Lew Fidler is somewhat skeptical about Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s notion that Jewish voters would flock to John McCain if Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, a claim Hikind made in the New York Post today.
As he notes, the story–that a Democrat who is insufficiently supportive of Jewish causes will push the historically overwhelmingly Jewish vote to the Republican candidate–is familiar. It came up with John Kerry in 2004 (not to mention Howard Dean). It also came up – in a big way – during Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, during which she denied a report that she had used a slur against a Jewish man and spent a bunch of time explaining away a public appearance with Suha Arafat.
In both cases, as in countless others — the notable exception is Carter versus Ronald Reagan in 1980– Jews voted overwhelmingly Democratic.
Fidler, who refers to himself as a “bacon and eggs kind of Jew,” said, “Dov is guilty of looking at Jews monolithically. I don’t think he’s thinking of a Jew like me, or my mother even.” He added, “Left to their own devices, the kind of Jew Dov is talking about votes Republican nationally. What a shock.
“What about Jewish yuppies? Are they going to flock to John McCain? I don’t think so,” he said.
Fidler added, “Jews like me aren’t flocking to McCain. I think he [Hikind] might want to modify that statement, and limit it to the type of Jewish community that he represents.”
City Councilman Simcha Felder, an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn and an Obama supporter, had a slightly different (if equally incredulous) take on Hikind’s comments. “I would say that if Hillary were the nominee, just as many Jews, if not more, would flock to McCain, based on her record and her photographs with Suha Arafat and others,” he said.
Felder, who said he moved to Obama in protest to how the “Clinton campaign handled things in South Carolina,” went on to say that “I think that Jews as well as all Americans are certainly concerned about other issues–such as health care, education, the economy–and are looking for a change, the kind that Obama is offering.”