The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman dismisses Politico’s front page piece on Jewish disaffection with Obama by predicting that the Jews aren’t going anywhere. He claims that you can always find Jews to complain about something — “It’s kind of what we do” — and that “we hear this every few months: This is the year Republicans are going to make inroads with Jews!”
I can’t really disagree with the complaining crack — it was a constant theme going back to the 40 years in the desert with Moses. And no serious analyst is saying that a majority of Jews will support the GOP. The argument is that Obama will not do as well among the Jews from both a fundraising and vote-getting perspective, which would harm his reelection prospects.
Those points aside, there are two flaws with Waldman’s analysis. First, the Politico piece was not another op-ed piece by a Republican Jew arguing why Jews should switch parties, but a reported piece talking about grassroots and fundraising challenges that Democrats are facing in the Jewish community. And second, the argument Republican Jews — myself included — make is usually a predictive one: We suspect, with reason but not yet with certainty, that a particular Democratic presidential candidate will be unfriendly towards Israel. In making the argument for Jews to go against Obama, however, the behavior in question is not a prediction; it is already an unfortunate reality.