Forward Thinking

Romney's Concession: Class Act

By J.J. Goldberg

His speech was clear, concise, gave the right nod to his team and to his choice of Ryan. Wished Obama well, said he wanted the job but the American people chose somebody else. That sends a very clear message to his party: the American people have chosen Obama for the next four years. Work with him. And his crowd did not boo or groan, which is also good and right. Let’s hope their party colleagues in Congress get the message.

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Jewish Twitter-Sphere Abuzz Over Veep Debate

By Seth Berkman

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What’s the use of a spin room when we have social media? Last night, the Twitterverse turned its eyes towards the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

You’ve probably already heard all of the “malarkey” from partisans representing both parties, but here’s a look at the lighter side of last night’s important debate.

Early on, many viewers thought Biden was faring better than President Barack Obama’s widely-criticized performance last week. Andy Borowitz, author of The Borowitz Report, tweeted:

As discussion turned to Iran, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu became the hot topic of discussion. Commentary magazine’s Alana Goodman observed:

Michael Koplow, program director at the Israel Institute, noted that:

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Joe Mentioned Malarkey. Drink Up!

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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All but four of the people at Professor Thom’s bar in the East Village on Thursday night were watching the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

The other four were watching the Yankees lose to the Orioles in extra innings in their playoff series.

In a bar that leaned heavily Democratic, the cheers for the Yankees landed incongruously, one coming in the midst of what might have been a Ryan applause line in another bar.

It’s hard to get a good read on the response to a candidate’s performance in a boozy, partisan watch party at a pub. (I tried a similar thing in West Palm Beach last week, where I sat in on both Republican and Democratic debate watch events.)

As far as I could tell, though, the experience of the Democrats at the divey NYU-area sports bar last night was anxiety, followed by relief.

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Hail to the Veep

By Gal Beckerman

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Wiping the sweat from my forehead after a much, much more engaging debate, and just have a few thoughts to share.

1) It was not boring. Between Joe Biden’s fulminating about Paul Ryan’s “malarkey” and the appearance of actual, warm blooded conversation between two men with opposite worldviews, it was impossible to tear your eyes away from this one. This was, of course, a sharp contrast with the last debate, which seemed to disappear into the weeds way too often.

Here both candidates connected with the audience and with each other. Will it have the game changing effect of the first debate? Probably not. These are the vice-presidential candidates, after all. But for the Obama campaign, it did probably staunch the bleeding.

2) Charming attack dog. Biden did exactly what he was supposed to do. He attacked, exhausting every Irish euphemism for baloney that he had in reserve. The greatest casualty of Obama’s listless debate performance was the depletion of excitement among Democrats. Biden helped to correct that.

One answer, early on, included the words “47%” and “Mitt’s taxes” within seconds of each other, causing Democratic debate watching drinking parties to get immediately sloshed. The only question — the one Republicans surely want us to be asking — was if he was too aggressive, if there was too much eye rolling and interrupting. As a son of Israelis, I can say that this is what normal conversation looks like at my family’s dinner table. Hard to say how the rest of America might perceive it.

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Buoyed by Ryan Pick, White House Talks Health

By Nathan Guttman

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Kathleen Sebelius

President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform is shaping out to be one of the party’s main selling point for Jewish voters in the November election. And Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan, champion of healthcare cuts, has only motivated Democrats to push the issue even more.

Jewish elected officials and activists gathered for a conference call with Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to hear more about how implementation of the Affordable Care Act is coming along and how they see it impacting American voters.

Sebelius, according to activists briefed about the call, highlighted the advantages Obamacare entails and explained the impact the reform is already having on Americans. She also touched on the other hot-button issue which is emerging as a key talking point for senior Jewish voters, namely Medicare. Sebelius underscored the importance of the entitlement program in light of Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system.

Medicare, Democratic sources said, will be the key issue when reaching out to Jewish voters, especially in Florida which is home to many Jewish senior citizens.

Democrats will be keeping busy from now and up to the elections, with elected officials and other surrogates working the phones to reach out to Jewish voters. The campaign has already provided speakers with talking points dealing with Obama’s relations with Israel, his economic plan, and the changes he made to America’s healthcare system.

Republicans will no doubt counter with their own team of Jewish surrogates.

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Ryan Could Be Four-Letter Word for Jews

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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Mitt Romney’s pick of Congressional budget hawk Paul Ryan as his running mate could leave the campaign with tough questions to answer with key Jewish constituencies this fall.

The selection of Ryan, the hotshot 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin whose proposals for a trimmed-down federal budget have made him a household name, seems to have excited Republicans.

But one early attack in a congressional race in a heavily Jewish Florida district suggests that Democrats will use Ryan’s proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security to bolster Democratic support among Jewish voters.

Just an hour after Romney first appeared with Ryan on Saturday morning, the Florida Democratic congressional campaign of Lois Frankel sent a press release tying her presumptive Republican opponent to Ryan’s proposed entitlement cuts.

Florida’s 22nd Congressional District is in the heart of Jewish South Florida, potentially a key neighborhood in the presidential race. Florida is the largest of the swing states, and its 22nd CD is the district where Jewish votes could have the biggest effect on the outcome of the presidential election.

Even a modest pickup for Romney among South Florida Jews has the potential to swing the state, and possibly the presidential election.

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