In search of Jewish votes for Bush


Noam Scheiber in The New Republic has a good account of the Bush—Cheney campaign's efforts to woo Jewish votes. He describes it as highly sophisticated. Just one highlight:

...even if John Kerry, who gets a stellar rating from aipac, is a reliable supporter of Israel, and even if he says he'd prosecute the war on terrorism aggressively, there are structural forces within the Democratic Party that make a Kerry administration dangerous. At just about every Jewish—themed event I attended this week——and there were multiple events each day——someone has drawn attention to the rise of the antiwar, anti—Israel left within the Democratic Party. Usually, the conversation begins with Michael Moore, who has left a long trail of anti—Israel comments, continues on to and former supporters of Howard Dean, and ends with the observation that, in recent years, it has been the far left of the Democratic Party, not the far right of the Republican Party, that has been awol on votes in Congress regarding Israel. "That's going to be a major theme going into the stretch run," says one Republican strategist. "The point is, who do you surround yourself with? ... [With the Kerry] campaign, the focus is on Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter." One Jewish Republican close to the White House, who occasionally serves as a Bush campaign surrogate, told me he makes this pitch explicitly. "Even if Kerry means everything he says about Israel," he tells Jewish audiences, "the question is whether his constituency——today's Democratic Party——would really let him go there." 

There are signs this strategy is working. A leader of a major Jewish organization told me, "After the Democratic convention, they may well have driven Jews into the Republican camp.... I was there. I saw the reaction ... to seeing the whole thing revolve around Michael Moore." Others attribute the increasing willingness of young Jews to vote Republican——Republican pollster Frank Luntz has data suggesting that only 60 percent of Jews under 35 vote Democratic——to a reaction against campus anti—Israel and antiwar activism. 

Long but worthwhile.

Posted by Thomas  9 4 04