Jewish Dems Alarmed Robertson at Romney Fundraiser

–by David Streeter

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today expressed concern over the appearance of controversial religious broadcaster Pat Robertson at a fundraiser for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday. Robertson is known for his offensive and outlandish remarks and the Romney campaign’s decision to host him confirms that Romney is just one of many extremist candidates seeking the GOP nomination. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

“Mitt Romney — the ultimate political chameleon — has strived to be known as one of the more moderate among this field of Republican presidential candidates. Yet by associating with Pat Robertson he has chosen to pander to extremists who refuse to separate church and state, and worse. If associating oneself with Pat Robertson is the Republican Party’s version of ‘moderate,’ let alone a litmus test for Evangelical support, their field of 2012 candidates stands precious little chance of winning the Jewish vote.”

More after the jump.
Politico’s Jonathan Martin put it best:

If Robertson’s name is in the news now, it’s only to recount his latest incendiary comment. Which is why it’s puzzling that Romney — an uber-cautious frontrunner — would appear with the former Christian Coalition chief.

The paper trail of Robertson’s is extensive and, along with his advancing age, is the reason why he’s become marginalized. He blamed Hurricane Katrina on America’s abortion policy, explained the Haiti earthquake by claiming the country had made a ‘pact with the devil,’ the list goes on.

Robertson has written and declared that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. He uses his extreme belief to regularly challenge the First Amendment.

As Newsweek’s Michelle Goldberg wrote, “Republican politics have never been so fully Christianized…. Jews know they can never be full citizens of a Christian nation.”

Romney’s acceptance of Robertson challenges his own efforts to appear as a moderate. While Romney has avoided social issues in the past, his affiliation with Robertson shows that he is willing to bend to the most extreme voices to gain political power. The majority of American Jews are overwhelmingly offended by so many of Robertson’s statements, and this episode helps to illustrate Mitt Romney’s true colors to the Jewish community. It is once again obvious that even the supposedly moderate wing of the Republican Party is far too extreme for the vast majority of American Jews.

NJDC Hits Dim House GOP Effort to Repeal Light Bulb Standards

–by David Streeter

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today hit the dim efforts by the House Republican caucus to overturn light bulb energy efficiency standards found in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act that was signed into law by President George W. Bush with Republican support. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

“The House vote today on lowering efficiency standards for light bulbs is nothing more than the latest instance of the Republicans failing to stay focused on job creation and wrongfully attacking programs and regulations that American Jews support. The bill that contained the increased standards, which was signed into law by a Republican president after receiving bipartisan support, was supported by prominent American Jewish organizations in addition to most of American Jewry. High efficiency light bulb standards are among other common-sense solutions that are roundly supported and used by our community. One need not look further than the average synagogue to see crucial steps towards higher energy efficiency and green living.  

“It seems that the reason for the vote today is that a number of Republicans who initially supported the higher standards caved to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others instead of sticking with a wise public policy. Since taking office, the House Republican caucus has proven that they are not committed to job creation and that they simply cannot be trusted to protect programs and policies that are enthusiastically supported by most American Jews. This effort on light bulbs is just the latest dim idea pursued by the House GOP caucus.”

More after the jump.
The Energy Independence and Security Act received support from the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Orthodox Union, and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. The decision by Republican lawmakers to cave into Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh demonstrates that House Republicans lack the discipline to focus on job creation and that they do not have the political courage to stand up to the extremist radio hosts who have taken over the GOP. With this vote today it is clear that the Republican Party has chosen again to side with extremists rather than the vast majority of American Jews.  

JTA, WaPost, Conservative Blogger, And ThinkProgress Agree On Discredited Jewish Opinion Poll

–by David Streeter

We wanted to make sure that you saw the growing consensus — now from JTA’s Ron Kampeas, The Washington Post’s Polling Manager Peyton Craighill, conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin, and ThinkProgress — regarding the discredited McLaughlin and Cadell poll that falsely claims American Jews are abandoning President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

JTA refers to this as “an expensive push poll;” the Post’s polling manager describes it as “a clear example of advocacy polling;” ThinkProgress… a fascinating conflict of interest, in which the pollsters are themselves founders of the organization that commissioned the poll; and even conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin notes, “I share criticism that some of the questions in the recently released Caddell-McLaughlin poll were quite tilted, shedding doubt on the utility of the poll.”

JTA’s Ron Kampeas wrote about the poll:

[Q]uestions are almost as grievously skewed: ‘Should Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel or should the United States force Israel to give parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Jewish holy sites, to the Palestinian Authority.’

