Thursday, September 6, 2012

God, Jerusalem: Unforced Error By The Democrats

The Democrat convention was humming along nicely. Serving red meat to fire up the base during the afternoon hours when the independent voters are more likely to be working than watching political conventions. Then packing the prime time hour with powerful speeches geared towards wooing the undecided.

Just as the pundits were busy congratulating the convention planners, Democrats decided to hand the Republicans a talking point. They adopted a platform that omitted any mention of God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Republican Jewish Coalition couldn't be happier. Obama stabbing Israel in the back is their favorite talking point. Romney immediately pounced on this development as evidence that he was right that Obama had "thrown Israel under the bus."

Can't blame them. This is politics. When your opponent hands you a knife, you do not put it in your pocket for safekeeping.

To their credit the Democrats quickly realized the mistake and proceeded to reinsert the language. However, this produced the following embarrassing moment:

Thus Republicans still have their favorite talking point albeit modified. Instead of talking about the missing language, they can talk about God and Jerusalem being booed. But in the end it won't matter.

For quite sometime voters that are much more secular have sided with the Democrats while those who believe that religion should play a greater role in public life vote Republican. I do not believe that inserting God into the Democrat platform makes any difference to said voters.

And I do not believe that this incident will affect the Jewish vote. Democrats have gradually become more sympathetic to the Palestinian point of view and I have seen no evidence that it has eroded their Jewish support.

George W. Bush was perhaps the most pro-Israel president in recent history. He removed Saddam Hussein who gave money to the families of suicide bombers targeting Israel. And yet, he was able to only garner 25% of the Jewish vote in 2004.

Perhaps the most eye opening event for me was the 2008 election. Obama participated in Farrakhan's Million Men March. He was a member of Rev. Wright's church for 20 years. Unlike McCain who had a long an extensive record of supporting Israel, Obama was a question mark. Yet McCain received 21% of the Jewish vote while Obama enjoyed 78% their support.

Moreover, it wasn't very hard for Obama to win Jewish voters. All it took was Obama's unbelievable claim that he was unaware of Rev. Wright's virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric and Rahm Emanuel vouching for him.

Romney can repeat to his heart's content that Israel has been "thrown under the bus" in the last three years. After 2004 and 2008 it should be clear to all that Israel is not the issue that moves most Jewish voters.