Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Why Do Observant Jews Generally Vote Republican?

Posted on | October 10, 2012 | By Guest Contributor | 93 Comments

Dear Beyond BT

I have a question that I was wondering if you could post. I am not looking for a debate, only some answers. I, and probably a lot of other BTs, grew up in a staunchly democratic home. I do not think I even knew any republicans. What is up with frum Jews voting republican? My mother always tells people that she is totally fine with me being frum, but she will absolutely never accept the fact that I have voted republican. Honestly, I do it because people I respect suggest it. What is the real reason?

Thanks
Heidi

Reposted from Feb 12, 2008

Comments

93 Responses to “Why Do Observant Jews Generally Vote Republican?”

  1. Liz
    February 12th, 2008 @ 2:00 am

    First of all, you are lessening the accountability of your vote based upon the fact that you are blindly voting; however, if this is the way you wish to fail to fully utilize the democratic system, I cannot stop you. I believe in making informed decisions, most especially in these circumstances.

    As for your question, frum Jews vote Republican, in my opinion, because they are generally wealthier (in most cases) and essentially this incurs a Republican vote. Also, while having a similar discussion with a friend, many believe the Republican stand on Israel is parallel to the thoughts of many frum Jews.

    Personally, I am proudly a Jewish woman who is willing to flaunt her Democratic voter registration card.

    -Liz :)

  2. Fern R
    February 12th, 2008 @ 3:08 am

    Probably because Republican values more closely resemble Torah values than do those of the Democratic party.

    For what it’s worth, I was a Republican long before I started becoming more observant. My grandfather, who lives a largely secular life, told me that I am a bad Jew for voting Republican. From what I understand, American Jews were almost universally Republican until FDR. So, I guess the real question is, why did they leave the GOP, not why did the frum Jews stick around?

  3. Rafi G
    February 12th, 2008 @ 5:30 am

    We have always voted Democrat in our family, and I even voted for Kerry because, while I did not like Kerry, I thought Bush would be much worse (I still think I was right).

    I once asked my father why jews generally vote Democrat (the opposite of your question). He explained to me that we vote democrat because we want to defend people’s rights. Jews have throughout history always suffered their rights being taken away. So we are very quick to defend people who are not given their rights. Democrats are the liberals and therefore at the forefront of giving people their rights and equality.
    Also, once we start limiting people’s rights (think of limiting Homosexuals for example), than you can be pretty sure that down the road, the Jews will also be in line to have our rights limited by somebody. We are supersensitive to fighting that and that is why we vote democrat.

  4. Bob Miller
    February 12th, 2008 @ 9:11 am

    Jews arriving in America generally settled in cities dominated by the local Democratic Party machines. Events during the Great Depression led Jews into FDR’s coalition. The Jews’ practical/ideological connection to the Democrats was hardly affected by FDR’s sorry record of rescue during the Shoah, or by their rising incomes. However, the national Democrats’ radicalization from the late 1960’s on did weaken some less liberal Jews’ attachment. As that radicalization progressed, many Orthodox Jews began to focus on the Republicans’ espousal of “family values” as against the Democrats’ socialist, anti-family, anti-religious agenda.

    Hovever, the title of this article may be misleading. Orthodox Jews in one-party cities may still be favoring the Democrats on balance despite ideological reservations. All those frum NYC Jewish politicians who release a constant barrage of self-promoting press releases are—Democrats! If they declared as Republicans, their careers would be put at risk. That tells us something about the continuing weakness of Republicans among observant Jews.

    I’d like to see some really valid stats on Orthodox voting patterns, urban and suburban, broken down by region, which would also focus on anomalies such as voter blocs being bought off by Hillary.

    .

  5. Kalanit
    February 12th, 2008 @ 9:49 am

    Another big issue drawing frum Jews to vote Republican is school vouchers, which many Republican candidates are in favor of. Frum Jews might be in favor of vouchers because it would help with tuition costs, which can be quite high.

  6. Hm...
    February 12th, 2008 @ 9:56 am

    Every observant Jew I know is a democrat. Being observant does not mean you want all abortion outlawed, wars whenever someone looks at us funny, oppression of gay people, etc. Some of us see our religious lives and beliefs fitting in just fine with a Democratic government. I am scared of many Republicans’ desire to make this a more Christian country than it already is, and I don’t think they have Jews’ best interests at heart. But why do some observant people vote Republican? Some frum people vote Republican just because of school vouchers. The other thing you may be noticing is a lot of BT’s go to total extremes for a while before coming back to the center – Religiously and politically. But I think it largely comes down to wealth – There are many wealthy observant Jews who vote Republican because they feel the Republicans look out more for the interests of the wealthy. This may be especially true for business owners, but I’m not sure.

  7. Dave Weinstein
    February 12th, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    Jews in America from the late 19th through the first third of the 20th century were, if I recall my history correctly, far more likely to vote Socialist than anything else. The endorsement of Roosevelt by The Forward in 1932 was the tipping point to the Democrats.

  8. Josh
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:12 am

    Short answer: Republicans now the pro-Israel party that takes the threat of evil seriously on the world stage and the party of religious people generally that reflects the values of a religious outlook on life.

    Long answer: The best way to predict who will vote for which party is to look at how many times per week they pray. I’m not speaking in metaphors here, that’s literally true.

    Democrats are the party of the secular world (plus the catholic Hispanic and largely religious African American worlds, both of which vote Democratic despite the party’s secularism for racial politics reasons).

    Pretty much every religious constituency in the country other than the two above votes Republican including serious Protestants, Catholics and Mormons. Republican policies, even the policies that go beyond traditional culture war issues, are generally based on a religious outlook on life.

    The other major factor is that the Republican Party has been staunchly pro Israel while the Democrats have been wavering (not all, but many). The rest of the Jewish community is largely hostile to the GOP out of a combination of habit and secularism, but the Torah community started noticing this during the 2004 elections and it caused a major shift towards the Republican Party.

  9. Bob Miller
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:36 am

    I could argue that, since 1948, all or nearly all American presidents and their secretaries of state, both Democratic and Republican, have betrayed Israel in some way. Look around at the phony “peace process”; wasn’t the highly sympathetic, religious George Bush supposed to end this scam?

  10. Jacob Haller
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:39 am

    #3 said

    “the Jews will also be in line to have our rights limited by somebody”

    Of course, but has history proved that it’s only one particular party that was and will be responsible?

    One reason the Dems lost in 1968 IMO is because they made the fatal blunder of ingratiating themselves to the far-left sector of their party and incorporated “identity politics” into their philosophy.

    One case does not of course speak the entire picture but after getting turned down for a job I was informed by the hiring manager years later that my timing was bad because at that juncture they had to fill the position with an African-American for quota purposes.

    As far as I’m concerned and regarding that incident this Jew’s rights were violated by a policy embraced by the Democrats.

  11. Heidi
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:45 am

    In response to Liz, the 04 election was the first election that I was able to vote in. I voted for Bush because people told me to. I was busy with two little babies… I was still shaking from 9/11, and kinda liked Bush’s lets-kick-some-butt attitude. Im not proud. But I do think Bush was the lesser of two evils.

