Cantor Calls Anti-Semitism The “Darker Side” Of His Caucus

In an astonishing but brutally honest admission to POLITICO today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor-the only Jewish Republican in Congress-openly discussed the challenges of anti-Semitism and racism confronted within the House Republican caucus, adopting his questioner’s labeling of it as the “darker side” of the caucus.

— by David A. Harris

It’s both admirable and disturbing in the extreme to hear Majority Leader Cantor’s candid remarks regarding the dual challenges of racism and anti-Semitism that he has detected in the House GOP caucus. From the widespread use of abusive Holocaust rhetoric among House GOP members and candidates to behind-the-scenes skirmishes like Cantor’s own well-documented decision to oppose the reelection of Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) over his statement to Cantor that Cantor would not be ‘saved,’ there are clearly deep-seated problems within the GOP. The time has come for more GOP leaders to have Cantor’s courage to step forward, and for the GOP to start addressing the problem directly — with actions, not just words.

Reaction from ThinkProgress after the jump.
According to Think Progress:

Today, Cantor, the only Jewish House Republican, nearly affirmed that this was the reason he fought against Manzullo’s re-election, insinuating that anti-Semitism-and racism-are lingering problems among the House GOP generally. He speaking at a breakfast event organized by Politico.

Calling it the ‘darker side,’ Cantor responded to Politico’s Mike Allen’s question of whether there is anti-semitism in Congress by trying to avoid commenting. But eventually he let up: ‘I think that all of us know that in this country, we’ve not always gotten it right in terms of racial matters, religious matters, whatever. We continue to strive to provide equal treatment to everybody.’

‘We’re talking about the House Republican Caucus, not America,’ Allen pushed.

Cantor then sat in silence, grimacing for several seconds before Allen changed the topic.

What Do Romney And The New York Times Have In Common?

They both take liberties with their “quotes.”

President Obama’s AIPAC speech last week was well received on both sides of aisle, but perhaps the New York Times found it message standing up to the Iranian nuclear program a little too clear, and sought to muddy the waters. Helen Cooper wrote

CAMERA: Mr. Obama, who has often lamented the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, made reference to European and American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon.

A March 6 page-one story by Mark Landler in the International Herald Tribune made the same claim (in virtually the same words). And, yet, you can watch or read the speech until Ahmadinejad is a Zionist and still you will not find a single reference to European or American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Similarly, Gov. Mitt Romney has earned a reputation for playing fast and lose with his “quotes” when the actual source does not quite fit his narrative.

The Romney campaigns very first television  ad earned a Pants on Fire rating from Polifact. According to Think Progress, Romney

Romney Campaign TV Ad

Thinkprogress Parody Ad

dishonestly presents a 2008 McCain campaign quote as the words of President Obama. The ad features a voice-over of Obama saying “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Then-candidate Obama indeed said those words, perhaps dozens of times during the closing month of the 2008 campaign. The only problem? Obama was actually quoting the words of a strategist from Sen. John McCain’s campaign.

Another eyebrow-raising moment in the ad comes when it attacks “record foreclosures,” despite the fact that Romney’s stated housing policy is “don’t try and stop the foreclosure process.”

Politico reports that the Romney campaign is asserting that its ad was intentionally deceptive and dishonest. “We used that quote intentionally,” Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstorm said.

ThinkProgress has produced a parody ad, using Romney’s own standards for accuracy.

Here is the actual October 2008 Obama quote in context. The portion used by Romney is in bold:

Even as we face the most serious economic crisis of our time, even as you are worried about keeping your jobs or paying your bills or staying in your homes, my opponent’s campaign announced earlier this month that they want to ‘turn the page’ on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead. Sen. McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.'”

Well, New Hampshire, last night we had a debate. I think you saw a bit of the McCain attack strategy in action. But here’s what Senator McCain doesn’t seem to understand. With the economy in turmoil and the American Dream at risk, the American people don’t want to hear politicians attack each other – you want to hear about how we’re going to attack the challenges facing middle class families each and every day. You want to hear about the issues that matter in your lives. You want to hear about how we’re going to bring about the change that we desperately need for our country. That’s what the American people want to hear.

Even when Romney is being endorsed by newspapers, he is very selective in editing the endorsement to remove any sign of hesitation by the newspaper emailing that endorsement to the voters. According to Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, the Romney campaign “has no better friend than the ellipsis”.

Examples of some of the fine redaction by the eager staff at the Romney Campaign follow the jump.

  1. “Mr. Romney may not be the debater that Mr. Gingrich is (although he’s getting better). And he doesn’t have the same social conservative credentials as Mr. Santorum.”
    Savannah Morning News, March 1, 2012
  2. “He is the son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney, attending the prestigious Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills before receiving his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in 1971. He also is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, both in 1975. Following his graduations he worked for Bain & Co. before starting the highly successful Bain Capital, a venture capital and investment firm, in 1984.”
    Midland Daily News, Michigan, February 26, 2012
  3. “Perhaps that is why he sometimes appears so awkward in public, especially when talking about himself and, in particular, his personal wealth.”
    Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 3, 2012
  4. “Yes, out-of-context declarations like ‘I enjoy firing people’ and ‘I don’t care about the poor’ contribute to the caricature of a rich swell, akin to that of Donald Trump. Really? Where are the trophy wives? The ostentatious lifestyle? The garish displays of life among the rich and famous? You will have to look hard.”
    Arizona Republic, February 24, 2012
  5. “We have our issues with Romney, to be sure. His opposition to the Dream Act for illegal-immigrant children raised in the U.S. is not one we support. And his effort to position himself as the ‘toughest’ GOP candidate on immigration issues is a concern.”
    Arizona Republic, February 24, 2012
  6. “In fact, this newspaper does not embrace many of his ideas on taxation, which give too great a reward to the wealthy and not enough help for the poor and middle class.”
    -Times Daily of Florence, Alabama, March 9, 2012
  7. “His stance against government interaction to revive the domestic automobile industry is disappointing. Also disappointing are inconsistencies in his message…”
    Grand Rapids Press, February 22, 2012
  8. “Consistency is certainly a problem for Romney. The one-time moderate has adjusted his positions on so many issues-including abortion and gay rights-that his core beliefs are a mystery. In this campaign, he has tried so hard to prove his conservative bona fides that he has undercut one of his greatest selling points: the pragmatism that enabled him to get things done as a Republican governor in one of the nation’s most Democratic and liberal states.”
    Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 3, 2012
  9. “That has been just one example of some of the shape-shifting Romney has done to appeal to conservative primary voters who believe he is too moderate. So, it’s not unfair to wonder who the real Romney is.”
    Birmingham News, March 7, 2012

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 http://thinkprogress.org/secur… 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.