On Ryan, NJDC gets specific, while RJC expresses general satisfaction


The National Jewish Democratic Council has plenty of specifics in its criticism of Rep. Paul Ryan. Today, the group has come out (from Sinai?) with a top 10 list of things it doesn’t like about Ryan — from his budget proposals (with their spending cuts that many Jewish groups opposed); to his stances on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; to his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage; to his vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

By contrast, the Republican Jewish Coalition was much more vague in its Saturday statement applauding Mitt Romney’s choice of Ryan. The RJC’s statement does not explicitly endorse any of Ryan’s ideas or proposals relating to domestic policy. Instead, the RJC simply applauds him for having “challenged both party leaderships in Washington to face up to growing fiscal problems that threaten to blight our nation’s future,” while it slams the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Senate for allegedly failing to confront these issues.

In fairness to the RJC, Romney has his own budget ideas, as the former Massachusetts governor has emphasized since picking Ryan. So while it may make political sense for the NJDC to attack Ryan’s in very specific terms, the RJC does not have the same interest in carrying the banner for Ryan’s specific past proposals, which the Wisconsin congressman will now be expected to sublimate to the service of Romney’s agenda. Still, it is also true that Ryan’s specific policy positions — certainly on social issues, but also probably on entitlements – would likely be a tough sell to Jewish voters.


The one area where the RJC gets somewhat specific in its praise of Ryan’s budget proposal is for his opposition to cuts in military spending. (The RJC also praises his positions on Israel.)

The NJDC meanwhile criticizes what it says is Ryan’s inexperience in that foreign and defense policy, his support for cuts to the foreign aid budget, and what the group depicts as partisan obstructionism by the entire House Republican caucus — of which Ryan is a part– on some Iran sanctions votes. (Some of the background on the Iran sanctions vote wrangling is here and here; it’s worth noting that one Republican accused Democrats of being the ones playing "partisan procedural games" on these votes.)


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