    Anyway, I am from Chicago, and every orthodox person I know is supportive of McCain or whoever the Republican candidate will be. Most people were actually quite excited about Giuliani , but even with him out of the race, they still plan to vote republican. Interestingly though, I believe that Illinois always goes democrat in the end, so its not like my republican vote even matters.

    Rafi, what you said is exactly how I was raised as well. I still believe all of that. But, I remember some big rav from Israel sent a message telling everyone in America to vote for Bush. Does anyone else remember this?

    Another question, does anyone know why Joe Lieberman left the democratic party? While he is now Independent, I have heard that he is supporting McCain.

    Anyway, thank you all for your replies. Keep them coming. It is difficult, and I do think that for me at least, it is an issue of being a BT. I think that ffbs are often brought up with very little concern for people outside of the Jewish community. I was raised to fight for human rights, regardless of whether or not they are Jews. While I feel for the most part I have assimilated to the regular frum life style, when politics are brought up, I often still feel like an outsider.

  12. Larry Lennhoff
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:50 am

    I think lower taxes and school vouchers seem to be the killer issues in my neighborhood. We had a spokesman from the National Agudath Israel in the neighborhood recently. He spoke strongly in favor of voting as a block in local elections as a good way of getting local government to pay attention to Jewish concerns.

    As far as national politics went he said Agudah picked it allies on a case by case basis – they worked with the Evangelicals on Israel related issues while opposing them with respect to proselytizing and ceding the issues of creches in public squares and the like as too symbolic to be worth irritating their allies.

    He also said that while they found Republican more helpful with respect to school vouchers and foreign policy, they worked better with Democrats regarding issues such as job protection for Sabbath observant workers and the like.

  13. Bob Miller
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:55 am

    Identity politics had actually been a Democratic trademark since at least the 1930’s. The Democrats lost in 1968 to a not-so-attractive Richard Nixon because of their foreign and domestic bungling, and the split between their nominee, Hubert Humphrey and their more radical elements. Humphrey was gaining on Nixon at the end of the 1968 campaign and nearly pulled out a win.

    Interestingly, in 1967, LBJ abandoned Israel to its fate before its lightning attack, whereas, in 1973, Nixon jump-started an absolutely vital resupply of military materiel to Israel. These events somehow had zero effect on American Jews’ attachment to the Democratic Party.

  14. Heidi
    February 12th, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

    Josh, I think what you said is very true. My mom was appalled that Huckabee put a cross on his web page around x-mas time, she could not believe that as an Orthodox Jew I was okay with that. But, for some reason that did not bother me very much. I think part of me feels safer with a religious Christian in power. One of my professors at school was a nun, and I found that she was the most understanding and sensitive to my needs as a frum Jew, way more than a secular Jewish professor I had. I wonder if religious people just have a certain respect for each other?

  15. Jacob Haller
    February 12th, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

    Bob,

    Your comment that identity politics has its roots from as far back as the 1930’s and

    “The Democrats lost in 1968 to a not-so-attractive Richard Nixon because of their foreign and domestic bungling”

    Part of the domestic bungling was that they couldn’t reconcile justified ideas like allowing African-Americans to go to any public school within their resident districts and then dealing with the Identity Politics monster created subsequent to that. Also, all of the urban riots of 1967 and ’68 were under LBJ’s watch.

    That could be the major reason George Wallace won 5 states in the South which had voted Democrat without exception the prior 100 years.

    On a personal note until I found out who were really dealing with (that is a radical loon) I was considering Ron Paul.

    If someone asked about his oppposition of aid to Israel my prepared answer would have been that the U.S. is currently giving aid to Israel AND to Israel’s enemies (Saudi Arabia, Pales Auth) furthermore, nothing could be better for the State of Israel than wean itself off of American aid and be self-reliant.

    However, Paul’s pre-internet paper trail caught up with him and my primary vote went elsewhere.

  16. Bob Miller
    February 12th, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

    Jacob, keep your eye on Mike Pence. He might be the real deal.

  17. Adam H.
    February 12th, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

    This is a subject on which I could submit an entire article. (Yesterday’s post blegged for such submissions… hmmm…)

    I became frum at the same time I exchanged a life of radical politics in favor of political Conservatism. I am proud to call myself a NeoCon and to be in the company of Irving Kristol and Whittaker Chambers, of Buckley and Goldberg, of Goldwater and Reagan.

    Torah teaches us Republican stuff: This world is full of resources. Use them to make it better. Clean up after your messes. Make money with your G-d-given talent and wisdom and your hard work. Provided you respect Shabbat, tithing, tzedakkah, and that you don’t destroy the source of your resources, (leave the mother bird OR the eggs, don’t destroy fruit-bearing trees, don’t take a man’s millstone), don’t be embarrassed to make a profit.

    Self-loathing Jews like Marx, Kafka, Lenin and Trotsky campaigned successfully to make ‘profit’ an obscenity. Lapsed Jews like the Rosenbergs and Jerry Rubin plotted to destroy Western civilization. And today the likes of Noam Chomsky and Al Franken assert their energies to belittle the American right.

    Since Jews are expected to perform tikkun olam, many of us confuse recycling plastic bottles and using curly mercury light bulbs as doing true ‘repair’. …Or that voting for an anti-American candidate who promises ‘change’ will make the world like the U.S. …Or that advocating confiscatory ‘redistribution of wealth’ will eliminate the evil inclination.

    Yes, I voted for Bush, twice, and Yes, I’m disappointed in some of his failures. (Not the least of which is, as Bob Miller said above, the way he and Condi continue the charade of a “peace process” in Yisroel.) But I don’t regret that I voted based on my sense of Torah.

    B”H

  18. JDMDad
    February 12th, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

    Re: Lieberman – If I remember right, the democrats in Connecticut did not elect Lieberman in the primaries to continue as senator. So he could either bow out, or run as an independant. He ran as an independant and won. From what I’ve read though, both Lieberman and McCain acknowledge that while they agree on several things and get along, a ticket with both of them would not be workable.

    This is actually the first time I’m thinking of voting repbulican, as I like McCain for personal reasons.

  19. Albany Jew
    February 12th, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

    Going back to the original post, I have always found it amazing how any group will only consider one party. In my old Conservative shul, the older folks would say that they would vote for Stalin, if he ran as a Democrat. That is a good way to have the polititians take you for granted and never go out of the way for you because they either know you will vote for them no matter what they do, or you will never vote for them anyway.

    Anyway, I see observance more in line with the platform of the Republicans at the present time.

    1) Stronger support for Israel – in modern times Republican presidents were better for Isreal than Democrats (see Reagan vs Carter)Also despite Nixons’s personal feelings about Jews he really bailed out Israel in 1973.

    2) Social issues – Sorry liberal brothers, but I don’t think our sages would approve of abortion on demand, gay marriage, appeasement of our enemies, etc.

    Fern R,

    You are corrct that there was a Jewish love affair with FDR and it still continues somewhat to this day despite the revelations of the damage he did to our European Jewry by not bombing the railroads and camps.

