Shutdown Fallout And Jewish Vote
10/17/2013 - 12:37
Douglas Bloomfield

John Boehner and the Republicans ran up the white flag and the government began reopening this morning as experts began assessing the damage from the GOP's disastrous shutdown strategy. 

Standard & Poors said it cost the national economy $24 billion.  Economists report the shutdown will affect unemployment (up), business earnings and hiring plans (down), borrowing costs (up), consumer confidence and international economic standing (down).

The shutdown may be over for now, but the deal cut in the Senate this week is a temporary fix that merely kicks the proverbial can down the road, and until there is a new awakening on Capitol Hill, we could see a rerun in January when the spending bill has to be renewed and in February when we hit the debt ceiling once again.

Did anyone learn anything?  Will anything change?  That will depend on the extremists who created this crisis and whether they agree with Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) that "we're doing exactly the right thing," or with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) who called for a greater effort to find the middle ground.

As dysfunction and hyperpartisanship paralyze Washington, a host of Jewish issues – domestic and foreign, from those serving the elderly and the infirm to preventing Iran from going nuclear – are in peril.

One result of this crisis is that it will help keep Jewish voters solidly in the Democratic column for years to come. Another is what it portends about U.S. influence in the Middle East and globally, nuclear negotiations with Iran and the future of aid to Israel.

If the GOP continues to follow the lead of the Tea Party and the far right, it will become more radical, and Jewish interests will be fundamentally threatened by the rise of extremists who have no power to pass anything, only to block everything. 

As work resumes on passing a budget, Republicans are demanding cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, environmental protection, consumer safety, education and other programs championed by the Jewish community.  On other key issues, you can kiss goodbye to immigration reform, gun regulation and long-overdue critical repair of national infrastructure if the GOP remains inflexible on its hard right positions.

The Republicans' willingness to push to the brink of government default sent tremors through world markets and badly damaged the confidence of U.S. allies in Washington's leadership.

Nuclear talks with the Iranians began this week in Geneva, and Israel expects the United States to continue to stand firmly with it and keep up the pressure of sanctions and the threat of military force.  Israel is particularly worried that the Europeans may be too quick to weaken the sanctions without getting much in return, and it needs Washington to keep them on the reservation.

But government gridlock and lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis here inevitably diverts attention from the Iran confrontation; European and Russian leaders, watching an administration boxed in by congressional wing nuts, are less likely to follow the U.S. lead on Iran. Look for them also to try to play a more influential role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, where their sympathies do not lie with Israel.

The Tea Partiers and their allies are demanding further deep cuts in federal spending, and with their isolationist views foreign aid is an inviting target.  Israel is the largest single recipient of American assistance and is trying to negotiate a hefty increase; that is increasingly unlikely as the budget battles drag on; in fact, cuts to Israel's current allotment are possible.

In this post-shutdown-showdown environment, Republicans will find that being anti-Arab, anti-Iran, anti-Palestinian may appeal to a small core of pro-Likud hardliners, but it is not enough to attract most other Jewish voters. It will take a much more centrist approach on domestic issues; that may not be difficult for the Jewish Republican establishment but it is out of the question for the dominant libertarian, evangelical, Tea Party base of the party.

And that is what will keep Jews solidly in the Democratic column for years to come.

Comments

This is mish-mash of liberal talking points meshed together into one big incoherent attack on the Republicans.

It is reported already that Obama is considering easing sanctions against Iran. So meshing this idea---that somehow the government shutdown would adversely effect Obama's ability to counter the Iranian nuclear program has proven to be a hogwash. Ultimately Obama is going to do what Obama is going to do, and that is to continue his liberal approach to foreign policy and attempt to suck up to the Iranians like he attempted to do with the Putin, Hugo Chavez, Assad, Abbas, and the rest of the Arab world. That is a policy doomed to failure.

Greater damage will be caused to the US by ignoring the fiscal crises and continue to spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave (no offense to sailors on shore leave) than a government shut down aimed at averting this long-term damage. Obamacare will cost the US taxpayers an estimated TWO TRILLION DOLLARS in subsidized fees, but Bloomfield doesn't mention this or the fact that Obmacare did absolutely nothing to make healthcare more affordable to the average American. How can you shell out TWO TRILLION DOLLARS in subsidies yet fail to make healthcare more affordable to the average American?? You do this by passing legislation that ignores the key factors that increase the cost of healthcare---the high cost of medical malpractice insurance and a desperate need for tort reform.|

Bloomfield apparently is in favor of trying to bankrupt this country by continuing to spend without any restrictions. Bloomfield diatribe is typical liberal propaganda which ignores all of the realities in favor of some Utopian fantasy-land where bills never seem to come due. Social Security is going to be insolvent in 2033 if they don't agree to impose some needed changes. Obama's failure to sign an actual budget in 5 years is the real cause for these shutdowns as is his failure to negotiate with the Republicans (EVERY SINGLE PRESIDENT HAS FACED AN OBSTINATE OPPOSITION IN CONGRESS---SOMETIMES WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY). And it is due to Obama"s failure to sign a budget which is why this issue continues to be kicked down the road a few months at a time.

The primary drain on the US economy right now is Obamacare and the Republicans should be ashamed for caving in. As a Jew, I am always outraged when a list of left wing programs are touted as Jewish issues. As for real Jewish like Israel, Obama and the Dems have done more harm than good. What keeps the Jews solidly in the Jewish camp are lying Jewish politicians who are Democrats first and Jews somewhere down the road.

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