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May 4, 2015 / 15 Iyar, 5775
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Jewish GOPers Ponder Party’s Future Course In Wake Of Romney Defeat

Prominent Jewish Republicans like Fred Zeidman are looking past last week's defeat.

Prominent Jewish Republicans like Fred Zeidman are looking past last week's defeat.

WASHINGTON – The Republican Party as a whole is reconsidering how it might have done better in an election that saw the party fail to win the White House and suffer modest losses in Congress, and Jewish Republicans and conservatives are coming forward with their own insights.

“There will be a lot of very frank conversations between our organization and its leadership and the leadership within the party,” Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said last week in a conference call that otherwise addressed gains that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to have made among Jewish voters.

A number of Romney’s financial backers – including Fred Zeidman of Texas, Mel Sembler of Florida and Sheldon Adelson – are among the RJC’s leadership, and Brooks made clear that their voices would be heard.

“A lot of the major financial support the candidates received was from the members of this organization,” Brooks said. “There is a lot of weight behind their message on that.”

William Daroff, the Washington director of the Jewish Federations of North America and a former deputy to Brooks at the RJC, said Republican Jews would likely advise the party to take more moderate positions.

“The conventional wisdom is that the election will result in the shift of the Republican Party to the center, particularly on issues of immigration,” Daroff said. “To the extent that the party does shift, it would make Republican candidates more appealing to Jewish voters who may be inclined to vote Republican on foreign policy and homeland security issues but who have been turned off by conservative Republicans rigidity on social issues.”

Some of the leading voices counseling moderation of Republican policies have been Jewish conservatives. One of the first post-election posts from Jennifer Rubin, who writes the Right Turn blog for the Washington Post, said it was time to stop opposing gay marriage in the political arena.

“Republicans for national office would do well to recognize reality,” Rubin said. “The American people have changed their minds on the issue and fighting this one is political flat-earthism. As with divorce, one need not favor it, but to run against it is folly, especially for national politicians who need to appeal to a diverse electorate.”

Charles Krauthammer, the syndicated columnist, noted sharp Democratic gains among Hispanic voters and counseled a change in immigration policy, making clear that the current GOP emphasis on securing the borders should be followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.

Romney had advocated disincentives, including making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get jobs and educations, that would push them to leave, or “self deport.”

“Many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front,” Krauthammer wrote in his Nov. 9 column. “Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.”

Zeidman, the fundraiser, said Jewish Republicans had a special role in making the case for immigration reform.

“The rest of the party has to understand what we as Jews have always understood – that this is a nation of immigrants and to ignore them is to end up losing,” he said. A number of conservatives have lashed back against calls for policy changes, saying that the party was missing the ideas revolution underpinning the 2010 Tea Party insurgency that propelled Republicans to the majority in the House of Representatives. “There’s no point in two Democratic parties,” said Jeff Ballabon, a Republican activist from New York. “Any such victory would be pyrrhic.”

Singling out gay marriage or immigration was self-defeating, said Ballabon.

Recalling the drawing power of a figure like Ronald Reagan, Ballabon said positions on hot-button issues matter less than a party leader who can appeal across demographic lines.

“The only chance we have is there’s another bold visionary who can attract people not based on divide and conquer, but who can inspire people to core American ideals – liberty, freedom, personal responsibility,” Ballabon said.

Tevi Troy, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said the problem was not with policies but with how they were presented.

“There are messaging challenges,” he said. ”I don’t think any of our candidates should talk about rape.”

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14 Responses to “Jewish GOPers Ponder Party’s Future Course In Wake Of Romney Defeat”

  1. Even thought I did not want to and did not vote for President Obama again, I had a very difficult time with the idea of voting for Mitt Romney.

    On social issues like gay rights and a women's rights the nation is deeply divided. Millions of Republicans do no agree with the party's platform.

    So come election time appealing to non-Republicans like myself is close to impossible.

  2. Caesar Arevalo says:

    Republicans' recipe for winning: become pro-homosexual marriage, pro abortion, pro-illegal immigration, pro-Europe socialist type, pro Palestinian, pro secular, pro big government, and forget about evangelicals.

  3. Letty Hasbargen says:

    Get rid of the elitists and welcome diversity. And the Evangelicals need to clean their own house. Just look at the crazy Bill Keller and his thinking.

  4. Scott Dutra says:

    The republikan party

  5. Barry Hirsh says:

    They are WRONG.

    Appeasement is what gets Jews into trouble time and again. Learn from Netanyahu – sacrificing principles is NOT the way to win, it is the way to LOSE.

    It is the Republican establishment's complicity since the FDR coup that has put us in this precarious place. Goldwater (and Ronald Reagan, in his "A Time For Choosing" speech) that was right on the money.

    We are very, very near losing our republic as it was founded, i.e. that this nation exists on the First Principle of the supremecy of the individual over the state.

    Jews have historically had it BACKWARDS. It's time for them to wake up and smell the coffee.

  6. At our synogogue there is little sympathy for the Republicans becoming a mirror image of the Dems. Romney's greatest error was not staying on message and letting the Dems make the election about anything but Obama's total incompatance in handling the economy. Thanks to this election, we are doomed to four more years of high unemployment and weak economic growth. The classes of 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 will find themselves hard pressed to find employment. Israel will continue to have an enemy in the White House. It is hard to believe that an large majority of Jews supported Obama, we are supposed to be smarter than that.

  7. Jews have done enough damage electing another NAZI as Leader. One word for you American Jewish suicide artists- BLOW.

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