happen over night, some times they have to evolve -- DOMA & DADT, as flawed as they are, were the first steps, and helped prevent constitutional amendments outlawing same sex marriage.  I don't see how people cannot understand this.

    It's been said with some degree of truth (4.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:27:54 PM EST
    that very few of the elected governments of Israel would pass muster among certain Jewish American voters because they are not sufficiently pro-Israel.

    Ba'al you are chattering (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:36:54 PM EST
    and posting your unsupported opinions as truth. Stop now.

    Jeralyn the larger point is clear (none / 0) (#29)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:41:45 PM EST
    There is no doubt that McCain will attempt to peel off certain Jewish voters.  To a very limited extent he will undoubtedly succeed.

    The larger point is whether it is reasonable to attempt to mollify these voters by adopting positions that are not in the best interests of either Israel or the USA.

    I argue as a matter of principle that it is not.


    I think Bush Sr. is the last President who (none / 0) (#34)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:45:22 PM EST
    attempted to intervene against the unhealthy expansionist policies of Israel. Unfortunately he backed off, in the end.

    I guess you are buying into that anecdotal story (none / 0) (#5)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:22:59 PM EST
    in the New York Times about the "Jewish vote" in Florida that is contradicted by available polling.  

    As for Obama's statement that it is necessary to talk to all parties in the Middle East, that is sanity.  We have seen where the Bush/McCain approach is morally bankrupt and ineffective.  

    If some elements of the Joe Lieberman corps can't see this, too bad.

    Uh (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:29:15 PM EST
    Do you even realize Obama has vowed not to talk to Hamas?

    yep (none / 0) (#24)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:37:21 PM EST
    I disagree with that position.

    But I also suspect he won't bomb them.

    No such assurances with the other guy.


    Okay (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:51:11 PM EST
    So you acknowledge that when you referred to "Obama's statement that it is necessary to talk to all parties in the Middle East," you were fibbing about his position a little bit, right?

    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:06:32 PM EST
    But I also suspect he won't bomb them.

    No such assurances with the other guy.

    I'm not so sure Obama can't do more damage in the Middle East with his absence of understanding the region, and his numerous loose statements for what they need.


    so... (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by dws3665 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:39:51 PM EST
    reaching out to THOSE religious voters isn't part of his brilliant strategy?

    i get so confused. when is it brilliant to reach out to religious voters who do not share the party's values, and when is it not?


    At a guess (5.00 / 6) (#33)
    by Nadai on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:45:15 PM EST
    when Obama says it's brilliant.  Otherwise, it's not.  Unless tomorrow he says it is.  In that case, it was always brilliant, you just didn't know. </snark>

    This is exactly why I want Presidential candidates to have a long, verifiable record.  I have no interest in buying a pig in a poke.


    From Obama's own mouth (none / 0) (#21)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:35:42 PM EST
    Words, just words:

    Jeffrey Goldberg asked him: "Do you think that Israel is a drag on America's reputation overseas?" His answer:

    "No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy.

    So, Israel is a "constant wound," "constant sore."

    Uh (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:50:05 PM EST
    This, I am confident, is nothing but a smear.  While Obama's wording was slightly clumsy, it's clear that he was saying the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a "constant sore" that makes it harder to fix things in the Middle East, not that Israel itself is a constant sore:

    JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America's reputation overseas?

    BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable.

    The antecedent of "this constant sore" is unclear if that sentence is taken out of context.  But look at the rest of the quote.  He goes on to argue that "Israel has a security interest in solving this."  If "this" supposedly refers to Israel itself, what sense would the final sentence make?  It's clear that he's talking about the Palestinian situation.

    Google "obama constant sore."  The first hit is the interview where he actually uttered the quote in question.  Virtually all the other hits are right-wing websites trying to smear Obama by taking the quote out of context.


    Agreed (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:55:30 PM EST
    these are right wing smears and that's why I posted the direct interview quotes. Let's get back on topic and stop smearing Obama over his Israeli position.

    What is bizarre is right (none / 0) (#73)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:30:36 PM EST
    now Israel is negotiating with  Syria for an agreement for the Golan through Turkey.
    Talks with Syria to resume next week
    Prime minister's office trying keep scheduling details of meeting with Syrians under wraps, but Jerusalem officials tell Ynet representatives from both countries expected to meet in Turkey as early as next week. Fate of Shebaa farms may be on agenda
    Roni Sofer
    Published:     06.11.08, 01:29 / Israel News
    Official sources in Jerusalem told Ynet on Tuesday night that the negotiations between Israel and Syria will resume next week in Turkey.

