Forward Thinking

Remembering Gordon Zacks, Jewish GOP Leader

By Jackie Jacobs

Anyone can change the course of events, especially when they see injustice.

That was the mantra of Gordon Zacks, who died Saturday in the Columbus, Ohio area at the age of 80. A founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition and an unofficial adviser to George H.W. Bush, Gordon wrote the book on character, courage and leadership, and how one person can make a difference. He called such events “defining moments.”

Every encounter with Gordon was a defining moment. He had the ability to persuade, inspire, and do the right thing.

Embedded in his DNA was a Jewish moral compass. He unabashedly followed it in word and deed, always motivating others to reaffirm Jewish life through Jewish education, formal and informal. Not just for the young, he said, but for the old, for every Jewish family and for every caring person, inside and outside the home.

Gordon believed that Judaism has a message to give to mankind to help it deal with the issues of living and respecting difference, and building a just and free world.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ohio, Jewish federation, Israel, Gordon Zacks, George H.W. Bush, Columbus, Republican Jewish Coalition

VA, FL Close But Leaning Dem; CO OKs Weed

By J.J. Goldberg

Chuck Todd on MSNBC is saying Virginia and Florida are too close to call but look likely to go for Obama, because the counties still outstanding are generally Democratic-leaning. The call in Ohio by the networks was for the same reason, as Michael Barone explained rather patiently to Karl Rove on air at Fox: the outstanding votes are mostly in overwhelmingly Democratic counties - and in Democratic precincts within those counties, as Barone explained.

An MSNBC reporter at Romney HQ reports that Romney had prepared an acceptance speech but no concession speech. Nobody from the campaign is around to answer questions. If the margin is close, they will go to provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until the end of the month.

Colorado and Washington both approved ballot measures legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Not medical marijuana - happy weed. That could set up a conflict with the incoming Obama administration. Up to now his Justice Department has opposed California’s medical marijuana law, which effectively nullifies federal drug laws. Tho without much conviction. Recreational use might change the equation and set up a real constitutional confrontation.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Colorado, FLorida, Justice Department, Marijuana, Nullification, Ohio, Virginia, Washington

Report: GOP NOT Conceding Ohio

By J.J. Goldberg

An announcement by the Republican state chairman, despite the fact that all the networks have called it, including Fox. Worth noting: the returns so far have them separated by 1,500 votes with 77% reporting.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Romney, Ohio

NBC Calls Murphy in CT. FL: Grayson Leads

By J.J. Goldberg

NBC calls Chris Murphy the winner over Linda McMahon for Conn. Senate.

As predicted, swing states Florida, Ohio, Virginia, N. Carolina and Pennsylvania are all too close to call. All the states called so far are predictably red or blue.

The only interesting news so far: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is reelected in W. Va. Firebrand former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) surprisingly on track to win back his seat in Orlando, Fla. Other races: Bill Nelson (D) reelected in Fla., Bob Corker [R] reelected in Tenn. News of the Jews: Sen. Ben Cardin (D) relected in Md.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Virginia, Swing States, Pennsylvania, Ohio, N. Carolina, Florida, Bob Corker, Bill Nelson, Alan Grayson, Ben Cardin

Five (Jewish) Things To Watch on Election Night

By Nathan Guttman

getty images

It’s Election Day at last. And as we sit down in front of the TV to watch the results (for those who actually have power), here are five Jewish points of reference on this long night of swing states, bellwether counties and exit poll results.

Ohio. With polls closing at 7:30 p.m., the entire nation will watch to see if President Barack Obama wins the state, thus virtually paving his way to another four years in the White House. But Jewish politicos should look beyond the presidential race to the brutal Senate showdown between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and Jewish Republican Josh Mandel. Brown is in the lead but it is a close race and if Mandel, a Tea Party loyalist, is able to pull it off, he’d be the star of Republican Jewish politics. A Mandel upset would be a bitter moment for the Jewish Democratic establishment, including in Mandel’s home state, which have fought hard to defeat him.

Florida. Polls close at 8:00 p.m. in the Sunshine State and this is the one time it is a good idea to actually look into those detailed maps on your TV hosts’ touch screens with a county-by-county breakdown. Regardless of how Florida goes, our eyes are on the three southernmost counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: the jewish vote 2 2012, shelley berkley, ohio, nevada, mitt romney, josh mandel, jewish vote, howard berman, florida, election night, brad sherman, barack obama

Mandel Takes on Foreign Aid

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

courtesy of josh mandel
Josh Mandel

A new ad by Republican Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel, whom the Forward profiled a couple of weeks ago, slams incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown for his support for foreign aid in a new ad.

That could raise questions for some backers of Mandel, who has made much of his pro-Israel credentials. Israel advocates have traditionally been wary of calls to cut foreign aid, as aid to Israel is allocated through the same legislative process as aid to other nations.

Mandel’s new ad, which was posted online yesterday and has aired in some Ohio markets, charges that Brown “sent billions of dollars to foreign countries.”

Mandel spokesman Travis Considine clarified the charge in an email with the Forward, insisting that he wasn’t calling for less aid to Israel.

“Josh is steadfast in his support for Israel,” Considine wrote. “What concerns him is sending $1 billion in foreign aid to countries like Pakistan.”

Recent polls have Mandel running nearly neck-and-neck with Brown.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sherrod brown, senate, ohio, josh mandel




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