Do conservatives hate everything bagels?
In the course of his monologue about Rep. Barney Frank’s decision not to seek reelection, Jon Stewart riffed:
Losing Barney Frank is the worst thing that could happen to conservatives. He is the perfect avatar of everything they hate: gay, Jewish, ‘tax-achusetts,’ arrogant, condescending, liberal. He’s your everything bagel.
All those may very well be reasons why many conservatives might hate Frank — with one exception: his Jewishness.
I don’t see much evidence that contemporary conservatives are hostile to Jews as a group. Quite the contrary: Conservatives (particularly of the religious bent) regularly gush about the importance of Judeo-Christian values, their respect for Judaism and their love for Israel.
Granted, there is something of a disconnect between conservative affinity for Jews and the actual beliefs and political perspectives of the majority of American Jews. Conservative Judeophiles can occasionally seem almost blissfully unaware that American Jews tend to hold views that are diametrically opposed to theirs when it comes to gay rights, abortion, the relationship between church and state, entitlements, economic policy, etc. (For example, Glenn Beck, who considers himself a great friend of the Jewish people, seems to think that the liberalism of Reform Judaism — the country’s largest Jewish denomination — is somehow an aberration among American Jewry.)
There was a time, of course, when the conservative movement included significant reservoirs of hostility toward Jews. But today conservatism’s less-than-philo-Semitic wing (e.g., Pat Buchanan and his ilk) has been pushed decisively to the movement’s margins.
Conservatives dislike Barney Frank despite — not because of — his Jewishness. They dislike him in large part because of his political views, which just happen to correlate strongly with those of his fellow Jews, though conservatives don’t often draw the connection.
So it’s hardly fair (and more than a little anachronistic) for Jon Stewart to suggest that conservatives hate Jews.
It is true, however, that those with truly conservative taste in bagels may not to be so fond of faddish breadstuffs like everything bagels — which, after all, have only been around for about three decades, not much longer than Barney Frank has been in Congress.
Hat Tip: Talking Points Memo.