On Nov. 17, 2009, the Republican Jewish Coalition posted this at its Web site: ““Recently released post-election poll results from New Jersey show that Republican Chris Christie won 38% of the Jewish vote this year in his run for governor. We are pleased by Christie’s strong showing in the Jewish community in a very close race. . . . The Jewish community was a key battleground in this election, with both Republicans and the Democrats actively campaigning for Jewish support.”
I asked a pro-Jewish Democratic activist his views on a potential match-up between Christie and the president. He e-mailed me:
Given the massive hole that President Obama has dug, by working actively in his first few years to, in his words, “create space’”between us and Israel and how dismally that has failed to win us the promised goodwill with Arab states and around the Muslim world, and the resulting setback to the pursuit of peace between Israel and her neighbors, there is no doubt that the Jewish vote is in play this cycle in higher numbers than in recent memory. Will a Chris Christie match Reagan’s 39 percent? That is certainly a possibility, depending on how the Administration approaches these issues in the next 16 months.
But it is not only Christie who could derive considerable support from Jewish voters. Mitt Romney in the past has gone over well and raised considerable money in the Jewish community. A few weeks back I had lunch with a major Jewish player in Republican politics. He was undecided then. On Sunday he e-mailed me that he’d decided to back and help fundraise for Romney.
Whomever the GOP nominee may be, he will have the opportunity to take his case to the Jewish community, whose historical grasp on the Democratic Party is already weakening. President Obama’s problems with the Jewish community, like all constituent groups traditionally supportive of the Democratic Party, is a result of many factors, not the least of which is his dreadful record on the economy.
The same factors that will attract Jewish voters — Obama’s foreign policy failures, his inability to work with Congress, and his rotten jobs record — are the very ones that will send many independents into the arms of the Republican nominee, provided that person is articulate, focused on bread-and-butter issues and can present a concrete alternative agenda that appeals to the center-right coalition. That entails a pro-Israel, forward-leaning foreign policy, a determination to pursue tax and entitlement reform, and a solid record of executive leadership. Whoever can fit that bill stands an excellent chance to win the White House.