WASHINGTON (JTA) – Eric Cantor has spent a lifetime relishing in wearing the other hat.
Among Jews, the Republican congressional whip from Richmond, Va., likes to play the genteel Southern conservative, the posture that won over his wife, a socially liberal banker from New York.
Among southerners, he’s the nice Jewish boy who belongs to an Orthodox synagogue and graduated from Columbia Law School, but who has an easy familiarity with NASCAR, country music and evangelical beliefs.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat who has made no secret of his desire to see the Republicans retake Congress, endorsed Staten Island GOP challenger Michael Grimm on Wednesday.
Hikind said the decision had nothing to do with the “Jewish list” controversy last spring when Democrat incumbent Michael McMahon fired a spokeswoman who spoke in an interview about “Jewish money” collected by Grimm.
“He apologized for that,” Hikind said. “It was cleared up.”
Last week Orthodox Union leaders scrambled to make it known they had not endorsed Eric Schneiderman, the Democrat running for state attorney general, after a Schneiderman supporter's ad featured an OU press release about meeting the candidate.
Think Washington is gridlocked today? Wait until January, when the new Congress takes over.
Bitterly polarized politics and an environment in which compromise is a four letter word promise even more paralysis when the next Congress convenes and President Obama starts the second half of his term with even more Capitol Hill tsuris.
Upset that Republican Carl Paladino disavowed portions of the speeches he made at two Brooklyn synagogues on Sunday, Rabbi Yehuda Levin on Wednesday withdrew his support for the candidate.
“If he continues on this path, not only can’t I vote for him, but I will call on all religious people to write in ‘morality’ or something like that [on the ballot],” said Rabbi Levin in a phone interview.
The Orthodox Union doesn’t endorse candidates. So you can understand the zeal of OU leaders in getting the word out about what they see as a misleading statement from a supporter of attorney general candidate Eric Schneiderman.