Is the GOP’s District 9 upset evidence that President Barack Obama is losing favor among Jewish Americans? While prominent Democrats say no, others disagree vehemently.
Some, like strategist Dick Morris, have been warning about about an Obama-Jewish implosion for some time now.
As the dust settles on the special election that took place on Tuesday to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner following his infamous photo scandal, some believe that Obama’s anti-Israel policies helped to fuel the unprecedented GOP win. Considering the large number of Jews in the district, this assumption may very well be valid.
There’s no doubt that something has changed for the president among a demographic that offered such stellar support during the last campaign cycle (nearly eight in 10 Jewish Americans voted for him in 2008). The only question now is: How will Obama and his re-election campaign respond to this change?
Following what can only be called a period of complicated relations with Israel, some Democrats fear that the president has a uphill battle courting Jewish Americans who have otherwise widely supported more liberal candidates in the past.
From the 2008 campaign through today, Obama has fought critics on the notion that he is Jimmy Carter reincarnated — a particularly unflattering label considering Carter’s inability to secure a second term. Thursday morning, The New York Times again drew a potential connection between the two politicians. In the lede to the Times article journalist Mark Landler writes:
Not since Jimmy Carter in 1980 has a Democrat running for president failed to win a lopsided majority of the Jewish vote. This has been true during times of peace or war, and even when there has been deep acrimony between the White House and the Israeli government.
It’s possible, all things considered, that 2012 could look an awful lot like 1980. Both the Obama campaign and Democratic officials recognize this looming problem, as both parties have set out to change the image the administration has among Jewish voters.
The Democratic National Committee has established a Jewish outreach initiative and circulated talking points to clarify Obama’s stances. The president’s re-election team has even put together a group of surrogates who will purportedly pen op-eds to help smooth over Jewish American opinion. Landler continues:
And the White House is drawing attention to recent expressions of gratitude from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israelis after Mr. Obama intervened last Friday to help prevent violence after a mob attacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, threatening the Israeli diplomats inside.
And who could forget AttackWatch.com, where the president’s re-election campaign touts Obama’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.” You’ll find the following (notice Media Matters being touted as a viable source):
But will these initiatives be enough? Will the president’s actions end up speaking louder than his words? As the campaign attempts to fix the electoral conundrum it finds itself in among American Jews, there are other groups mobilizing to paint Obama’s Israel policies in a negative light.
Earlier this month, The Blaze covered the Emergency Committee for Israel’s New York City-focused ad campaign that seeks to show that Obama is anti-Israel.
With the Palestinian Authority using Obama’s own words against him, with a history of scolding America’s strongest Middle Eastern ally and with increasingly telling evidence that there’s a political cost to his more hardline treatment of Israel, the president may, once again, be getting compared to Carter come 2012.