    The al-Ar

    Meanwhile, McCain and the people who are hard line, missed the fact.  


    Yeah I tend to think (none / 0) (#82)
    by Salo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:21:28 AM EST
    that Obama is getting smeared with that "quote".

    He was clearly refering to the conflict rather than Israel.


    Well then, this is one more "gaff" his (none / 0) (#46)
    by zfran on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:51:44 PM EST
    staff will have to fix before McCain grabs hold.

    Shrug (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:57:01 PM EST
    I don't think you can ever stop the other party from pulling quotes out of context if they want to.  I'd just like folks who are more reasonable than the GOP base to understand the reality of what was said.

    I'm a Clinton supporter who has a great many differences with Obama, but it burns me up to see him unfairly portrayed as anti-Israel.  That's out of bounds.


    I don't agree that it's a gaffe (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:02:52 PM EST
    (and you know I'm no big fan of Obama at this point)

    It's a line that can sound bad out of context. But that's all it is.

    The position he's articulated in the interview Jeralyn quoted is one that many, if not most  (I think it's most but I don't have a poll at hand) American Jews would agree with pretty much. I do, for example.

    The political wisdom (if there is any) to McCain's painting himself as a hard-line Likud-like "friend of Israel" for "our" benefit is that, as someone mentioned above, there are geographically concentrated blocks of Jews who do vote that way. Electorially, it may be smart.


    Whether Obama was referring to (none / 0) (#67)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:12:19 PM EST
    Israel as a "constant sore" or the Israeli Palentinian conflict as a "constant sore," the word choice is offensive and completely devalues longheld traditions and beliefs which gave rise tot he conflict.

    Now back to Obama and McCain and the Jewish votes.


    Gosh that makes me bitter. (none / 0) (#26)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:38:43 PM EST
    Can you find a link? When was this?

    The correct link to the (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:51:09 PM EST
    Goldman interview is here. I deleted the comment with a link to a biased take on the interview. He said:

    BO: I think that the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience. I know that that there are those who would argue that in some ways America has become a safe refuge for the Jewish people, but if you've gone through the Holocaust, then that does not offer the same sense of confidence and security as the idea that the Jewish people can take care of themselves no matter what happens. That makes it a fundamentally just idea.

    That does not mean that I would agree with every action of the state of Israel, because it's a government and it has politicians, and as a politician myself I am deeply mindful that we are imperfect creatures and don't always act with justice uppermost on our minds. But the fundamental premise of Israel and the need to preserve a Jewish state that is secure is, I think, a just idea and one that should be supported here in the United States and around the world.


    When I visited Ramallah, among a group of Palestinian students, one of the things that I said to those students was: "Look, I am sympathetic to you and the need for you guys to have a country that can function, but understand this: if you're waiting for America to distance itself from Israel, you are delusional. Because my commitment, our commitment, to Israel's security is non-negotiable." I've said this in front of audiences where, if there were any doubts about my position, that'd be a place where you'd hear it.

    In context, as to the part quoted in the comment above:

    JG: What do you make of Jimmy Carter's suggestion that Israel resembles an apartheid state?

    BO: I strongly reject the characterization. Israel is a vibrant democracy, the only one in the Middle East, and there's no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn't advance that goal. It's emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it's not what I believe.

    JG: If you become President, will you denounce settlements publicly?

    BO: What I will say is what I've said previously. Settlements at this juncture are not helpful. Look, my interest is in solving this problem not only for Israel but for the United States.

    JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America's reputation overseas?

    BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I'm not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that's the safest ground politically.

    I think any rational person can see that the wound (none / 0) (#37)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:46:33 PM EST
    in question is the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.  There is lots of blame to go around and an open wound is a pretty good way to describe the status quo.  Unquestioned support of any Israeli policy a la Bushco is probably not going to lead to an amelioration of the problem.  

    But that is not what Obama said, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:47:41 PM EST
    according to the article.. but it is, of course, What Obama Really Meant.

    I stand by the quote (none / 0) (#41)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:49:55 PM EST
    He said it in response to the question about "Israel."    

    Not correct (none / 0) (#95)
    by lynnebrad on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:47:14 AM EST
    Befuffled voter:

    If you read the full context of the interview as Jeralyn has reprinted below, you will see you are mistaken in your interpretation. It is crystal clear he is referring to the situation in Israel and not Israel. Read below and you will see how supportive he is of Israel.


