Skip to comments.For Jewish Republicans: Oy Veh
Posted on 06/11/2014 2:30:40 AM PDT by nickcarraway
The dream of a Jewish Republican speaker of the House is no more.
With House Majority Leader Eric Cantors startling ouster in a primary election this week, the man who was on a track to be the highest-ranking Jewish official in American history now appears consigned to the status of a Jeopardy answer. His defeat has left Jewish organizations in both parties reeling, especially the GOPs long-suffering Jewish coalition groups.
Cantor was and for now, remains the No. 2 Republican in a conference of 233 lawmakers. But for Jewish Republicans, Cantor is a singular figure, the only Jewish member of the House majority and the lone Jewish leader in a party that has strenuously courted the community in recent presidential elections, to little avail.
Now, with Cantors defeat, theres no longer a point man to help organize trips to Israel for junior GOP lawmakers, as Cantor routinely did. Jewish nonprofits and advocacy groups have no other natural person in leadership to look to for a sympathetic ear. No other Republican lawmaker can claim to have precisely the same relationship with gaming billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a primary benefactor of both the Republican Party and the Republican Jewish Coalition. And no other member can play quite the same role in promoting Jewish Republican congressional candidates, as Cantor did in one election after another. He is scheduled to headline a Long Island fundraiser this Saturday for Lee Zeldin, one of the few Jewish Republican House recruits this year. The event was announced only a few days before Cantors fateful primary. At the time, there was every expectation Zeldin would be appearing with the future House speaker, a man floated more than once for the vice presidency and for numerous statewide offices in his native Virginia.
Matt Brooks, the RJC president, called Cantors primary one of those incredible, evil twists of fate that just changed the potential course of history.
There are other leaders who will emerge, but Eric was unique and it will take time and theres nobody quite like Eric in the House to immediately fill those shoes, Brooks said. I was certainly hoping that Eric was going to be our first Jewish speaker.
Across the aisle, the reactions to Cantors defeat ranged from shock and distress to barely-restrained glee. For partisan Jewish Democrats, Cantor has long been a supremely annoying figure, perceived as a front man for a conservative party thats hostile to the values a strong majority of Jews share on issues from economic inequality to gay marriage to immigration, the central animating issue of Cantor challenger Dave Brats campaign.
As Democrats seek to cement a public perception of the GOP as an intolerant and homogenous party, the defeat of the nations leading Jewish Republican over his support for more relaxed immigration laws can only help.
And it now appears almost certain that the first Jew to lead one of the two chambers of Congress will come from the ranks of Democrats, where Jewish politicians including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and New York Rep. Steve Israel already hold important roles of legislative and partisan leadership.
Still, several prominent Jewish Democrats expressed ambivalence on election night over the snuffing-out of a prominent Jewish political career and the elimination of a lonely figure in the House who looked at the very least on the surface like a receptive audience for Jewish-driven advocacy.
Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Committee, called it an especially bitter pill that Cantor went down to a challenger running to his right on immigration as Moline put it, that Cantor has been undone by an issue that they didnt make much progress on, but that is reflective of Jewish values.
From the point of view of a Democrat, Im not disappointed to see him go, Moline said, acknowledging: There is always a pride in the Jewish community when one of our own makes good, as I think there is in every community. So from that point of view, were disappointed, like we were disappointed when Rahm Emanuel gave up his quest to be the first Jewish speaker of the House.
Moline added: At least in that situation, we had pride in the fact that he was chief of staff to the president of the United States and went on to be mayor of Chicago. I dont see Eric Cantor going on to greater things in government.
Former NJDC president David Harris, calling Cantors loss a concern to nonpartisan Jewish organizations, argued that the political takeaway for Jewish voters should be clear. Jews are so well represented on the Supreme Court. Theyre so well represented in Congress. But as a professional political class, Jewish Republicans are just not part of that party, he said. If Cantor played a critically important symbolic role for Republican Jews, its unclear whether his defeat will bring immediate consequences for policy. The GOP is a staunchly pro-Israel party, even if many of its members may have never set foot in a synagogue. Other election returns Tuesday night demonstrated that: While Cantor went down, Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham easily defeated a pack of primary challengers after touting his strongly hawkish foreign policy views.
And as much as Cantor was an atypical Republican when it came to his ethnic identity, some Republican Jews shrugged at suggestions that his primary represented a real shift on substance. One GOP operative said he would be hard-pressed to name an important issue on which Cantor made the difference between success and failure for Jewish foreign policy groups, pointing out that Cantor supported defense cuts under the Budget Control Act that Jewish groups strenuously opposed.
If I had to pick tonight, do I get to pick Lindsey Graham or Eric Cantor, its not a choice at all, the strategist said. Cantor was ineffective.
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who serves on the RJC board, said that from a historical perspective Cantors defeat was very sad but my politics dont revolve around my identity as much as they do my ideology.
It was a real point of pride to have Eric as a Jewish Republican. There are some other Jewish Republicans running in 2014, Fleischer said. Lets wait and see.
Steve Rabinowitz, a Democratic public relations consultant who works with a range of Jewish groups, said that for non-partisan Jews, Cantor was definitely a loss. He cited Cantors reliable backing not just for Israel and tough-on-Iran policies, but also his attention to issues such as services for Holocaust survivors and support for the nonprofit sector.
There are some in the community who are twisting themselves into pretzels tonight to figure out if its OK to comment on the race, Rabinowitz said. I have no love lost for him. Im bemused tonight.
Man, the only issues that really matter to liberals are race, sex, and religious affiliation. They disgust me as a breed. Cantor lost primarily because of his immigration stance, but mostly because he had turned into a mushy wuss.
That is precisely what they are doing. I heard Wassertwat's statement and Chuck You Schumer's statement last night.
The Gee Oh Pee had better find a succinct answer that nukes this every time. Else, this will really hurt, esp. among the low information crowd.
True Flaglady......if I would get 435 conservatives in Congress, not one of them needs to be a Catholic even though that is my religion. I want good conservatives not Catholic politicians....we have enough of those in reality...lol.
I didn’t even know he was Jewish. Big deal.
What mattered was his squishiness on immigration. That’s all.
Maybe, just maybe, the Jewish factions now wringing there hands over his defeat out there counted too much on having the awesome significance of a Jewish Speaker than they counted on having a free and sovereign America.
Seems to me, this country fell for the “awesome significance” of a first-anything, twice in fact. That didn’t work out so well, did it?
Frankly, never ONCE did I ponder the awesome significance of Cantor’s Jewish religion about anything. It simply did not matter to me. What only mattered was his unwavering commitment to whatever form of amnesty these people are calling it now days. And, this is the “awesome significance” of what brought his weasely little a$$ down.
Our COUNTRY - Sovereign. Not a dumping ground for third and fourth world crap hole illegal aliens regardless of their age.
Only a Democrat could write such drivel.
“evil twists of fate” as a point of view is not religious. Keep in mind that being Jewish is a race issue and, seems to me, not a religious issue for these guys.
I caught that reference also.
Too much schmuck. Not enough mensch.
I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know he was Jewish. Pretty soon libs will be calling “racism!” on this ouster.
The democrats are a sick bunch. Color, penis placement preference and anti-Christianity are all they have.
Jewish Americans are rabidly ‘open borders’ immigration radicals, too stupid to look at how that policy would work in Israel.
It would do the same here, but they are too dumb to see it.
Too many Jews remind me of the ones who followed Moses out of Egypt, but found freedom scary and chose instead to worship a golden calf idol as soon as Moses left them alone while he went up to receive God’s law on Mt. Sinai.
I always think of that story as symbolic of what has happened to my beloved America — as a nation we have turned our backs on the gift of liberty that our founders and subsequent generations gave us.
Other than Tea Partiers, how many candidates for national or state office ever invoke the concept of liberty these days when running for election (let alone while governing once they win)?
I watch the Republicans and I wonder that, as America descends into the hell of totalitarian leftism, they cannot even sell the concept of freedom to Americans. It just never occurs to them.
It is unbelievable to me that Jews (and I was born Jewish) have so relatively recent gone through the horror of the concentration camps and ovens, and yet they still always seem to support the party that advocates a total concentration of unlimited government power.
evil twists of fate
Eric Cantor = evil twit of fate.
I was completely unaware of long suffering Jewish GOP members.
I must be stupid.
He was a Democrat masquerading as a Republican, like most Republicans today
If one is Jewish and a Conservative, this is not an issue about religion.
If one is Jewish and a Conservative, this is not an issue about religion.
Leave it to Politico to get to the real, insightful, heart of the matter -- Cantor was defeated because Republicans hate Jews.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
I don't think his faith had anything to do with the race. My guess most Jews wouldn't know who he is if asked, and wouldn't know he was Jewish. Dems will argue, of course, it was the issue. Elected 7 times, the voters just found out he was Jewish.Related threads
Freepers are chiming in that they didn’t know he was a Jew. A total non-issue but Blabberman-Schultz will probably be pushing this memo.
Too much schmuck. Not enough mensch.
I see the Republicans as having an opportunity right now to get Jews to support the GOP.
Cut off aid to PLO and Hamas, and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. Also, stop saying that Judea and Sumeria
are occupied which is nonsense.
See the Dems get Jews votes but no longer talk the talk of supporting Israel. GOP has to just be seen as pro Israel.
The only reason we even knew his religion is because the liberal press told us. They obsess with a person’s race, religion and gender. We saw him as a republican. Funny that.
How insulting to Jewish voters to assert that they put their religious identity above their love of their country.
If open borders for a welfare state reflects Jewish values, I submit that there’s something wrong with Jewish values.
Jewish CONSERVATIVES on the other hand are ecstatic.
Count me as one.
I agree. When I read this piece of drivel I felt so blessed I was Republican... As hard as it is to believe for the folks at Politico there are people who can see past race, sex, and religion. After reading this liberal divisive filth I feel sickened.
Well, this Jewish guy is not upset about Cantor’s loss.
He was a liberal and needed to go.
I think a lot of conservative Jewish folk had great hopes for Cantor. I certainly did. It’s socially problematic being conservative and Republican for a lot of Jewish Americans. Cantor represented a “great Jewish hope” for a lot of conservative Jews, to show that, yes, it was OK to be Jewish and politically conservative.
Sadly, Cantor turned out to be a lot like Colin Powell. Powell was “the great black hope” for conservative blacks. Well, Obama-supporting Powell was pathetic and needed to go, too.
So, while I still hope for a “great Jewish hope” to get politically-conservative Jewish Americans out of the closet (and there are a LOT more than polling or voting would lead one to believe), I am not sad to see Cantor go, in the least.
Liberal Jews are bad for the Jews and bad for America and Israel.
As a complete aside, does Brat look almost like a clone of Cantor, or is that just me? I have to look at them side-by-side to tell the difference. Not to stereotype my own people, but Brat looks pretty damn Israeli to me. Be hilarious if that was the case and really put the race baiters on their heels.
Israel’s greatest friend has always been the American conservative. Someone said during G.W. Bush’s administration that if Bush could run for Prime Minister of Israel he’d win in a landslide. Yet he lost the American Jewish vote in a landslide. Go figure.
There’s a fairly wide gulf between American cultural Jews and Israeli nationalist Jews. I would say Zionist but that word is too freighted with other connotations. Being Jewish does not automatically make one a supporter of Israel, regardless.
Cantor wins 7 primaries and general elections - no trend can be established.
Cantor loses 1 primary - Republicans are anti-Semetic.
It would be, wouldn’t it?
” Yet he lost the American Jewish vote in a landslide. Go figure.”
A question often pondered here, with no resolution, especially considering American ex-pats in Israel vote in the exact opposite pattern (80% plus for Republicans).
My personal theory is the simplest: Jewish Americans are products of their political environment -—— most are urban and located in liberal areas. So they vote like their neighbors.
Fortunately, my tribe is small and scattered and really politically insignificant in all but the tightest of racists in certain swing states. We could have all voted for McCain and Romney and Obama would have still won.
racists = races Ha.
I shouted out to my husband this morning: they’re identical cousins! Brat has blondish hair, only difference, lol.
>> “Brat looks pretty damn Israeli to me.” <<
You might be very surprised to find out how much of the “white” race is descended from the dispersed northern kingdom Israelites. Especially “Dan” whose name is stamped on so much of Europe.
I agree with you and see this as a very obvious way to continue to demonize those who want the government to stop wasting money.
Most Jews were either ‘Red Diaper’ babies or wore ‘Democrap’ brand diapers - as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
Good riddance of Cantor and his ‘legalize the criminal aliens’ sick shtick.
One can’t help wondering what the Almighty must think as Jews vote to reestablish the “House of Bondage” from whence they were once led.
Give the GOPE time and they will make this anti-Semitic. I didn’t know Cantor was Jewish until this article, nor did I care. He was a big government Republican and he got his butt kicked, no bigotry here except on the left.
He was our best asset in relations with Israel, and was a role model for young Jewish conservatives. As Jewbacca said, maybe he had to go. But we’re also losing some serious political value that will be hard to replace.
LOL - it's not just you... it's funny weird - and real.
Hey, love the screen name! You are a funny guy.
As for Brat, a lot of people are hoping he is genuine and if he is that he will not be corrupted by DC.
I think people are going to find out he is a libertarian-leaning seriously small government conservative. Most economists are.
Which is fine in the House, where they control the budget.
Not so keen on them in the executive branch.
It will be interesting to see what he does if he wins in the general election.
He seems to be quite clear now in his six principles.
Stupid freepers, what can I say. Will Debbie spin that to say conservatives just found out he was a Jew and dumped him, of course she will. Some morons will believe it.
Neither party will cut off aid to the PLO, sorry PA. Neither party will move the Embassy to Jerusalem. Neither party will defend the right of Jews to live in Judea and Sameria. IMO, the GOP is less tolerant of Jewhaters, and I think they’re more pro Israel, but when it comes to actions, it really is marginal. If GWB believed the campaign promise he made, and which the GOP put in the platform, the land being ours already, the project shovel ready, the American Embassy would have been in Jerusalem in 2002 or 2003. Losing issue politically.
This Jewish Republican is thrilled to see Eric Cantor gone.