WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Across the United States, Jewish community professionals are honing their skills of suasion, preparing to deal with a new crop of lawmakers who are unfamiliar with Jewish organizational priorities -- and who are likely to be unenthusiastic once they’re in the know.
This season of anti-incumbent sentiment, much of it swelling from the political right, presents the likelihood of a Republican takeover of at least one house of Congress. The GOP needs 39 seats to win in the House of Representatives; pollsters are predicting gains of 17 to 80 seats.
Jewish Republicans are lining up to disavow one of their party's congressional candidates - Rich Iott, who's running for a House seat in Ohio and is a “tea party favorite,” according to the Atlantic, which broke the story.
My story this week on Jewish Republicans and the Tea Parties is generating a lot of talk. And some of it is about stuff I missed, or didn't get to because of space.
A number of correspondents challenged the claim by Tea Party activists that this is all about fiscal responsibility, not at all about the “values agenda” issues that have traditionally made most Jewish voters nervous.
A new poll supports their contention; according to the Public Religion Research institute, rank-and-file Tea Partiers are pretty much indistinguishable from the Christian right core constituency.
As movement gains steam and plans minority outreach, concern in GOP circles.
James D. Besser
As the Tea Party wave sweeps across the nation’s political waters, Jewish Republicans are increasingly worried that the movement could wash away their hopes of winning over Jewish voters — even as leaders of the insurgency talk about expanded outreach to minorities, including Jews.
It’s no secret that Americans are furious about an economy mired in unemployment, a federal deficit that will burden our children and grandchildren, big money lobbying run amok and political paralysis in Washington. This year’s Tea Party insurgency reflects those legitimate concerns.
But history teaches that such movements — leaderless, unstructured and built on a foundation of rage — can turn to scapegoating and vilification, with Jews being a traditional target.
Buffalo millionaire, Republican gubernatorial nominee, not likely to put together winning coalition in state, experts say.
Assistant Managing Editor
The upset victory of Buffalo developer and Tea Party activist Carl Paladino in Tuesday’s Republican primary for governor over Rick Lazio is likely to solidify the Democrats’ most crucial voting blocs — including Jews — and drive most independents into the Democrats’ camp as well in November’s election, observers say.
In the religious world, there has been much discussion over the past few years, and rightly so, of the struggle between what sociologists like to call the “commanding presence” and the “sovereign self.” The “commanding presence” is an outside source of authority- in the larger religious sense, God, or in a lesser religious sense, rabbis. The “sovereign self” is the autonomous individual, who chafes at being told what to do.