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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Senator Obama's Jewish Problem

It is much like the problem he has with a percentage of disgruntled Clinton supporters, namely women. Women do not trust Senator Obama, and believe that the media's fawning profiles and interviews with him were, in some way, sexist. Senator Obama gave a speech to AIPAC last week in which he assured the lobbying group that he believed in an undivided Jerusalem with them in control of it. Twenty-four hours later, he flipped on the issue when Palestinians raised a stink. The Hill today reports on part of the fallout that has likely come from that flip-flop:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is attracting elite Jewish Democratic donors who backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and are concerned about Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) stance toward Israel, say McCain backers who are organizing the effort to court Democrats.

McCain has already had several fundraising events with Jewish Democrats in Washington and Florida, say his supporters.

He also has the backing of Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), who made history as the first Jewish vice presidential candidate and has recently raised questions about Obama’s foreign policy vision for the Middle East.

Stephen Muss, the Florida developer, is the biggest Democratic donor and fundraiser to pledge his support for McCain and the Republican National Committee, said a GOP official. Muss has given tens of thousands of dollars to help Democratic candidates in recent years, including $80,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and CQ MoneyLine.

Muss did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

“Many Jewish Democrats are sensing there is such an existential threat to Israel that you have to vote for an individual who strongly supports the U.S.-Israel relationship,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), chairman of the GOP’s Jewish Victory Coalition.

Cantor said McCain held a fundraising breakfast with Republican and Democratic Jewish donors last week at the Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“The playing field is wide open for John McCain as far as attracting Jewish support,” he said.
Cantor said Muss would help bring more Jewish Democratic donors in South Florida over to McCain.

“He’s an influential player,” said Cantor. “From my knowledge of his influence in South Florida, that’s significant.”

Brian Ballard, a prominent McCain fundraiser, said that several major Jewish Democratic donors have said they will join McCain’s camp. ...

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.

Jewish Democrats are concerned about Obama’s stance toward Israel, and many big donors from this group supported Clinton. McCain has moved aggressively in recent days to win their allegiance since Clinton dropped her White House bid. ...

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.

This is the crux of Senator Obama's problem. While he attracts youth voters and black voters, he cannot seem to make harder inroads into other demographics. On May 7th, Paul Begala uttered an infamous line with raised the ire of Donna Brazille, whim he was sparring with:

"We cannot win with egg heads and African-Americans."

In an election, every demographic needs to be targeted, even if they are not of your party. Naturally, you will reach out to your main base first, then to those from other parties or ideological stances. But Senator Obama outreach is paltry at best, and he is content to roll through the general election with two demographics he feels he has a firm grip on. While blacks will most certainly turn out for him, the youth will probably not be there for him. They have never been all that much of a factor in the general election.

Senator McCain has launched an outreach to female Clinton supporters. He is gathering Jews with the help of Joe Lieberman and with their distrust of Senator Obama. They are right to distrust the man. He has said he will negotiate with our enemies, directly, with no pre-conditions. (Only recently did he try to walk the dog back on the pre-conditions pledge, and it was done in the run up to his AIPAC speech.) Senator Obama is not fooling the people right now. That is evident with those that are walking away from him. And mark our words, more will once the general election seriously gets going.



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