Pelosi: Republican Jews are “being exploited”
posted at 7:01 pm on July 28, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
What does that even mean, “exploited”? It’s a pet peeve of mine how progressives throw that word around as if everyone and their mother are somehow not acting of their own free will, but rather are engaging in certain behaviors because they’re acting under the duress of insidious, all-powerful forces. If Republicans are “exploiting” the issue of Israel to distract from their tax-cutting agenda, how in the world is that any different from Team Obama “exploiting” the issue of Mitt Romney’s tax returns to distract from his economic record? Oh, that’s right — it isn’t. Of course candidates try to focus on issues that are advantageous to them. This isn’t rocket science.
In an interview with Bloomberg:
HUNT: One more foreign policy question, though. He’s going to Israel, and your Republican – the Republican majority in the House, one of your counterparts, Eric Cantor, said Republicans have a golden opportunity with the Jewish vote this year because there’s a, quote, “real cloud over Obama’s chilliness with Israel.”
PELOSI: Well, you know what? That’s maybe his characterization, but that, in fact, this president – and hopefully during this campaign, it will become – this president has been a staunch supporter of Israel. Many of the things that he has done, in terms of Israel’s qualitative edge in terms of how we have – have supported Israel in that regard, for them to defend themselves, A, B, is two issues that relate to Iran. No president has done more…
HUNT: Do you think he’ll do as well with the Jewish vote this time as he did last time?
PELOSI: The election will tell us that.
HUNT: What do you think?
PELOSI: But I – I think that he will. I think that he will, because the fact is when the facts get out. You know, as many of the Republicans are using Israel as an excuse, what they really want are tax cuts for the wealthy. So Israel, that can be one reason they put forth.
HUNT: That’s why some of the Republican Jewish supporters are really active.
PELOSI: Well, that’s how they’re being exploited. And they’re smart people. They follow these issues. But they have to know the facts. And the fact is that President Obama has been the strongest person in terms of sanctions on Iran, which is important to Israel. He’s been the strongest person on whether it’s Iron Dome, David’s Sling, any of these weapons systems and initiatives that relate to Israel. He has been there over and over again.
As much those dastardly Republicans might be trying to “exploit” their Jewish friends, however, the fact remains that as a voting bloc, Jewish voters have remained squarely on the Democrats’ side of the aisle for decades — and according to Gallup‘s latest update, that still holds true:
While Republicans may look favorably on Romney’s visit to Israel, another group with keen interest in U.S.-Israeli relations — Jewish Americans — solidly backs Obama in the election.
Gallup Daily tracking from June 1-July 26 finds Jewish registered voters favoring Obama over Romney by 68% to 25%. That is essentially the same as Gallup’s prior update on Jewish voting preferences.
Although one goal of Romney’s Israel visit could be to attract greater support among Jewish voters in the U.S., Jewish Americans have been a traditionally strong Democratic group, so they are unlikely to become much more supportive of Romney regardless of the outcome of the trip.
The Romney camp is clearly hoping to pick up some percentage points with his Israel trip — he boarded a plane to Israel from London earlier, and will be welcomed there with open arms. It seems that President Obama, however, is threatened enough with Romney’s plans that’s he’s started mounting his own pro-Israel messaging campaign:
Even though Republicans haven’t cracked 25 percent of the Jewish vote since 1988, GOP backers of Mitt Romney — who arrives in Israel Saturday — are mounting what likely will be the most aggressive effort yet in dollars and cents to woo one of Ohio and Florida’s most pivotal constituencies. …
Even before Romney’s weekend visit — a trip highlighted by meetings with top officials in Jerusalem and a speech reasserting his commitment to the Jewish state, both aimed at domestic political consumption — Obama sought to disrupt the presumptive GOP nominee’s carefully planned courtship.
“I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues,” the president said Friday in an Oval Office ceremony convened for him to sign into law a measure expanding U.S. financial aid for Israel’s defense and bolstering cooperation between the militaries of both nations.
What makes GOP officials optimistic this year are the new financial rules of campaigns and perceptions about Obama among some Jews.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has committed to spending more than $6 million on an ad campaign that seeks to tap in to “buyer’s remorse” among Jews who supported Obama in 2008.
Ah, yes — groups of like-minded people coming together to spend their own money supporting a candidate who isn’t a Democrat. A certifiable case of “exploitation” if ever there was one, eh?