The NYT today reports Many Florida Jews Express Doubts on Obama:
“The people here, liberal people, will not vote for Obama because of his attitude towards Israel,” Ms. Weitz, 83, said, lingering over brunch.
“They’re going to vote for McCain,” she said.
Ms. Grossman, 80, agreed with her friend’s conclusion, but not her reasoning.
“They’ll pick on the minister thing, they’ll pick on the wife, but the major issue is color,” she said, quietly fingering a coffee cup. Ms. Grossman said she was thinking of voting for Mr. Obama, who is leading in the delegate count for the nomination, as was Ms. Weitz.
At least the reporter, Jodi Kantor seems to have met the two progressive members of the club.
In the middle of the article, Kantor takes the unusual step of debunking many of the misconception about Sen. Obama that Jews seem to have.
Mr. Obama is Arab, Jack Stern’s friends told him in Aventura. (He’s not.)
He is a part of Chicago’s large Palestinian community, suspects Mindy Chotiner of Delray. (Wrong again.)
Mr. Wright is the godfather of Mr. Obama’s children, asserted Violet Darling in Boca Raton. (No, he’s not.)
Al Qaeda is backing him, said Helena Lefkowicz of Fort Lauderdale (Incorrect.)
Michelle Obama has proven so hostile and argumentative that the campaign is keeping her silent, said Joyce Rozen of Pompano Beach. (Mrs. Obama campaigns frequently, drawing crowds in her own right.)
Mr. Obama might fill his administration with followers of Louis Farrakhan, worried Sherry Ziegler. (Extremely unlikely, given his denunciation of Mr. Farrakhan.)
Of course if she'd chosen a different list of faults it wouldn't have been as easy to dismiss.
He has only two years of experience in the Senate.
He has no record of bipartisanship in his career.
He is friends with Rashid Khalidi.
He is the choice of Hamas.
One of his advisers until recently is the only American at Camp David who blamed Barak, not Arafat for the summit's failure.
He saw nothing wrong with Rev. Wright's sermons for twenty years until they became an issue.
The point of the article then, wasn't to illuminate a trend as much as it was to mock a portion of the population.
The one saving grace to the article was this bit of irony.
Younger Jews have grown up in diverse settings and are therefore less likely to be troubled by Mr. Obama’s associations than their elders, said Rabbi Ethan Tucker, 32, co-founder of a Jewish learning organization in Manhattan and the stepson of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. Rabbi Tucker said he had given money to Mr. Obama and would vote for him in the fall. “If association was the litmus test of identity, everyone would be a hopeless mishmash of confusion, or you’d have no friends,“ he said.
Senator Lieberman is expected to spend plenty of time in front of Jewish audiences, in Florida and elsewhere. A Democrat turned independent, an Orthodox Jew and one of Mr. McCain’s closest friends, Mr. Lieberman will promote Mr. McCain’s strong national security résumé and centrist stances.
Finally there's this:
Until now, Mr. Obama’s efforts to win over Jewish voters have been low-profile. He made a speech to Aipac, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, shortly after declaring his candidacy, but for months afterward, he concentrated his energies on Iowa and New Hampshire, not exactly hotbeds of Judaic life. Even as the primaries in New York, New Jersey and California approached, Mr. Obama left most of his outreach to intermediaries who met with small groups of community leaders.
Actually his outreach has been through surrogates who have launched a campaign to show that those Jews who oppose Sen. Obama are out of touch and ill informed. This article seems like one more of those efforts. Unfortunately, in this case, Sen. Obama's surrogate is a newspaper.
Please also see Judeopundit's take on this.
ps I would not use the pejorative Yiddish term in the title of the post, except that the profile is so condescending I could almost imagine the reporter putting that word into the mouth of one of her subjects.
Pillage Idiot had this take on the article:
If you read the piece I wrote on the hidden Jewish vote, you'll see a discussion of what Judith Weiss called "the condo wars." In 2004, this same group of older Jewish voters was fighting with each other, and the hostility directed at Bush voters was boiling over. Some of these Bush voters decided to shut up about it to avoid the hostility.
What interested me about today's article is that these older Jewish Floridians were more willing to discuss in public the possibility that they would commit heresy by voting for the Republican.
Have things changed that much in four years? Pillage Idiot also links to Ace who has the same misgivings about the article that I do (expressed more concisely).
Boker Tov Boulder was bothered by the same thing but actually did the work to back up all of the allegations.
Plus scroll down for reaction from Best of the Web Today.Posted by SoccerDad at May 22, 2008 6:21 AM | TrackBack