|The National Jewish Democratic Coalition welcomed delegates to the Democratic National Convention at their mobile headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.
— by David A. Harris, President of NJDC
The Democratic and Republican conventions held over the last two weeks will continue to make it clear to the vast majority of Jewish voters that the Democratic Party is the one party that champions their values. If the stark contrast between the Democratic Party’s platform-which commits to expanding civil rights, pursuing social justice, and working toward peace and security for Israel-and the “antisocial, anti-science, anti-reason” Republican platform is not enough to remind Jews of the immense stakes ahead in this election, the sights and speeches of the two conventions certainly will.
The Republican Party kicked off its convention by allowing its speakers to trash the President, Vice President, and fellow Democrats-often with language and jokes ranging from corny to disrespectful-on a variety of domestic issues that put the policy gaps between the GOP and most Jews on full display. Pledges to repeal Obamacare, pursue anti-choice and anti-marriage equality policies, and to support dangerous cuts to essential social services advocated in the Romney-Ryan budget-like ending Medicare as we know it-were the standard talking points from the seemingly endless stream of negative and divisive speeches delivered from the podium. When the “severely conservative” Mitt Romney and GOP “young gun” Paul Ryan took the stage for their headlining speeches, they kept up with the flow established by the previous speakers and delivered mendacious (per repeated objective analyses) speeches full of policy positions out of step with most Jews. Romney even belittled the idea of healing the world – the very heart of tikkun olam.
But if the policy differences between most Jews and the GOP weren’t enough, Romney and his Republican Party allowed two very Israel-challenged individuals to play significant roles in the convention. Romney personally selected Israel-challenged former Governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu to officially nominate him for president. And after NJDC and others sounded every alarm bell imaginable that anti-Israel Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) was becoming a legitimate force within the GOP, the Republican Party honored him with a video tribute that completely ignored his dreadful foreign policy positions. The GOP then gave his son Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)-who shares many of the same extreme foreign and domestic positions-a prime speaking slot.
More after the jump.
The Democratic National Convention will be different. The Democratic Party has historically been the home of most American Jews-and the 2012 convention will help affirm this. One needs only to look to the records of President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to understand why the majority of Jews will pull the lever for Democrats this November.
President Obama and his party passed a historic health insurance reform bill that has expanded-and will continue to expand-access to affordable health insurance for millions of Americans. The Democratic Party has fought against Republican obstruction to protect women’s rights, whether on matters of choice, contraception, domestic violence protections, or equal pay. The President has led on advancing equal rights for all by voicing support for marriage equality and working to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
President Obama has been Israel’s most important advocate on the international stage and has provided the Jewish state with unprecedented amounts of security aid-including $275 million in supplemental aid for missile defense programs that protect Israeli cities like Sderot from terrorist rocket fire, and an overall total of more than twice as much funding for missile defense programs as the prior administration. He is leading the global coalition to responsibly sanction Iran over its pursuit of nuclear weapons. His leadership has resulted in the largest and most significant sanctions regimen in history to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. The President also ordered the raid that brought justice to Osama Bin Laden and firmly communicated to those seeking to harm America and its citizens that this President will not hesitate to use force to protect our country or its interests.
The multitude of policy positions and values shared by the Democratic Party and American Jews will be on full display in Charlotte, which simply cannot be said for the Republican convention. American Jews will listen when President Obama delivers his speech under the stadium lights, and will hear a President who has worked hand-in-hand with the Jewish community in the pursuit of social justice and security for Israel. For many American Jews, the Democratic Convention will be their point of entry to the 2012 campaign-and what they see will remind them why they overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in 2008 and will do so again in 2012.
Reprinted courtesy of the Washington Jewish Week.