  20. Rabbi Yonason Goldson
    February 12th, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

    Liberal ideals find their roots in Torah: protection for the poor and the weak, communal responsibility, and judging favorably are among the most foundational liberal values. This might well explain why so many Jews, particularly the non-religious who don’t have mitzvos to direct their liberal sentiments, have long supported the Democratic party.

    On the other hand, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency may be even more fundamental Torah ideals. Consider that Torah society has always been ostensibly capitalistic, and that the highest form of tzeddaka is to help someone get a job so that he will no longer need tzeddaka.

    Although both parties are (inevitably) flawed, I believe that the Dems have done the best (or worst) job of corrupting their core values into caricature by rushing to embrace political correctness, moral equivalence, and the nanny state. It is for these reasons, I believe, that the majority of the orthodox favor the Republican party.

  21. Charnie
    February 12th, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

    In this age of political correctness, I think some of us can no longer find a comfortable spot with the Dems when it comes to national politics. Adam, I liked what you wrote, even if I’m not exactly a neo-con myself. I tend to vote with the issues, but ideologically have been relating better to Republicans then Dems during the past few elections. In NY it’s always useful to be a registered Dem so that you can vote against Al Sharpton when necessary in primaries.

    My choice for President was definitely Guiliani. I’m still a little heartbroken about his political demise.

  22. Dave Weinstein
    February 12th, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

    Torah teaches us Republican stuff: This world is full of resources. Use them to make it better. Clean up after your messes.

    I’ve never understood how people who otherwise consider themselves “conservative” are perfectly willing to trash irreplaceable natural resources for temporary gain.

    The not just environmental-agnostic but in some cases outright environmental-hostile wings of the Republican party (including de-facto Federal subsidies for mining and logging on Federal land which manage to also add fiscal waste to environmental issues) continue to boggle my mind.

  23. David Linn
    February 12th, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

    My parents always had similar political outlooks. When my father, a’h, was alive, one of them would register as a Republican and the other as a Democrat and they would, together, determine how to vote in the primaries.

    At the same time, my mother, she should live and be well, finds it strange that Jews (of any stripe) would vote for a Republican.

  24. Charnie
    February 12th, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

    Just a funny coincidence that today the Republican Jewish Coalition began airing an ad called “I Used to be a Democrat”. You can see it here http://www.rjchq.org/news.asp?FormMode=Detail&id=1279. Did they know about this post?

  25. Miriam P
    February 12th, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

    The child tax credit. When you have a whole bunch of children, that’s a nice chunk of change!

    Actually, I also don’t think it’s so cut and dry. I’m registered Independent, and I never ever vote straight party lines. I was more of a Democrat as a teenager, and I’m very middle of the road now, but I find myself leaning more and more Republican. I think Bush was the first Republican Presidential Candidate I actually voted for though, ever, but Kerry scared me. I’m still not decided for the coming election. (Have to see who the actual candidates are!)

  26. Steve Brizel
    February 12th, 2008 @ 11:26 pm

    Like it or not, I think that it is too easy to say that the Torah demands that one vote for either party. RYBS once commented that the capitalism ( and i.e. conservatism) set forth in Bava Kamma, Bava Metziah and Bava Basrah is more tha offset by the seemingly socialist ( and liberal)ideals set forth in the halachos Shemitah and Yovel.

  27. DK
    February 13th, 2008 @ 1:19 am

    Steve,

    Do you think people should people check with their spiritual guide before voting?

  28. Steve Brizel
    February 13th, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

    DK-RCS once defined a rav’s job as helping the downtrodden and assisting the poor. RCS’s home was known as a place where many abandoned children were left and raised by the Soloveitchik family. If one’s rav has these spiritual qualities and sensitivies, I would advise one to run to him for advice if he is aware of the issues being raised by the campaign

  29. Bob Miller
    February 13th, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

    Regarding the comment by Steve Brizel
    February 12th, 2008 23:26

    If social legislation that leads even to income redistribution was commanded by HaShem, our job, of course, is to obey gladly.

    However, if it emanates from overreaching social engineer wannabes who have no true concept of the big picture, the effort to help people can lead to great harm.

    Example: the destruction of the American black family by well-intentioned government actions since the 1960’s. Recent stats show that 80% of black children in Indiana are now being born out of wedlock:
    http://www.thestarpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080124/NEWS06/80124002

  30. Charlie Hall
    February 13th, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    I’m not sure it is true that “most” Orthodox Jews vote Republican. They certainly don’t in local elections in the New York area which has the largest concentration of Orthodox Jews outside of Israel. New York City’s congressional delegation is almost entirely Democratic and is full of rabid supporters of Israel — even the non-Jews. While there continues to be little government aid for Jewish education (and that is unlikely to change) many other Orthodox institutions are dependent upon government assistance and the Democrats are thought of (somewhat correctly) as the party that is more generous in doling out such. And the *Jewish Press* endorses far more Democrats than Republicans.

    Personally, I moved a bit to the left as I became observant. The Torah isn’t socialist, but it also opposes laissez faire capitalism and supports an often intrusive government in which the communal leaders can force Jews to support communal institutions. More importantly, the hashgafah that everything really belongs to HaShem has made me deaf to the arguments of many right wing pundits that government is stealing what is really my own money through taxation.

    And I also find that the mainstream Democratic policy line is more consistent with Torah values in other areas as well. Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler said in a shiur a year ago that it is a mitzvah from the Torah to provide health insurance for the entire community. The Republican party in recent years has abandoned much of its previous support for environmental protection. President Bush kicked the nativist bigots like Patrick Buchanan out of the Republican Party years ago but they appear to be returning. Democrats don’t excuse missionary activity on government time such as has occurred at the US Air Force Academy. Neither the Democratic pro-choice position nor the Republican pro-life position is consistent with the Jewish position on abortion, but at least the pro-choice position allows us to observe halachah. There is very little difference between the parties regarding Israel; in both the overwhelming majority supports the existence of the Jewish state and also a Palestinian state.

    That is why I usually vote Democratic, and it seems like the majority of the Orthodox Jews in my neighborhood do as well. Admittedly, living in the county that voted 86% for Gore and 83% for Kerry, it isn’t often that there are Republicans with much of a shot at winning and I don’t think there is a single Republican elected official left today.

  31. Bob Miller
    February 13th, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

    All government assistance does comes out of someone else’s pocket (even though all resources ultimately belong to HaShem), as do Jewish gemilas chesed and tzedakah, both communal and private.

    All things being equal, our hashkafah favors traditional gemilas chesed and tzedakah, which are voluntary, over government taxation. We value personal choice and responsibility within the constraints of Torah. The more discretion Orthodox Jews retain over their chesed-related activities, and the less taken over by the secular government, the better.

  32. Chaya H.
    February 13th, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

    I’m too tired to type anything except, Hooray for Charlie’s Comment. And here’s another observant Jew voting Democrat.

  33. Ichabod Chrain
    February 14th, 2008 @ 12:48 am

    Charlie,

    I think you’re missing the Republican points. The Republican argument isn’t that taxation is stealing. The argument is that (a) we shouldn’t use public funds for things that can be done more efficiently through market forces and (b) higher taxes don’t create greater revenues when they exceed a certain point.

