GOP Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana, states that otherwise went solidly for Romney, both lost their races after making controversial remarks about rape that were widely reported and derided. Their losses facilitated a net Democratic gain in the body from 53 to 55.
Troy said the Republican Party could learn from its Jewish supporters how to frame its vision of an America of opportunity in ways that would appeal to minorities and immigrants.
“You do have a place in America to succeed,” he said. “Jews are a paradigmatic example of a minority that came to the U.S. and did very well in the American system.” Troy said also that the party should consider gradual and not radical changes in some areas. For instance, reversing “Obamacare,” the president’s health care reforms mandating universal coverage, was likely no longer an option.
“Repealing Obamacare is not viable right now,” said Troy, a deputy health secretary under President George W. Bush. “I still think the law needs significant reforms, and now is the time to talk about it.”
Noam Neusner, a domestic policy adviser and speechwriter for the George W. Bush administration, said that Jewish Republicans were not necessarily more moderate than other Republicans. Instead, he suggested, the party’s Jews represented a bridge to other communities that tended to perceive Romney as remote.
Neusner noted a secretly recorded fundraiser at which Romney referred to hard-core Obama voters as the 47 percent of the country who saw themselves as victims. The Obama campaign hammered Romney with the remarks, replaying the video in ads in swing states.
“The biggest problem with that 47 percent video is that he portrayed people who don’t have wealth as victims,” Neusner said of Romney. “Most Jewish Republicans come from families with no wealth and have seen in America a wonderful place to create wealth, and they want to preserve that for others, especially immigrants.”
Similarly, Neusner said, Jews were well placed to convey the freedoms offered by American religious liberties. He referred specifically to an Obama order this year mandating contraceptives coverage for women who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and orphanages.
“Jewish Republicans need to stand with our Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Hindu friends that there’s a place in public life for religious institutions, and the government should not impose itself on those institutions,” he said.
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