Obama’s Jewish Problem Persists
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Having just spent three days in the swing state of Florida, one realizes how spoiled many of us are and immune we have become to the barrage of ads that are overwhelming the voters in the battleground states. It is not enough to read about the saturation of advertising dollars being spent, but it needs to be seen to be believed. Furthermore, being there gives one a chance to see where all the hundreds of millions of dollars being raised by the candidates (and the superPacs and the independent groups) are being spent.
On a Sunday morning news program local, state-wide, and national election campaigns are dominated the commercials. One almost feels sorry for voters in formerly swing states like Pennsylvania, who are now subjected to the boring car and deodorant ads.
Meanwhile, driving on I-95 in Broward and Palm Beach Counties there were ads targeting Jewish voters in these South Florida counties. For example:
“Friends Don't Let Friends Get Nuked. Stop Obama”
“$1.89 On First day in Office, $3.89 Today. Stop Obama.”
This spills over into intense conversations that one overhears, or questions one is asked by involved members of some Jewish communities about Obama's Muslim connections. For example, Arutz Sheva, Israel National News, is still investigating, “presumably” on behalf of concerned Jewish voters, Obama's connections to Muslim suicide bombers. (I was actually handed this report by a most gracious weekend host asking me for my comments, since he evidenced his serious concerns (not reservations) about it.
One senses that it will be important for Obama to address this erosion as soon as possible–not because he will still not receive at least 65%+ of the Jewish vote, but because it is not helpful for his standing on foreign policy issues, generally, which could conceivably affect his electability among some other voters.
For Jews as well, Secretary Clinton has opted for a politically ill-timed series of statements concerning Muslims and even Islamic freedom fighters. While much of what she has suggested is valuable and insightful, given the growing tightness of the political campaign and the fact that this does not fall into a category of diplomatic urgency, it would seem that she should have been instructed to defer her observations and suggestions for a few weeks. It also might behoove her to consider, given her Department's mishandling of the Libyan security needs and their foolish response to the tragedy, that she should have considered opting for a lower profile for State at this time.