Forward Thinking

Now We've Got a Contest

By Gal Beckerman

  • Print
  • Share Share
getty images
Sheldon Adelson

So tonight I stand corrected. After New Hampshire I was sure that Mitt had this all wrapped up and that’s what I wrote here. But tonight I know I was wrong.

I didn’t take into account the Sheldon Adelson factor.

Five million dollars from Newt Gingrich’s buddy has given the former speaker yet another life in this contest. This wasn’t the only reason, of course. It helped him that Romney fumbled badly in handling questions about his wealth — dismissing as “not very much” his speaking fees that alone put him in the 1% and acting sketchy when questioned about his tax returns. It made him seem like a bad candidate for arguing that he was the real defender of all Americans in an eventual match up with Obama. At the same time, Newt used those debates to his advantage and did what he does best — condescend to everyone and at the same time declare himself persecuted. It’s straight out of the Nixon playbook, with an added dash of Newt’s fierceness.

Now this race is going to get interesting. And, more importantly, the Jews are back in play!

With the early date of the Florida primary this year it’s the first chance that a large population of Jews will have their say as a community about the Republican contest — though, it should be said, as everywhere in the country, it is a minority of Jews who register Republican to begin with. So here are a few questions that occur to me tonight…

  1. Will Adelson keep giving money to Newt to allow his Super PAC to remain robust and keep fighting off what are sure to be renewed attacks from Romney? Remember that the casino magnate was said to be willing to give $20 million to his old friend. And will any of this money try to define Newt’s positions on Israel and Iran, a winner with some Florida Jews?

  2. Will Jewish Republican voters — presumably in a different socioeconomic class than many South Carolina voters — reject Romney for the same visceral reasons? And will they care at all about these economic issues, or does it just pale next to Israel?

  3. For that matter, will Gingrich’s shtick, his — how did he put it? — “grandiosity” affect them in the same way as it did the South Carolinians? There are those who hear in his constant attacks against the liberal media elite, reprised tonight, a coded anti-Semitism that plays well in the heartland and the south. They are also the crux of Newt’s response to any attacks. Will this turn off Florida Jews?

  4. And the big question I have: How many Jews will vote in the primary? This will be the first real test of the premise that Jews have been turned off by Obama to such an extent that their anger will upend the traditional Jewish voting pattern. If this is true, we should see many more Florida Jews deciding to vote for one of the Republicans. We’ll see.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: South Carolina, Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Florida, Jewish Vote, Election 2012

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.