    As for health insurance, we do have a system in place for health care for those who can’t afford it, so it’s not as though there’s no health care available for hte poor. The problem with socialized medicine is that you trade government funding for efficiency and quality. The countries that have socialized medicine don’t have the quality or efficiency that our system has. Maybe someone should have asked R” Tendler if it’s still a mitzvah if it means poorer health care through rationing.

    As far as Israel goes, there is a definite difference in the parties. The Dems are largely appeasers. The Republicans are not.
    There will certainly be a very clear difference if the Dem nominee is Obama.

    I don’t see your point about pro-choice allowing us to observe halachah. That’s like saying that if you oppose abortion don’t have one. But if the Dems believe that government must protect the weakest, then shouldn’t it protect the unborn.

    Heidi, you can tell your mom that there are good reasons to vote for the Republicans. The Republicans are now the party that supports the average American. The problem with the Dems is that they’re opposed to freedom. Social policy to the Dems is group allocations instead of individual rights, and top down management from an elite.

  34. Albany Jew
    February 14th, 2008 @ 1:00 am

    I’m going to be somewhat blunt here. The biggest threat to Jews (physical not spiritual) today is the terrorist states that exist in the Middle East. This threat is obviously more directed toward our bretheren in Israel (which may be why observant Jews consider it more) but after seing the second plane fly into the WTC up close and personal, I believe it is a significant threat to America as well. And although I’m not thrilled about how the current administration currently cow-tows to Saudi Arabia, I have no confidence in today’s Democratic party to face this threat head-on. That is the main reason I will vote Republican (nationally, not necessarily locally) and I believe many other observant Jews (and others) will also.

  35. Charnie
    February 14th, 2008 @ 10:16 am

    AJ, well put!

  36. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 10:19 am

    AJ makes a good point, While officials of both parties have been on the take from the Arabs (also ex-officials like Bill Clinton), only one party today begins to understand the very need for effective national defense. Hint: it’s not the party that ostracized Joe Lieberman, who now supports McCain for President. The national Democratic Party today is mainly split between those who are clueless about Muslim radicals and those who support (or are) Muslim radicals.

  37. David Linn
    February 14th, 2008 @ 10:20 am

    Ichabod said “I don’t see your point about pro-choice allowing us to observe halachah…”

    I think the point here is that halachah allows for or dictates abortion in certain situations. As such, a more liberal allowance for abortion under secular law will allow a frum Jew to get an abortion when the halacha allows for or dictates it. It’s a point that is often lost in the black and white of the abortion debate. I think that is due, in part, to the fact that most frum Jews will have completely opposite views on abortion than a politically active pro-choicer. Plus, the reasons behind their respective positions (even when they align) are so disparate; a religious appreciation of life (whether it be the child’s or the mother’s) coupled with a fealty to halachah as opposed to an unstinting belief in individual autonomy often without consideration of the child’s life.

    There couldn’t be a better example of politics making strange bedfellows.

  38. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 10:26 am

    Here in Indy:

    When our Democratic Congresswoman, Julia Carson, recently died, her family invited Louis Farrakhan to speak at her funeral. The local liberal rag, the Indianapolis Star, was not offended and has never shown any sign of being offended by Farrakhan. The Democrats have picked Carson’s grandson Andre Carson, a Muslim, to run in a special election to fill out her term. He has no relevant experience whatsoever, but is named Carson and is a willing tool of the local machine. His view of world politics is arch-leftist.

  39. Albany Jew
    February 14th, 2008 @ 11:29 am

    To continue on Bob’s vein, while there are extremists in both parties, it seems that more and more the extremists are becoming the mainstream with the Democrats. A recent story about Obama’s campaign in Houston showed that there was a large flag with Che Guavara’s picture prominently displayed in their lobby. Can you imagine the fallout if McCain had a picture of Mussolini in one of his offices!

  40. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 11:38 am

    Here’s another illustration of my point about Muslim radicals:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/02/019790.php

  41. Jacob Haller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

    Charlie wrote in #30

    “President Bush kicked the nativist bigots like Patrick Buchanan out of the Republican Party years ago but they appear to be returning”

    Could you provide some examples?

    Also, if I remember correctly, during the 2000 elections GWB didn’t want Buchanan to leave due to his concerns of dividing the party.

    McCain who also ran in 2000 (and for who I was an ardent supporter) was the one who publicly took Buchanan to task for his revisionist “history” and making the Repubs look like nativist extremists.

    This opens up a question. Is anyone in the Democratic party publicly taking to task the extremists in their midsts?

    I’ll admit that doing so would be more complicated since the Dem extremists usually come in the form of Nation of Islam types or Hispanic Nationalists and they fear that entire communities would turn against the Dem party in the wake of a deserved dressing-down.

    But would that just be another example of acquiesence to bigotry?

  42. Ichabod Chrain
    February 14th, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

    Heidi,

    Maybe the best way to answer your specific question is to suggest that many, if not all, rabbis don’t spend as much time on learning the nuances of political issues as they do, for example, on studying Torah. So they are going to base their opinions on generalities that may be true, or partially true, or true only if certain things are assumed.

    If you want to spend some time understanding what the Republican positions really are, and why Republicans take the positions they do, then let me suggest that you go to the source, and look at some of the better conservative blogs. Some good ones are Captain’s Quarters, Powerline, Riehl World, Strata Sphere, Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web, just to name the ones that I can rattle off.

    If you want one with a Jewish perspective, there’s Debbie Schlussel, who to my understanding is frum. Full disclosure– sometimes she can be a bit over the top.

  43. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

    Also, the website of NRO (National Review Online), which incorporates various articles and blogs.

  44. Charlie Hall
    February 14th, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

    Bob Miller,

    You are absolutely correct regarding the value placed on voluntary chesed rather than forced chesed; note the difference between last week’s torah parsha in which the mishkan was built through voluntary contributions and the haftarah in which taxes (Rashi) and/or conscript labor were used to build bayit rishon. And when we accept government funding, as most Jewish chesed agencies do (and which we desparately attempt to get for our schools) we lose a substantial amount of control because with government funding comes government strings. The Torah world, however, is not self-sufficient economically and at the moment needs support from the outside both in the US and Israel.

    Ichabod,

    You are incorrect regarding the countries that have universal health care. First, not all of them achieve it through government agencies, so it is inaccurate to describe all of them as “socialized”. Second, all of them provide care for their citizens with far lower expenditures and are thus more efficient and less a drag on the rest of the economy. (Even within the US, Medicare is by far the most efficient health insurer in terms of administrative overhead.) Third, all of the countries with universal health care perform as good or better on almost every objective measure of health outcome one can examine, despite the far lower health care expenditures. Care in the United States is rationed even more than in the countries with universal care and the needs of the patient are secondary to economic considerations. Torah values objective truth and I believe that it is important to use accurate information in all arguments.