    Baall, you are off topic (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:53:02 PM EST
    and trying to redirect the conversation to Israel and policy. That's not the topic here. It's McCain and Obama courting the Jewish vote. Period.

    Whiplash... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Addison on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:45:23 PM EST
    ...it's a violation of democracy and the principles of the Democratic party to specifically  go after the Christian right but Obama must woo Jewish voters (or, as stated above, get a VP to help with the "Jewish problem") away from McCain or else he's not a good candidate.

    Pick one.

    No (5.00 / 6) (#47)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:52:47 PM EST
    Completely false choice.

    As I said in the other thread, you can reach out to Jewish voters without waving a Torah around.  No one is arguing that there is something wrong with the mere fact of targeting a religious demographic.  What's wrong is the manner in which you choose to target that demographic.

    For example, boasting about what an important place religion will have in your administration ought to be off the table.


    Mischaracterization of the discussion (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:58:13 PM EST
    McCain is doing the wooing.  Obama is doing the losing of (another) traditionally strong Dem constituency.

    No one is arguing that Obama should bring Judaic religious principles into the governing process, which is exactly what makes people wary of his latest 'faith-based' efforts with Christian groups.


    Not to be too PC but... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Knocienz on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:30:07 PM EST
    "Jewish problem" ?!?
    You might want to reconsider using that particular phrase.

    That type of reference is a lot worse  than most any mere religious or geo-political Israel related issue.


    It was a quote from an above comment... (none / 0) (#74)
    by Addison on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:30:47 PM EST
    ...just to avoid any confusion.

    I'm jealous! (none / 0) (#70)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:26:27 PM EST
    May I whine, affectionately, to my Jewish friends here, and ask them:  Can you teach us atheists and agnostics what WE need to do to be courted, especially considering there are more of us than you in the U.S. (4% vs. 1.7%, and that's not counting 12% of "nothing in particular)?  I want to be pandered to, too.  Can we join forces?  The Unitarians let us use their space, but between you and me, I don't think they really like us. ;-)

    Awww, we think you're worshipful enough... (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Addison on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:31:53 PM EST
    Plenty of atheist and agnostic... (none / 0) (#77)
    by Alec82 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:56:16 PM EST
    ...Jews.  In fact I would say maybe the majority of them that I know.  

     Courting Jewish voters isn't just about courting Jewish voters, though.  The Jewish vote and the gay vote are comparable (and of course overlapping at points), both in number and in commitment to the Democratic Party.  It is also about sending signals to moderates and independents.  

     Most of these voters pay very close attention to the stands of candidates on issues important to them and anticipate nuance.  I expect Senator Obama to carry them as most Democratic presidential candidates have.  


    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by cdalygo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:20:55 AM EST
    You should not expect Obama to carry gay voters like recent democratic candidates. McGurkin was the first of many final straws with us. Similarly his stating that his opposition to gay marriage rests with his religion. Nor are many of us comfortable with his associates seemingly close contacts with Nation of Islam.

    Many of us feel that if we are going to vote Republican talking points, we should pick the real thing and not lose the party in the process.

    Moreover, I suspect that some secular Jews feel the same way. Yes, we need to place some limits  on Israel's influence over US foreign policy. On the other hand what passes for anti-Israel politics among many progressives is the same Antisemitism that has always plagued the left.  


    Well, your evidence is largely... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:36:45 AM EST
    ...anecdotal.  Obama won SF, Sacramento and a host of other gay-friendly metropolitan areas with large gay populations.  Additionally, this gay voter voted for him.  So I assume the 25% or so of the gay vote who went for GWB (in his second term no less) are lost causes anyway.

     As far as secular Jews, I have seen no indication that anyone apart from the frantic conservatives are upset with Obama.  

     The same anti-Semitism that has always plagued the left? Israel's behavior is unacceptable, and that has nothing to do with antisemitism.  There is nothing equivalent to European antisemitism in the US, on any meaningful scale.  

     These are all right wing talking points.  It will not be enough to sway one of the most committed bloc of Democratic voters to turn their loyalty to McCain.


    nope (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by sarahfdavis on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:15:20 AM EST
    the majority of us sf homosexuals don't like obama. we overwhelmingly supported clinton. obama avoids any links with the community. gavin newsom raised money for obama but obama made it clear there were to be NO PHOTOS of him ever taken with the mayor of gay marriage.

    Again.... (none / 0) (#96)
    by Alec82 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:58:03 AM EST
    ...I would not purport to speak for the majority of "us homosexuals," including those like myself.

     Vote for McCain, if you wish.  Nothing (and no one) is stopping you.


