' In the nearly 80 years since President Franklin Roosevelt launched the New Deal with a pledge to "help the forgotten man," relations between American Jews and the Democratic Party have been as close as lips and teeth. Even as Jews prospered and assimilated into the mainstream of American life, most of them remained loyal to F.D.R.'s liberal vision and refrained from following the pattern of other affluent groups by shifting to the Republican Party. Over the course of the past 20 elections, 75 percent of the Jewish vote has on average gone to the Democratic presidential candidate. As the old saying goes, "Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans."
If further proof of this were needed, it was provided by the 2008 election of Barack Obama. On a key issue for many Jewish voters—support for Israel—the hawkish John McCain had an advantage over Obama, whose past associations with the anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the Israel-bashing Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi raised troubling questions. Yet, when the vote was tallied, Obama trounced McCain among Jews by a staggering 57-point margin.
"After decades of involvement in the civil rights movement by American Jews, Obama stirred deep emotions in the Jewish community," Bret Stephens, a deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, told us. "The black-Jewish alliance was shattered in the late 1960s, and Jews have yearned ever since to restore it. Jews felt good about voting for Obama, for not only were they voting for a guy they agreed with and liked, but they were also voting for a kind of redemption."
All this should give comfort to President Obama as his party heads into the fall's hotly contested mid-term elections and struggles to hold on to its majorities in the House and Senate. Faced with public frustration over the flailing economy, high unemployment, massive federal deficits, and out-of-control illegal immigration, Democratic candidates need all the help they can get. And although Jews represent a mere 4 percent of the American electorate, their political activism and fund-raising prowess give them leverage in important battleground states.
There's only one hitch. Today, a sizable number of American Jews are having some serious misgivings regarding Obama. Recent polls of the Jewish community reflect a significant decline in support from 2008, when 78 percent of Jewish voters pulled the lever for him. According to a recent McLaughlin & Associates poll, nearly 40 percent of Jewish voters disapprove of the president's handling of relations with Israel, and a majority of them would now consider voting for someone else for president.
These poll numbers do not begin to measure the depth of displeasure felt by many Jews over President Obama's performance. Their bill of particulars covers a wide variety of complaints, including the president's frosty behavior toward businessmen in general and Wall Street in particular. But what really appears to irritate American Jews is the president's roughhouse treatment of Israel. '
Saturday, 16 October 2010
'American Jews and President Obama - An in-depth look at what went wrong. More importantly, how it happened'
Jewish World Review has the details... Here's how the article starts, do read it all: