At the New York Jewish Week, Jim Besser notes two facts about Adam Hasner, the veteran (but youthful) Florida pol who hopes to be the GOP candidate challengeing Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) next year:
–He’s a rising Jewish star with an impeccable right-wing* pro-Israel record;
–He backs the Medicare reforms proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — the same reforms that have so far proven so unpopular, a Democrat campaigning against them just won New York State’s most Republican district.
With disagreements between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showing no signs of resolution, Jim sets up a proof-in-the-pudding moment. Republicans have said attacking Obama (and Democrats) on Israel will pay dividends among Jewish voters; Dems say the troops will remain loyal as the GOP steers right on social net issues like Medicare.
So, which will have more juice with Jewish voters in the Sunshine State? GOP charges that President Obama is throwing Israel under the bus, and that the entire Democratic Party has gone soft on support for the Jewish state? Or Democratic charges that the Republicans, with Ryan their new budget guru and Hasner his acolyte, would gut the health care and economic security programs that so many older Americans depend on?
History is with the Democrats on this one, but 2012 promises to be an unusually volatile election year. Stay tuned; Florida could once again be the epicenter of Jewish politics as the campaigns get underway.
Jim, of course, is retiring, much to the collective chagrin of those of us who value his smart and sharp insights, so he won’t have to deal with this "unusually volatile election year."
*David Schraub correctly had a problem with my not qualifying Hasner’s "pro-Israel" descriptor.