My colleague Greg Sargent and the Washington Jewish Week’s Adam Kredo report on the latest Obama team machinations to convince Jewish voters that President Obama really has a “stellar” record on Israel. This time it’s a conference call with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), Democratic hack Ira Forman and former Florida representative David Wexler. As Greg reports, all kinds of “new and extensive talking points” were provided. Unfortunately for Obama, there are certain inescapable facts.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal Dan Senor (an informal adviser to Mitt Romney and formerly with the Bush administration) provided a handy list of Obama’s actions that have undermined the Jewish state and/or weakened the U.S.-Israel relationship. The list is long and should be read in full. Senor concludes: “Mr. Obama has made some meaningful exceptions, particularly having to do with security partnership, but overall he has built the most consistently one-sided diplomatic record against Israel of any American president in generations. His problem with Jewish voters is one of substance, not messaging.”
We can ponder whether this stems from a conviction that Israel is to blame for the region’s woes or from an excessive desire for solidarity with an “international community” that has become virulently anti-Israel or from sheer incompetence.(These are not mutually exclusive.)
Perhaps even the Obama team senses it is hopeless to try to convince informed pro-Israel voters that the president has been a swell friend of Israel. Greg notes “the campaign is banking on the fact that Jewish voters side with Democrats on many issues unrelated to Israel. [Wasserman-Schultz] said Obama was far better than Republicans ‘on every issue that matters to this community.’ ” Unfortunately, his record on the economy in and of itself is enough to turn off Jewish voters.
A majority of Jewish voters still will choose Obama in the general election. They will either convince themselves that Obama’s been adequate on Israel or downgrade Israel as a priority (abortion on demand and global warming are really what matters, they’ll whisper to one another). But I suspect among Jewish donors there will be far less generosity than there was in 2008, and there will be a significant chunk of Jewish voters who decide enough is enough. That would be a teachable event for the Democratic Party’s movers and shakers: Take the Jewish vote for granted at your own peril.