View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Jewish Vote 

When even the American Prospect is worried about President Bush making inroads into the Jewish vote, you know there's something to it. Then Ken Baer goes and proposes a strategy for Kerry to hold onto that vote:

He can make inroads with the pro-Israel community by continuing to emphasize his personal connection to the country as well as his personal conviction in doing anything necessary to win the war on terrorism. In addition, Kerry needs to stay out of the weeds -- especially detailing the role he wants the United Nations and the international community to play in Iraq and in fighting terrorists (no matter how necessary both may be) -- and use tough language that makes it clear that the same man who did not hesitate 35 years ago to kill America’s enemies in a war that he didn’t believe in will not hesitate to kill terrorists in a war that he does.

Ken Baer is a former speechwriter for Al Gore, so I guess it makes sense that his first instincts would be for the candidate to deny his true self. Barring a drastic Bush reversal on Israel, leading Jews to ask if Kerry can be any worse, is anyone really going to buy this?

Jews will still vote mostly for Kerry, because Jews aren't single-issue voters until someone's burning crosses in their front yards. President Bush could move the embassy to Jerusalem, send the 101st Airborne to secure Rafah, and personally buy the concrete to build a fence 100ft above and below the ground, and it still wouldn't be enough for some people out here. (That picture, by the way, is about 20 years old. Vanity, thy name is....) If Kerry has a Jewish strategy, it has to lie not in trying to persuade people that his name in the Old Country was Herzl, but in trying to persuade them that it doesn't matter.

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