    David Linn,

    You make two really profound points. We often have to work with people with whom we disagree. In addition to the abortion example where it is in our interest to prevent the draconian Catholic position from being enshrined into law (for example, Nicaragua actually prohibits abortion even when they mother would certainly die without one), we feel we need to cooperate with some evangelical Christians regarding Israel even though they may be actively trying to convert us to their religion, and we feel we need to cooperate with secular atheists in order to prevent the government from restricting our ability to practice Judaism. I often worry that we go too far and make it look like we are endorsing their positions; this would seem to be particularly problematic when the evangelical support for Israel is based on end times theories that are rejected by the majority of Christians, some of whom rightly wonder why we seem to be expressing an opinion on an intra-Christian theological dispute.

    Your second point regarding autonomy points out a paradox: Judaism doesn’t place a high value on the kind of individual autonomy that has become the cornerstone of political, economic, and social philosophy in the Western world over the past 250 years. We are here on this planet to serve HaShem and not to pursue happiness as Thomas Jefferson put it; Judaism doesn’t speak a lot about rights but emphasizes responsibilities. Yet that very concept of autonomy that is largely foreign to the Jewish worldview is precisely what allows Jews to practice Judaism in largely Christian societies such as the US without restriction or persecution today. Can we afford to give it up? For example, there is zero chance that the Jewish position on abortion will be enacted into law in the US; neither the pro-lifers or the pro-choicers would accept it. Yet autonomy taken to the extreme leads to hedonism, as any of us can see in our popular culture in which almost anything goes as long as it is profitable.

    Laissez-faire capitalism is largely based on such values of autonomy (its philosophy developed concurrently) and a modified form of it has led to the material prosperity we here in galut America share. However, its failure in practice to provide for those less well off (and see the lack of response to the 1840s Irish hunger as an example of this carried to extreme) led directly to the development of socialism. The latter proved even more disasterous in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China, but a more benign form of it gave Britain a booming economy for 25 years beginning in the late 1940s and may have kept Israeli Jews from starving to death in the 1950s from poverty. (Note also that the religious parties were totally supportive of those socialist policies back then and remain today the biggest supporters of the Israeli welfare state.) I find it consistent with Torah values not to summarily rule out any ideology completely but to select that aspects of each that are consistent with Judaism.

    These issues are much more interesting and profound than Democrat vs. Republican!

  45. Charlie Hall
    February 14th, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

    Jacob Haller #41:

    “Could you provide some examples?”

    Top start, there is Ron Paul, who has received up to 25% of votes in Republican primaries and caucuses. Incredibly, you can find expressions of support for him even on frum Jewish internet blogs despite the exposure of the bigoted and anti-Semitic newsletters that went out over his name. He has far more support than the extremists on the left, most of whom have never been elected to anything and only get press because they are good publicists; Paul is in his ninth full term (and he served part of another term) in the US Congress!

    I’d also consider Tom Tancredo a nativist. He doesn’t just want to stop illegal immigration; he has expressed a desire to stop ALL immigration. Such policies were adopted by most countries in the world in the 1920s and the 1930s and as a result the Jews of Europe had nowhere to go. Open borders have saved Jewish communities many times over our history and we should not forget that.

  46. Charnie
    February 14th, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

    Just yesterday, when I got home, I found in my mail a book called “Standing With Israel”, written by a Jew, which covers the subject of how Christians now (alledgedly) support Israel. I believe it was sent to me by the Republican Jewish Coalition, because there was a letter from them inside the cover, as well as a copy of the DVD “Obsession”. While I can’t say I plan on getting around to reading it in the immediate future, it does look somewhat interesting.

    Did anyone else get it?

  47. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

    I have a beef with the RJC because they have not taken a principled, public stand against the Bush Administration’s recent pursuit of a thoroughly phony and dangerous Mideast peace plan. Just because they’re Republicans, they don’t have to be apologists for whatever Condi Rice and her boss do. Remember that many Republicans successfully broke with the Administration regarding the omnibus immigration/amnesty bill and Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination.

  48. Kinneret
    February 14th, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

    I think most frum Jews who vote Republican are doing so because of the GOP’s opposition to gay marriage, their stand on abortion and the perception that the GOP supports Israel more consistently than do the Democrats.

    The national Democratic Party today is mainly split between those who are clueless about Muslim radicals and those who support (or are) Muslim radicals.

    I’m sorry, Bob, but regardless of who one supports, I think statements like this are just hyperbole. The Democrats do not support nor are they Muslim radicals, any more than the GOP is riddled with fascists, and frankly, I feel the GOP is far more “clueless” about Islamic extremism than are the Democrats. For instance, John Kerry was ridiculed by Republicans in 2004 for suggesting that the police and the criminal law system were good ways to fight terrorism, and yet, as it turns out, it’s been police organizations (most notably the Italian and English police) that have foiled terrorist plots and arrested terrorists. Judging from the current situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, military force hasn’t been such a good solution to Islamic radicalism or terrorism.

    I find all arguments about the superior character or morality of Republicans to be laughable considering the scandal-ridden Bush administration. Nor am I happy with the GOP “support” for Israel, much of which seems to be motivated by fundamentalist Christian messianic ideas, and to be honest, I find it a little disturbing and weird. I believe the Democrats (or at least Obama) are less inclined to walk lock-step with Saudia Arabia, Pakistan and other such “allies” who use US aid dollars to fund Islamic extremists.

    As for health insurance, we do have a system in place for health care for those who can’t afford it, so it’s not as though there’s no health care available for hte poor.

    If we actually had such a system in place, health care and health care insurance wouldn’t be such a big issue. It’s not just the poor who are struggling with health care costs.

    Those of us who are voting Democrat this year are not doing so because we are unaware or misunderstand GOP positions; we’re doing so because we disagree with the way the GOP has handled a multitude of issues, both domestic and foreign, including the threat posed by radical Islam. Of course, other people will feel differently and vote accordingly, but that’s how democracy works.

    My own feeling on the issue is frum Jews can vote for a candidate of either party and feel they are supporting Torah-true ideals.

  49. Jacob Haller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

    Charlie,

    To address your valid points. Ron Paul is often the sole Republican who votes against measures that his party fellows voted for unanimously. He may have the R-TX tag but he’s hardly a Repub party functionary and for right or wrong doesn’t want to be.

    As I stated in an earlier post, I was considering voting for the guy in the primaries until his foul newsletters were unearthed. Are you certain that frum blog sites continued to support him afterwards? You likely know more about the blogosphere than I do so I’m just curious.

    A concern of mine is that the likes of Sharpton were given prime time opportunities to bellow at the 2004 Democratic Convention. I’m also concerned about the toxic anti-Jewish posts at sites like MoveOn who apparently is a major player in the Dem party. If in reality they are not a major player and just part of the fringe, it sounds like the non-fringe elements of the Dems are slow to distance themselves from the fringe elements when it’s not politically expedient

    Are there any major players in the form of individuals or action groups on the Republican side that are equally as influential and negative?

    I’m aware that closed borders affected the Jews during World War II in a literally fatal way. However, before we conclude with a simple dichotomy of

    Open Borders = Good for the Jewish People
    Closed Borders = Bad for the Jewish People

    do we limit that only to historical precedents like WW2 or do we also consider contemporary variables as well that “open borders” could be exploited by the likes of al-Qaida?

