web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

More On That Old Democratic Treadmill


Media-Monitor-logo

The last couple of columns, both of which focused on Jewish voting habits in presidential elections, inspired some spirited responses from readers.

First, several respondents took issue with the Monitor’s citing the 1980 Reagan-Carter election as the best evidence that a Republican presidential candidate will always face an uphill battle among Jewish voters when running against a Democrat – even if the Democrat is an incumbent with an undistinguished record and a less than friendly demeanor toward Israel.

The 1972 election, argued those readers, was an even stronger example of mindless Jewish liberalism. The Monitor, reflecting back on the level of Jewish support for the ultra-liberal dove George McGovern over the incumbent president, Richard Nixon, was inclined to agree, and said so in a follow-up column.

But a bunch of readers reacted to that column by nominating the 1984 election as the one that should stand above all others in the annals of Jewish electoral infamy. And those readers also have a point.

Actually, the Monitor touched on the 1984 election a number of years ago, and it warrants a repeat look.

A majority of American Jewish voters had deserted Jimmy Carter in 1980 – with just 45 percent voting for Carter, 39 percent choosing Carter’s Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan, and 16 percent opting for independent candidate John Anderson. This led to speculation that the Jewish community perhaps was finally moving away from its longtime loyalty to the Democratic Party and thus rendering obsolete Milton Himmelfarb’s famous quip that “Jews earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.”

It was not to be. Jews would flock home to the Democrats in 1984. The Democratic nominee, Walter Mondale, was a former senator from Minnesota who more recently had served as Jimmy Carter’s vice president. Mondale had compiled a pro-Israel voting record in the Senate, but there were questions raised during his tenure as vice president about the depth of his commitment. He never publicly criticized any of the Carter administration’s Mideast policies that many American Jews found so troubling – and worse, seemed to share Carter’s instinctive need to blame Israel for all manner of wrongdoing.

According to Ezer Weizman and Moshe Dayan, both of whom authored accounts of their intimate involvement in Israel’s negotiations with Washington during the Carter years, Mondale was a constant thorn in the side of the Israelis.

Dayan was particularly scathing, describing one meeting at the White House with senior American officials, Carter and Mondale included, that amounted to a non-stop scolding of Israel. Carter berated Dayan and his fellow Israeli diplomats for being “more stubborn than the Arabs” and putting “obstacles on the path to peace.”

If anything, wrote Dayan, Mondale was worse than Carter: “Our talk lasted more than an hour and was most unpleasant. President Carter…and even more so Mondale, launched charge after charge against Israel.”

In fact, Dayan added, Mondale could barely restrain himself: “Whenever the president showed signs of calming down and holding an even-tempered dialogue, Mondale jumped in with fresh complaints which disrupted the talk.”

Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, was never shy about his affinity for Jews and Israel, which went back decades. The Nazi death-camp newsreels he viewed at the end of World War II had an especially profound effect. “From then on,” he said, “I was concerned for the Jewish people.”

In his memoirs Reagan declared, “I’ve believed many things in my life, but no conviction I’ve ever had has been stronger than my belief that the United States must ensure the survival of Israel.”

Under Reagan, U.S. aid to Israel, both economic and military, rose to new heights, as did the countries’ strategic cooperation. Notwithstanding a series of policy disagreements between the Reagan administration and the governments of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli journalists Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman dubbed the Reagan years the “Solid Gold Era” in U.S.-Israel relations.

Once again, however, most American Jews in 1984 were concerned above all else with a liberal political agenda – preserving abortion rights, keeping prayer out of public schools, etc. Accordingly, nearly seven out of ten Jewish voters pulled the lever for Mondale, even as their fellow Americans were reelecting Reagan 59 percent to 40.6 percent, forty-nine states to one.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “More On That Old Democratic Treadmill”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
You are looking at an "armed insurgent" and not a terrorist, according to the White House.
Obama Wins War on Terror By Saying It Doesn’t Exist [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Israeli-flag

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

Rabbi Berel Wein

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Sheldon Silver

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists

Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/more-on-that-old-democratic-treadmill/2011/08/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: