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Monday, July 16, 2012

Maybe Joel Pollak ran two years too soon?

You may recall that in the 2010 elections, Republican Joel Pollak was defeated by Democrat 'J Street Jan' Schakowsky in Illinois' heavily Jewish 9th Congressional district. Now, things have gotten so bad that the Jews of Chicago's northern suburbs are finally voting Republican (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad via Twitter and Instapundit).
Mitt Romney is receiving support from Jewish voters not seen for a Republican candidate in 24 years. Although a sizable majority of Jewish Americans will still cast their ballots for Barack Obama, the erosion of Obama’s solid foundation in the Jewish community is a political phenomenon worthy of commentary. It is also one that can make a striking difference in an electoral race polling within sampling error.

Nowhere is this phenomenon as visible as in Chicago’s heavily Jewish and Democratic northern suburbs. There, the Jewish embrace of the Republicans has reached such significant numbers that the Daily Herald, Chicago’s largest and most prestigious suburban newspaper, ran the topic as its lead story in its Sunday edition (July 8): “More suburban Jews turning to the Republican Party.”

Beneath the headline ran a picture of Arie Friedman, a prominent pediatrician and Republican candidate for the Illinois state Senate in the 29th district. Friedman — like Jewish candidate Jonathan Greenberg, an ordained rabbi who is running for the state house in the newly formed 57th district — is a fiscal conservative who is strong on national defense and liberal on social issues.

But while both candidates are Jewish in districts with large numbers of Jewish voters, they are not running on Jewish issues. They are running against a runaway fiscal policy that has ruined a great state. Illinois’ bloated pension system, mountain of debt, and soaring taxes are as much local issues as they are national. What propels Jews toward Romney also propels them toward the local Republican candidates. The hope of the local candidates is that Democratic identifiers who vote for Romney will continue to vote for Republicans at the local level and for the same reasons.

When pundits speak of Jews deserting Obama, his tenuous policies on Israel come to mind. Yet Paul Miller, a political consultant to both the Greenberg and Friedman campaigns who has long been involved in Illinois politics (disclosure: he is a relative), sees things differently. To Miller, Jews are first and foremost experiencing politics as would any American citizen, and Illinois rivals California for the state in the most dire economic condition.
And in a bit that could have been written by my regular commenter, Sunlight...
Jews are slowly beginning to understand that compassion and social justice cannot mean a coerced transfer of the benefits of their labor to someone else. The concepts of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) are moral obligations of the individual, not obligations imposed on the individual by the state. As Jews see the administrative costs of government, the debt, and the economic chaos, they are beginning to understand unrestrained leftism has nothing to do with their values. One can better repair the world by creating economic conditions where people have the opportunity to prosper.
Well, those of us who study the sources saw that a long time ago.... J
ews are beginning to untie their Democratic moorings, because this is now not the party of JFK, but of Jimmy Carter. That is Barack Obama’s unique contribution to the transformation of the Jewish vote.


Most Jews will vote for Obama, but American elections generally have been about the margins. And the difference between 88% and 60% of the Jewish vote certainly can make a difference, especially if that translates to other contests down the ballot.

Now, lest you all get your hopes up, I asked Joel Pollak a while back if he would consider challenging Schakowsky again. Joel, who is now at Breitbart.com, told me that, for now at least, he's not thinking about it. Maybe we can get him to reconsider?

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