  50. Elizabeth
    February 14th, 2008 @ 3:23 pm
  51. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

    Charlie Hall said, “Open borders have saved Jewish communities many times over our history and we should not forget that.”

    Today, our national security demands reasonable limits on immigration, and the imposition of the rule of law (especially existing law!) on the anarchic immigration process. This is not to keep out legitimate candidates for immigration who want to play by the rules.

    No one has shown that oppression by the Mexican Government has made Mexicans legitimate political refugees deserving a special set of rules for entry into the US. In fact, the Mexican Government has encouraged illegal immigration into the US for economic reasons. That same government has very stiff immigration laws to keep Central Americans from flocking into Mexico.

  52. Adam H.
    February 14th, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    Kinneret wrote:

    “I think most frum Jews who vote Republican are doing so because of the GOP’s opposition to gay marriage, their stand on abortion and the perception that the GOP supports Israel more consistently than do the Democrats.”

    Me: Respectfully, while you may be right, I’m a card-carrying Rep., but don’t really take a personal stand on gay ‘mariage’ or abortion. And as far as Eretz Yisroel is concerned, Sec. Rice is doing more harm there than anybody has, while perhaps Israel’s greatest political champion was Bobby Kennedy (and look where that got him.)

    I vote Rep for the bigger picture: The Democratic message is that we are all just one paycheck away from homelessness (Hillary actually uses these words in an ad). That G-d’s great earth is teetering on environmental destruction because my toilet tank uses too much water. Or that corporations, who employ millions of workers and create some very useful (even lifesaving) products are the enemy. And that big government is the only answer to fix all our problems.

    I have more faith in the planet that HaShem created, and in the people He created to occupy it, than to fear such nonsense.

  53. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

    Some Democrats are also clueless about Obama’s beliefs, plans, and advisers regarding Israel and the Middle East.

    Here’s one top Obama adviser making mischief now in Syria:
    http://www.nysun.com/article/71123

    Here’s another who is no friend of Israel, to put it mildly:
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/pollak/2093

    More on this topic:
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/barack_obama_and_israel.html
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/barack_obamas_middle_east_expe.html
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/the_audacity_of_questioning_ob.html

  54. Albany Jew
    February 14th, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    Sorry Kinneret,

    Couldn’t disagree with you more. Who do you think gave the police in Europe the information they needed? Not the local beat cop. The law enforcement system worked great here when the killer of Meir Kahane was let free only to later participate in the first WTC attack. Say what you want about the military but how many attacks have we had in America since then? I think the current Democratic party is much more the party of Jimmy Carter (we know how he feels about Israel) than it is Truman.

    Charlie Hall,

    Speaking of Ron Paul, he was one of 21 Reps to vote down a resolution in the house supporting Israel during the worst days of the intifada.
    One other was a GOPer. The other 19? all Dems. By the way Dennis Kusinich, who also got up to 25% in the 2004 Primary abstained because he “didn’t want to take sides”.

    Kucinich is also one of only two congressional representatives who voted against the Rothman-Kirk Resolution which called on the United Nations to charge Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the genocide convention of the United Nations Charter based on statements that he has made. Kucinich defended his vote by saying that Ahmadinejad’s statements could be translated to mean that he wants a regime change in Israel, not death to its people and supporters.

  55. Kinneret
    February 14th, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

    Who do you think gave the police in Europe the information they needed? Not the local beat cop.

    Yes, people arrested as parts of terrorist cells in England, Italy and (I think) Germany, were all arrested as a result of police work- not intelligence from the military. I tend to see rising recruitment in radical organizations (as reported over and over by intel groups from around the world) and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the turmoil in Iraq as evidence that, if a military solution can work, it won’t under the current leadership.

    To Adam H: I’m not trying to suggest all Jews voting for GOP candidates do so for the reasons I mentioned. I just meant that all the frum Jews I know voting for GOP candidates mention those reasons as the primary reasons they support them.

  56. Bob Miller
    February 14th, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

    Kinneret,
    The “turmoil” in Iraq vs. Al Qaida has turned in our favor thanks largely to General Petraeus. Which Democratic Presidential candidate would allow him to finish his job successfully? I see them all as invested in defeat. Do you want us to believe that our defeat would hurt rather than help terrorist recruitment?

  57. Albany Jew
    February 14th, 2008 @ 4:46 pm
  58. Administrator
    February 14th, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

    I guess it would be silly to expect that a “my party is better than your party” discussion would not break out over here.

    So far it’s been civil, but these discussions usually don’t end that way.

    Perhaps it makes sense while we’re still on the same side to curtail this discussion and put our faith back into Hashem and not into either party or media outlet. Not that anybody here is putting their faith in either party.

  59. Kinneret
    February 14th, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

    AJ: both articles you link make it clear that civilian authorities, not military intelligence (except for the Lebanese military intelligence, which provided info to German civilian authorities), were behind the arrests.

    Bob: I respectfully disagree that the situation in Iraq is working in our favor, nor do I think the Democrats are “invested in defeat.” If I did, I wouldn’t be voting Democrat. To be clear, I don’t think the GOP is invested in defeat either, but I don’t share your confidence in their ability to deal with security issues.

    My point is only that, while we can disagree about which party presents better ideas, we can all vote candidate of our choice (more or less) and remain in line with Torah.

  60. Steve Brizel
    February 14th, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

    WADR to the subject matter of the post, can anyone really say that any of the candidates makes them want to want to vote for them in a positive way?

  61. A Wandering BT
    February 15th, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

    It is sad to me the number of people, including frum Jews, and many on this site, who think that the Republican party is “staunchly pro-Israel.” This could not be further from the truth. There is no difference between the Democratic and Republican party when it comes to Israel.

    Look no further than the past two presidents. Supposed opposites, Clinton and Bush had IDENTICAL foreign policy in regards to Israel. Now how could that be? They both pushed aggressively for the creation of a PLO terror state in Israel’s biblical heartland. Clinton’s PLO buddy was Arafat yemach shemo, and Bush’s PLO buddy is Holocaust-denier Abbas. The USA does not take a ‘moral’ stand in its policies. It takes a stand based on self-interest, and this ‘self-interest’ as determined by the ‘powers that be’ don’t always coincide with the interests of most American citizens, certainly not with Jews.

    The Republican party and the Democratic party both have the same slogans: “I am pro-Israel. We have a special relationship with Israel. Israel and the United States are best of friends. The Arabs are suffering and we must address it. Two-state solution = justice.” This Orwellian sing-song will not vary from one candidate to the next. But this is the equivalent of the ‘religious’ guy in the kippa doing white collar crime. He says “I am religious. I have a special relationship with Hashem and His Torah. I wear the garb to prove it.” But his actions don’t reflect these words. He is far from ‘religious’ at all. Actions speak louder than words. They are only shoving that statement of “We are Friends of Israel” down our throats again and again so ubiquitously because they don’t want us to suspect it isn’t true judging their actions to the contrary. The same can be said for the constant reminders of the US’s supposed “enmity” towards Iran. Actions don’t reflect it.