    Are we next not allowed to criticize our party... (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by BoGardiner on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:21:35 AM EST
    And ask that our vote not be taken for granted...

    And pass on, to those who would listen, the important information as to why, precisely, our enthusiasm for campaigning and donating has waned to slim or nonexistent...

    And for some -- to express their real fear and sadness that they may find their hand simply physically unable to pull the lever for the top of the ticket...

    ...without efforts to quell our voices by people "explaining" to us in patronizing tones that Republicans are worse than Democrats?

    How about taking all that energy and redirecting it a more useful direction, like explaining to Obama people what we're saying about how to improve their policies and message?


    Those too low info to "get it" (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by BoGardiner on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:32:53 AM EST
    The list is getting awfully long, don't you think?

    First anyone over 40...
    Then those without college degrees...
    Then whites...
    Then women...
    Then blue-collar workers...
    Now secularists and Jews...

    There's a name for someone who responds to a pattern like this by blaming each consecutive group rather reflecting on what it says about himself.

    The narcissistic and exclusionary tone of the neo-Democratic campaign is an ominous and profoundly polarizing one.  We are deeply worried and it is crucial that we are heard by our party.


    He has a "gay problem"... (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by northeast73 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:13:20 AM EST
    ...many of us have been troubled by Obama for a some time, although this gets little attention by the media (big surprise)

    Meeks and Mcclurksy for one.

    Obama has consistenly been careful NOT to discuss gay rights, marriage, etc in front of particular "urban" crowds.  Many of us int he gay community know that this is because many blacks are VERY homophobic and he did not want to alientat them.  Thanks for pandering to black homphobes, Obama.  

    Hillary won the gays.  And yes, McCain will win this one.


    This really worries me also (none / 0) (#110)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 09:43:34 AM EST
    Sickens me too! It is the backbone of the Democratic Party that we seek equality for all.  Homophobia, sexism, lack of separation of church and state within the Democratic party will all shatter the party's backbone.  There is no need to do any of this either.   The Democratic party doesn't need to follow the Republican party down the trail they blazed but it's looking like the Dems will and they will lose their true religion in the process.  How sad, but you can't stop people from doing what they are determined to do.

    Obama has to be careful (none / 0) (#83)
    by ajain on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:24:37 AM EST
    Isn't it curious that Obama has a problem with some women, Jews, Latinos, older Americans and blue-collar Americans?

    There is an article in today's WaPo that says there is a potential Gay problem that is waiting in wings. Of course another appearance with Donnie McClurkin will hurt, but so will Sam Nunn.


    Apparently Nunn fought hard to keep gays out of the military and he now wants to 'reconsider' "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

    Why the super-delegates picked Obama over Clinton, in terms of electability, I will never fully understand?

    Funny about that because (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by janarchy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 01:03:23 AM EST
    I tried to bring up that very subject to someone else today and all they did was give me the It's Never Obama's Fault and How Dare You Say He's Guilty By Association b.s. Because apparently no matter what you say, it's just Not True in Obamaworld.

    Sorry about the grammer in the last line (none / 0) (#84)
    by ajain on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:25:18 AM EST
    Why the super-delegates picked Obama over Clinton, in terms of electability, I will never fully understand.

    Money. N/T (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by LoisInCo on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:42:26 AM EST
    The didn't (none / 0) (#101)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:42:01 AM EST
    pick Obama based on electability. That part is obvious. It was because of money or some other reason.

    Here's an Israeli hardliner panel (none / 0) (#87)
    by rjarnold on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:45:43 AM EST
    that gives an in-depth look on why they don't like Obama as much as McCain.


    I think that the main thing that will hurt Obama with the Jews is that he is connected to so many people that have said anti-Israel and anti-semetic comments like Wright, Brzyzenski, Phleger, and others. He is still winning the Jewish vote though.

    I actually think Obama is good on the Israel issue since he seems really even-handed on it. This was one of the only issues that I liked Obama more than Clinton on.

    Obama and Israel (none / 0) (#104)
    by lgm on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:24:07 AM EST
    "Nobody suffers more than the Palestinians" is one of the things that attracted me to Obama.  It's so true and so hard for a US pol to say.  Hillary Clinton also used to be honest about the middle east -- until she ran for Senate in New York.  Her sudden flop to the AIPAC position turned me off to her (being a New York Jew) and kept me turned off.

    I'm disappointed that Obama too is running in the AIPAC direction.  I think it will lose him more votes for his obvious pandering than it gains in hard right Jews.