Who has proposed that, precisely? Not Obama — not anyone serious.

That makes this an expensive push poll.

The other problem is this question:

Would you vote to re-elect Barack Obama as President or would you consider voting for someone else?

More after the jump.
Tevi Troy at National Review describes the 43-48 results as showing ‘that only 43 percent of Jews plan to vote to reelect Obama in 2012.’

Of course it shows nothing of the sort. First of all, incumbents always fare relatively poorly against generics of the opposing party. Except, this isn’t even a generic of the opposing party — it’s ‘someone else.’ It could be a Democrat in the primaries. It could be an independent.

And more critically, the respondents are saying they would ‘consider voting’ for someone else. I can’t see how every Independent responding, and not a few Democrats, would not ‘consider’ voting for another candidate.

Again, it’s meaningless.

The Washington Post’s Polling Manager Peyton Craighill said:

[The poll] ‘is a clear example of advocacy polling. They’ve generated leading questions to elicit a desired result to prove a point. In no way does this represent neutral, independent research.’

Conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin, Craighill’s colleague at The Washington Post, agreed with him and offered her own criticism of the poll:

I share criticism that some of the questions in the recently released Caddell-McLaughlin poll were quite tilted, shedding doubt on the utility of the poll. But a fuller context for the effort to poll American Jews is long overdue.

Peyton Craighill, The Post’s polling manager, doesn’t merely take issue with this poll. He offers some important cautions about efforts to poll a very small segment of the electorate.

ThinkProgress uncovered a potential conflict of interest during its investigation of the poll:

ThinkProgress looked at the organization commissioning the poll – Secure America Now – and uncovered a potential conflict of interest for the pollsters….

ThinkProgress asked John McLaughlin about Secure America Now and he told us:

Pat [Caddell] and I worked with [Secure America Now] to do the survey. […] They paid for it.

A little research revealed an article on the conservative Big Peace website from February, discussing how Secure America Now was founded by John McLaughlin and Pat Caddell to ‘inject national security issues into the public dialogue.’

McLaughlin acknowledged his leadership role at Secure America Now in a phone conversation today…

The poll makes no mention of the fact that an organization Caddell described as ‘a grassroots place where people can join up and begin to do things to force [national security and foreign policy] issues into the debate,’ commissioned its own founders to conduct the poll.

Clearly, the McLaughlin and Cadell poll is simply too flawed to be taken seriously.

Keep in mind that Gallup found last week that American Jews are not only supportive of Obama, but that they remain the President’s strongest supporters. NJDC’s statement on the Gallup poll, as well as the full release from Gallup, can be viewed here.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this poll, or any of the other recently debunked polls.

NJDC Congratulates Representative-Elect Janice Hahn

–by David Streeter

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) congratulates Janice Hahn on her successful bid to represent California’s 36th Congressional district. In the special election held today, Hahn defeated her Tea Party-backed Republican opponent, Craig Huey, and dealt a blow to the hopes of Republican leaders who had hoped to send another extremist candidate to Washington, DC. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris released the following statement in response to Hahn’s victory:

“On behalf of the National Jewish Democratic Council, I wish Representative-elect Janice Hahn the best of luck as she continues her career in public service by representing her community at the federal level. We look forward to working with Hahn and continuing the fight for the progressive values she shares with the vast majority of American Jews. After two special elections in this off-cycle year, the growing trend is clear: Americans want leaders to fight against the increasingly extremist agenda of the Republican Party. Hahn has demonstrated that she is ready to do just that.”

Throughout her race against Huey, Hahn distinguished herself as the only candidate that represented the values of most American Jews.

More after the jump.
Hahn pledged her support for Israel and President Barack Obama’s efforts to strengthen the bilateral relationship. Specifically, she expressed support for Obama’s intensified security assistance to Israel, the Administration’s additional sanctions against Iran, and the Administration’s condemnation of anti-Israel rhetoric in international bodies.

Hahn has also been described as “a true fighter on the side of working people” by the L.A. County Federation of Labor.  She has been an ardent proponent of President Obama’s health care reform package and has pledged to protect and expand it.  Hahn also firmly opposes privatizing social security and turning Medicare into a voucher system.

Individuals like Hahn who reflect Jewish values in their policy priorities serve as a reminder to the Jewish community that the Democratic Party remains the only party that advocates for Jewish values within the halls of Congress.