    One thing Jews need to realize is that America is not pro-Israel or pro-Jews or pro-Anything EXCEPT Pro-America’s own foreign policy interests as determined by the elites in power. There is very little difference today between the Democratic party and the Republican party, except perhaps that they work at a different pace. The democratic party seeks to erode American sovereignty and citizen independence through global means and big government under the guise of “liberalism.” Republican party, despite its words to the opposite, its actions show its main proponents believe in the same thing, perhaps under the guise of “compromise with liberalism,” and they fool many conservatives along the way with their lipservice to portray themselves differently than their actions reflect.

    The only truly pro-Israel candidate is the one that patriotic Jews in Israel will elect someday as their own leader. Don’t look for one to show up in America. This figure has yet to emerge beyond the undemocratic power-grip of the leftists and labor zionists in Israel who work hand in hand with the PLO and whatever the US’s interest may be over there, but I have faith that a man of faith and conviction and devotion to Hashem will finally emerge soon to save Israel.

  62. Bob Miller
    February 15th, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

    One would hope that the nations of the world would notice that their fate depends on how they treat us. In that sense, their true self-interest really is tied in with ours.

  63. Albany Jew
    February 15th, 2008 @ 5:12 pm
  64. Bob Miller
    February 18th, 2008 @ 11:07 am
  65. Charlie Hall
    February 18th, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

    Bob,

    Anyone who can rank Carter below Buchanan, or Johnson below Pierce or Harding, has a distorted sense of history. Johnson’s getting the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through Congress ensures him at least a moderately good rating no matter how disasterous our involvement in Vietnam turned out to be (and no matter how little the current President learned from that experience). Carter was not a successful President, but Civil War did not break out on his watch and he did start the ball rolling on increasing US military strength and deregulation.

    The author also plays games with statistics. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was in fact supported by 7 of 94 Southern Democrats in the House compared to 0 10 Southern Republicans; 145 of 154 Northern Democrats vs 138 of 162 Northern Republicans. In the Senate the stats were 1 of 21 Southern Democrats in favor (Yarborough of Texas), 0 of 1 Southern Republicans in favor, 45 of 46 Northern Democrats in favor (and that is counting Robert Byrd as a northerner), and 27 of 32 Northern Republicans in favor. The real divide was section, not party and in every section the Democrats were more supportive. This is called ignoring a confounder and it is a particularly evil thing to do for partisan purposes.

    And most of the anti-civil rights southerners had become Republicans by the late 1970s.

  66. Bob Miller
    February 18th, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

    Charlie Hall,

    You’re leaving out the many ill effects of the Great Society legislation as actually applied.

  67. Fern R
    February 19th, 2008 @ 2:12 am

    I have a beef with the RJC because they have not taken a principled, public stand against the Bush Administration’s recent pursuit of a thoroughly phony and dangerous Mideast peace plan.

    Me too. That, and the RJC in California seems to be Jewish in name only (JINO?). I sent the CA director an email pointing out that the CA RJC convention was on Shabbat as well as other events they were promoting and asked why they would schedule events during a time when many Jewish Republicans couldn’t attend. I got a very lengthy, angry email in return. :-/

  68. Charlie Hall
    February 19th, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    Bob,

    I don’t see any disasters in Johnson’s domestic policy. Lets look at the specific areas of the Great Society:

    The War on Poverty lasted only until Nixon’s election; it didn’t last long enough to have much of an effect one way or another, notwithstanding the arguments of those who continue to blame it for problems 40 years later.

    Medicare and Medicaid pay for health care for millions of otherwise-uninsurable Americans. These were not really Johnson’s programs; Franklin Roosevelt had proposed something similar three decades earlier that would have covered all Americans, as did Nixon, Ford, and Clinton. The compromise was to cover only the poor and elderly. I agree that our health care payment system qualifies as a “disaster” but I don’t blame Medicare or Medicaid for that.

    Federal aid to elementary and secondary education never amounted to much. Aid to higher education allowed a lot of people to attend college, although it had the unintended effect of increasing tuition. (The same will likely happen if we ever get vouchers.) I’ve actually argued that the federal government should take over most of the costs of elementary and secondary education, in part to increase equity, in part to reduce crushing local tax burdens, and in part to bypass the Blaine Amendments that prevent voucher systems for religious schools, but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

    Johnson’s environmental legislation was expanded upon by future Presidents; environmental protection has contributed to better health, higher property values, and making American a nicer place to live.

    The reorganization of federal transportation finally made funds available for more sensible public transit projects instead of the terribly destructive urban freeways that were destroying communities across the country.

    The federal government began funding arts and cultural institutions in a small way. You can argue about the desirability of this but it doesn’t fit the definition of “disaster”.

    Johnson also signed into law the long overdue termination of America’s racist immigration laws that (among other things) condemned six million Jews to their deaths because there was no where for them to escape.

    The real negative legacy was the attempt to fight a major war without raising taxes and while pursuing an aggressive government expansion in domestic policy. Even though Johnson relented during the last year of his administration and agreed to a tax increase, the “guns and butter” strategy messed up the US economy for decades. Incredibly, we are repeating this error today.

  69. Saul
    March 12th, 2008 @ 10:22 am

    So- called radical Jews that take on neo Conservative values consistent with Torah. What a cop out.Was Abraham a conservative?
    Nothing is surprising here as now you are presently a radical Jewish fundamentalist as you made a drastic paradigm shift in your conscious radically with a beard.
    It is your choice who you vote for. Use your heart and mind.

  70. Michoel
    March 12th, 2008 @ 10:27 am

    “Was Abraham a conservative?”

    Sher wasnt no libral.

  71. Kressel
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

    I’m so glad you brought this up. I was thinking of writing a post, “The Closet Liberal of Monsey,” but I didn’t have the guts, figuring I’d be bashed for saying a few good things about our president. But now I’ll print out the whole thread and who knows, perhaps I’ll even write the post!

  72. Bob Miller
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    Here are a few accurate things about our President’s foreign policy:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261072/our-schizoid-foreign-policy-victor-davis-hanson

  73. Charlie Hall
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    Actually what is remarkable about President Obama’s foreign policy is how little it has changed from that of President Bush. We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are still alienating the people of Pakistan with drone attacks. We still oppose Israeli settlements. (Actually the count of Presidents who opposed settlements is now up to nine.) We still kowtow to dictators when we think they can help us. We still borrow billions from China.

    I’m a liberal and I’m not closeted; there are lots of liberals in my own community.

  74. Gary
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    Charlie, re # 73:

    Pres. Obama’s policies (foreign and otherwise) differ little from those of Pres. Bush since many of the same people are still in place: Gates, Petraeus, Bair, Geithner and Bernanke to name a few. According to the local wags and pundits, they were great public servants under Bush. The conventional “wisdom” has shifted, and now they are gumming up the works under Obama. Lawrence Summers was a local hero when he was using gender stereotypes, but he became a goat when he was promoting a Democratic economic agenda.

    To quote Benjamin Netanyahu (1996) my vote is based on the issues, not the “ish” (Hebrew for person). http://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/23/opinion/essay-ish-vs-issues.html

  75. Bob Miller
    March 4th, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    Since the Bush family seems to be a subsidiary of the Saudis, their foreign policies were not unexpected. Regardless of what was said in public, it appears that the G.W. Bush administration often put roadblocks in the way of Israeli action against terrorists. Continuing and amplifying the tilt against Israel is no credit to Obama, who is gumming up his own works in general.

