Monday, September 21, 2009

Why Aren't Jews Republicans?

Recently, conservative pundit Norman Podhoretz penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about Jews being liberal. The op-ed was essentially a plug for his new book on the same topic. It was silly stuff really. According to Podhoretz, Jews are voting against their interests by not voting Republican. And of course, the op-ed contained a version of the current mantra of conservatives: Obama has so disappointed his followers, including Jews, that both he and the Democrats are in for huge losses in upcoming elections.

That hope among Republicans is delusional. No, Obama hasn't been a progressive. He's been a centrist. And yes, progressives haven't been happy about how Obama has governed. But the alternative major party, the Republicans, are a nightmare for progressives. That isn't going to change.

It isn't just progressives that will stay away from the Republican Party. It's just plain down the middle centrist Americans as well. The Republican Party has turned into something that is almost guaranteed to maintain its status as the second place runner in American politics. Republicans continue to stay on the far right. They are now the saviors of a lot of nutjobs, people who shout down congressmen at town hall meetings and refuse to believe Obama is an American.

I was amazed at just how idiotic the people at the August town hall meetings looked. Grown men behaving like two year olds. They screamed about government takeovers and socialism and yet they didn't want anyone touching their Medicare.

What used to be a party of normal human beings is now the party of the dumb and crazy. At best, it's the party of white, rural, Christian America. That's not enough of a voting block to win national elections and win majorities in Congress. For some reason after getting trounced in 2008 (they ran so poorly they couldn't even beat a black guy with one hell of a weird name), they've decided not to come up with a new approach at all. Nope. It's still full steam ahead with their nutty platform of war, no social services, no taxes, Jesus, and guns mixed with an innate distrust of anyone with an IQ over 95.

If Mr. Podhoretz wants to understand why Jews aren't Republicans all he has to do is look at simple things like the Republican calendar. Last weekend's conservative "Values Voter Summit," was held when? Over Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest times of the Jewish year. Talk about sending signals. They might as well have put out a sign in front of that meeting, No Jews or Dogs Allowed.

Of course, the Values Voter Summit held a straw poll for 2012. And who was their leading candidate by far? A creationist who in the not so distant past didn't even understand how AIDS is transmitted, Mike Huckabee. Mr. Huckabee would make a great president...of the Confederacy. And that's just it. A party of the South is going to go nowhere.

Earth to the Republicans. It's not just Jews who won't vote for you. It's anyone with half a brain. Come back. Come back to the center. Forget about Ronald Reagan. Start thinking Dwight D. Eisenhower. And as for where I'll be in 2012, count on me making phone calls and giving money to whomever is the Democratic candidate. It's not like the Republicans are giving me any alternative.

As for Jewish "neoconservatives" like Norman Podhoretz, they are forever imploring people like me to come over to their side. I have a better idea. They should come back to the Democrats. Look at who surrounds them at any Republican gathering. It's yokel city nowadays.

Long ago, neoconservatives defined themselves as liberals who had been mugged*. That's pretty funny. But they'd be better off coming back from the intellectual wilderness of the Republicans and renaming themselves "neoliberals," aka conservatives who have found a brain. They would feel right at home. They wouldn't have to worry that the person next to him was mad as hell and legally (or illegally) packing heat. Plus I can guarantee them that the Democrats won't do what the Republicans can't seem to resist doing: hold major meetings on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

*Correction, it's "a liberal who has been mugged by reality." I think the shorter version is funnier, though.

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