Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 19, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

REPUBLICANS AND THE JEWISH VOTE....The Los Angeles Times has a peculiar story today about President Bush's attempt to court the Jewish vote:

On Tuesday, [Stuart] Weil and thousands of other AIPAC members welcomed Bush to their annual meeting with 21 standing ovations a thunderous display of affection from an audience that, while always hawkish on Israel, had long been a home to more Democrats than Republicans.

The Republican president's reelection strategists have long hoped that White House policies that focus on fighting terror and spreading democracy through the Mideast would make longtime Jewish Democrats like Weil into Republican voters.

Jews account for 4% of voters nationwide. But in some of this year's battleground states particularly Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Missouri a few Jewish votes could make a big difference.

This is absurd. Gaining 10% of 4% of the vote isn't something that Karl Rove is spending any time worrying about, and the authors of this piece surely know that perfectly well. What they decline to mention in over a thousand words of pure electoral strategy analysis is that the real reason Republicans are interested in Jewish voters is simple: money. Swinging a tiny number of voters is extremely unlikely to make a difference even in battleground states, but taking 10-20% of Jewish contributions away from the Democratic party and putting it in Republican coffers could make a huge difference.

This is common knowledge, but apparently the subject is so taboo that it doesn't even rate a mention here. Instead we're treated to nonsense about how Jews are "an important target in [Republicans'] long-term plan to 'realign' the electorate and give the Republican Party majority status." They are an important target, but for their money and their influence, not their votes.

I'm well aware that stereotypes of greedy, moneygrubbing Jews make this a touchy subject, but writing about politics without writing about money is basically telling a lie. And refusing to mention money simply because the topic at hand is Jewish voters is the worst kind of journalistic lie: a cowardly one.

Kevin Drum 2:08 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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