  76. Steve Mantz
    March 4th, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    @charlie hall; I agree. good to see this thread being re-commented upon.

  77. Judy Resnick
    March 4th, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    For those who voted for Obama to end the war, both wars are still continuing with more boots on the ground than in the Bush era.

    For those who voted for Obama hoping for immigration reform, more aliens have been deported each year than under Bush.

    For those who voted for Obama to get change, they got more of the same.

  78. Gary
    March 4th, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    Things between the US and Israel have never been all bad or all good. The tilt may be downward now, but I don’t recall a long, consistently upward tilt.

    As the only autonomously functioning state with representative government* in the Middle East, Israel is treated as a step child by the moderate Arabs and to the United States. Israel is rarely, if ever, welcome to participate in international operations in the Middle East.

    Rhetorical question: Why don’t the new entities with representative governments in the region (Iraq, and some would say Lebanon and the PA), recognize the oldest such country in the region (Israel)?

    This attitude is long standing and bipartisan in nature. The only thing that surprises me is that anybody is surprised by it.

    *The term democracy is a misnomer when applied to any sizeable entity. I prefer the term representative government, so we can shake off the burden of comparing democracies, republics and the like.

  79. Gary
    March 4th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    There are now fewer troops in Iraq, but more in Afghanistan. The important questions, besides how many troops are involved, concern the proper allocation of troops to each theater of operations, and the proper utilization of the deployed troops. I haven’t been impressed with the choices of theaters or the results obtained in either one.

    Increased deportation of illegal immigrants is a type of immigration reform. It may not be to everyone’s liking,but it’s better than the old non-policies. Illegal immigration has always been popular with two diametrically opposed institutions: government (tax windfall) and business (labor-cost saving windfall).

  80. Charlie Hall
    March 6th, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    “For those who voted for Obama to get change, they got more of the same.”

    There has been massive change — for the good — in domestic policy. But you are correct regarding foreign policy; it has changed little.

    As I pointed out, US policy regarding Israel hasn’t really changed since the late 1960s.

  81. Steve Mantz
    March 7th, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    @judy; interesting. you criticize Obama for doing the things you agree with, yet give him no acknowledgment here for the things which you don’t agree with.

    what about the stimulus plan? what about health care? was THAT not a change? what about renewable energy? i know you oppose these, and you probably vilify him for these. yet you don’t mention those.

  82. Charlie Hall
    March 7th, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    “For those who voted for Obama hoping for immigration reform, more aliens have been deported each year than under Bush.”

    Indeed we are seeing the strictest enforcement of immigration laws in more than a generation. I recently served on a federal grand jury; we indicted dozens of people for illegal entry into the United States. All the people we indicted had previously been convicted of a felony in the United States and then been deported. One had been convicted of first degree murder!

    I don’t have a problem with that kind of enforcement.

  83. Albany Jew
    March 8th, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    When we hear anti-semitic garbage like we did today from Schiller of NPR (hand-in-hand with his anti-Republican attitudes), or last night when a liberal talk show host had a great time making fun of people who believe in the Torah version of creation,(calling them morons) it is very hard to support the political wing where that stuff is emanating from.

  84. Steve Mantz
    March 8th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    @Albany Jew; i understand. but they don’t speak for all or most liberals. I assume that you already have some issue-based disagreements with liberal policies, which if so, is of course totally fine as well.

  85. yeshaya
    October 10th, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    People need to understand that there ARE a significant number of Democrat-voting Orthodox Jews. The fact that many frum Jews vote Republican is one reason people are unwilling to consider Orthodoxy, but that’s not a good reason because there is a lot of political diversity.

    In my view, no one should be too attached to a particular political party — party allegiance promotes arrogance and hatred of those you disagree with. If people were attached to the Torah, and to empirically-validated facts, they would come up with a political program that was in some ways Democratic, in some ways Republican, and in many ways like neither. We need to be humble, open-minded and learn from every person, while rejecting all falsehood and negative character traits.

  86. Bob Miller
    October 11th, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    It’s a hard job to get through the conceptual chaos to the emes, but every voter is duty bound to do just that. Bad voting habits are very hard to shake; no one wants to admit that he/she already elected an incompetent or enemy of the people.

  87. shmuel
    October 11th, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    To me the idea that there would be a strong link between one or another American political party and my religious beliefs is odd, since neither party has a philosophy that is consistent with my religious beliefs. That is not a problem however, as I vote for candidates for congress/president/governor/etc, not for candidates for rabbi/posek/etc.

    I vote for whichever candidate I think would do a better job, irrespective of party affiliation.

    Also, I don’t know if the original poster Heidi is still out there, but if so, you really should consider deciding for yourself whom to vote for.

  88. David
    October 19th, 2012 @ 1:44 am

    This stuff is actually subtle.

    Remember that the world is JEWISH . . . all other religions (and their precepts) as outlooks evolved from variants (and their distortions) of matan torah consequence and that includes the denomination called liberal Dem. One way among many to look at it . . . by being Lib. Dem some Jews confuse that (in lieu of) as a substitute for the 613 so to say.

    ALL humans need an organizing framework to live, even atheists and I surely do NOT believe in the g-d they do NOT believe in.

    Basically, liberal Dem. is one of many Reforms denominations.

    Hope that helps.

  89. David
    October 19th, 2012 @ 2:07 am

    add as last par. before . . .Hope that helps.

    And I was born a Lib Dem, part of my tinook she nishbah “state.” As my dehelenization continues TG I know better so I think .

    And the world also is devovling in that politics is becoming its own religion so to say.

  90. Bob Miller
    October 19th, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    All politicians will let us down at some point, but some do it more often or with more impact. Now and then, roll the dice to throw out the bums who already performed despicably.

  91. Charlie Hall
    October 21st, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

    FWIW, Riverdale voted 78% for Obama in 2008, and Teaneck voted 70% for Obama then. An unscientific survey (dozens of Sukkot guests) showed about a 2:1 Obama preference this year. I’ve even seen Obama buttons and yarmulkes in shul.

    Riverdale voted overwhelmingly for Mike Bloomberg in 2009. It votes overwhelmingly for Democratic state legislators, and for Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel.

    The “Observant Jews Generally Vote Republican” may not be as generally true as people think.

    Personally, I find myself moving further and further to the Left the more I grow in Judaism.

  92. Bob Miller
    October 22nd, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Teshuva is possible even in upscale neighborhoods.

  93. Judy Resnick
    October 22nd, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    The Democratic Party has been kowtowing to far-left and secular Jews, rejecting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and pushing Israel to make concessions and halt “settlement activity.” Palestinian Arabs have increasingly flexed their political muscles in the states of Michigan and New Jersey, and they are exerting influence on Democratic policy to put more “daylight” between the U.S.A. and Israel. In addition, the Democratic Party has embraced gay marriage and abortion on demand, positions which are contradictory to daas Torah. All of these factors have helped to push Orthodox Jews away from the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party.

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