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July 12, 2014 7:03 AM Sign O’ the Times

By D.R. Tucker

I’m not quite sure why The New York Times even bothered to do a story on the demise of Jewish Republicans on Capitol Hill; that’s a problem the GOP obviously brought upon itself. As Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler notes in the story:

It is a very right-wing party, more so than in the past…And by so doing it is alienating most of the Jewish electorate, and becoming an increasingly monochromatic party without minorities of any kind.

The story notes that there are several Jewish Republicans running for Congress this year, one of whom is a profoundly odd fellow by the name of Adam Kwasman:

“Jewish Republicans are for better or worse panicking that there is going to be no representation,” said Adam Kwasman, a Jewish Tea Party candidate for Congress who has Leviticus 25:10 tattooed in Hebrew on his right shoulder (“Proclaim liberty throughout the ends of the earth unto all its inhabitants”) and script from the Declaration of Independence on his left. “There has been a priority shift in the heart and soul of Republican Jews across the country,” he said. “They were far more relaxed before Cantor lost.”
Mr. Kwasman, a 31-year-old Arizona state representative, was speaking last month after the donor-rich event at the St. Regis. After schmoozing with high-powered “machers” who are worried about the scarcity of Jewish members and a growing isolationist streak in the Republican Party, he unfolded the Menorah Psalm, with commentary, that his mother had given him to read on the flight to Washington…
Mr. Kwasman, a product of Jewish day school in the Tucson suburbs who says he tries to make Shabbat dinners with his parents whenever possible, is the Jewish candidate most affiliated with the Tea Party, opposing gun control and any form of amnesty on immigration and talking about bringing “Kosher Tea” to Congress. He was endorsed by Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff who has been the subject of a Justice Department investigation because of his crackdowns on undocumented workers. House analysts consider Mr. Kwasman the underdog against a more moderate Republican in the August primary.

The piece does reveal something about the “identity politics” Republicans usually complain about:

While concern for Israel drives much of the eagerness to elect Jewish Republicans, there are intangibles, too. Michael Goldstein, who is married to Ms. [Beverly] Goldstein, the donor from Beachwood, acknowledged at the St. Regis that his viewpoint was well represented by conservatives in Congress. “So why do we need Jews?” he asked. “It makes me feel better. You want your own people there.”

Now wait a minute. Goldstein is a member of a party that spent years saying that we shouldn’t have affirmative action because race and ethnicity shouldn’t matter, and that we should think of ourselves as Americans first, not hyphenated-Americans. Your background should be irrelevant! We are all individuals! Jump into that melting pot!

Now, Goldstein suggests that we should forget all of that rhetoric and accept the idea that one’s identity matters. Which is it, pal?

By the way, I can’t help wondering how many of these Jewish Republican candidates believe in the concept of tikkun olam, and if so, how they feel about their party’s descent into dementia on climate change. Something tells me the “Kosher Tea” guy couldn’t care less about climate, but what about the other candidates? What do they say to those who are concerned about the hold right-wing Christianity still has over the GOP? What do they say to those who feel that their party is too partisan, too radical, too vicious, too pernicious?

What do they say besides, “Vote for me and I’ll cut taxes”?

Oy vey.

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