In a column for the Jerusalem Post, pro-Israel analyst Douglas Bloomfield argues that Jewish Democrats have “good reason to be worried about” John McCain – but they also have “strong ammunition to muster against him.”
Whereas McCain and [Joe] Lieberman are in lockstep in their support for the Iraq war and hardline toward Iranian nuclear ambitions, most Jewish voters strongly oppose the Iraq war and don’t want one with Iran.
Lieberman has said he and McCain are cool to the Bush administration’s Mideast peace initiative, although polls indicate most American Jews would like to see a more activist American approach.
Democrats can be counted upon to remind voters that McCain has said we could be in Iraq for another hundred years, while they want to start bringing home the troops in the first hundred days of the next presidency.
Even more upsetting to many Jews will be his promise to use Bush Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito as his models for appointing ‘strict interpretation’ judges to federal bench.
With the judiciary already tilting toward the far Right, that could have a dramatic impact on a range of issues most Jewish voters care about, including church-state separation, abortion and civil liberties.
On the flip side:
McCain, unlike recent Republican nominees, appeals to Jewish voters on issues that have earned him the enmity of his party’s conservative base – immigration reform, campaign finance reform, stem cell research, climate control and torture.
Those issues and his reputation for candor have identified him as a maverick and obscured his otherwise staunchly conservative record, which he has stressed in appearances before the party faithful. Once he locks up the nomination, that record will prove an inviting target for Democratic strategists – particularly Jewish Democrats.
And, if the Democrats settle on Barack Obama, Bloomfield says “look for right-wing Jews to step up their hate campaign against him and efforts to brand him the Muslim Manchurian candidate.”