Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Go Kiss W or A Spurious Argument from a Rabbinic Republican Louse

I came across a piece following written by Rabbi Marc Gellman for Newsweek on why Lieberman lost. Gellman asks why so many jewish voters abandoned Lieberman. That is absolutely the wrong question. He should be asking why Lieberman abandoned so many Jewish voters (and non-jewish voters as it happens).

Some excerpts:

Joe Lieberman did not lose the Democratic primary because of his support for the war in Iraq. He lost because of his lack of support from Jews.
The opening line is Gellman's first act of sophistry. Jews abandoned Lieberman in part because of the war. Gellman's argument is like suggesting that the titanic didn't sink because of icebergs but rather it sunk because water seeped through the hull.

He lost because Barbra Streisand's highly publicized contribution to Lamont and because of the number of Jews who hated Bush and the war more than they loved Joe.
Okay this sentence needs to get broken up. Does he think Streisand is a Jewish opinion leader? I can't imagine she is, nor is there any data to support this idea. He is tying her in to fall back on the crutch of crazy-left-media elites.
As for hating Bush more than they loved Joe, let's hear some analysis about why Lieberman's positions are more advantageous for yidden than Lamont's.

Please understand, this is not a political rant. Yes, I support the war and yes I support and admire President George W. Bush, but I understand and respect those who have come to another conclusion about how best to fight the war on terror.
Okay, let me make sure I understand Marc, this isn't a political rant, it is a rant about politics? Whatever...

My disappointment is with my people. I simply do not understand why so many Jews bailed on Joe. ... I have opinions on way too many things I don't know nearly enough about, but I know about Jews. I am a professional Jew, and yet if you asked me to explain why Jews did not vote for Joe the way blacks voted for Barack Obama or Catholics voted for John F. Kennedy I would not know what to tell you.
Educated folks voted for Lamont at a high rate. Jews tend to be educated. Black people vote for Dems, as did Catholics in the 1960s. Blue collar folks voted heavily for Obama and Kennedy.
This had mainly to do with power. If you are talking about primaries (which we should be) then Gellman didn't do his research. Kennedy, for instance, had his most important primary victory in West Virginia, a heavily protestant state. Blacks and Jews vote for Dems. To the extent that we weren't sure Lieberman could be counted on as a proud Democrat we gave him the boot. If Obama were a republican he wouldn't have carried the Black population (see Alan Keyes).
Race and culture influence politics for sure, but please don't naively ignore the role of other factors. Jews behaved like similarly situated non-Jews in the CT primary.
In truth I am also bewildered about why Jews do not support President Bush more than the pathetic 22-26 percent (depending on which exit poll you look at) he received in 2004.
Gellman, either you don't understand Jews as well as you think, or this argument is purposefully incendiary rhetoric.

Joe voted the Democratic line 90 percent of the time.
Many of the votes in the 10% were the most important of his time in office. He voted for the war. He undercut the votes against radical right-wing judges with votes against the dem lead filibuster. He voted to end the filibuster and then voted against the judges. For this he got a 50% on judges, that's silly. For that cowardly display he deserves a 0%. BTW he got a 40% rating from the John Birch society, only 70% from the league of conservation voters, a light 75% from NOW. I could keep reciting stats from vote smart but it all comes back to the point that Lieberman is not keeping his base happy. CT is a liberal state and Lieberman is a right leaning member of the dem caucus. In addition to his general leanings, he often criticizes dems, compliments repugs, and embraces politically and physically the despised president, giving bush more power and less oversight at every turn. Joe undermined the Democrats more than any other senator (R, D, or I) since 2004.

He is an observant Jew and obviously he was on the presidential ticket in 2000. He is modest and self effacing. He is moral and faithful. He is principled and intelligent ... and he is one of us! What more do you want of the guy?
Are you serious Marc? What else do a want? Let's start with a progressive senator. I don't care what her/his race, religion, creed, gender is. Go back to the 1950s Gellman. In my generation we care about what someone stands for a lot more than we care about whether they go to Kesher Israel.

So he supports the war. So what?
Well let's see, he is standing to be elected Senator not president of the synagogue's brotherhood. I care a bit about the religion of people running for religious positions. Is he fun to have a drink with? This is primarily important for me deciding who to have a drink with. The man wants to be a senator, being the #2 guy [bush is #1] on the wrong side of what he calls the most important issue today, well hey, i'd still have a beer with him, but it matters if he wants to be in the senate.

There are and have always been only two kinds of Jews: tribal Jews and cosmopolitan Jews.
There are two kinds of small-minded, humorously modern hacks who jam the world into false dichotomies and ill conceived binaries to make a point. Actually, on second thought, there may only be one kind.

Tribal Jews love anything Jewish. Cosmopolitan Jews love anything but Jewish. Tribal Jews are not trying to pass, assimilate or deny their tribal roots, their attachment to Israel and their love of other Jews no matter who they are.
this is a really crude binary. perhaps it was a useful way to understand shvitz jewry when you were raising money for israel in the 40s but it isn't how our generations views the world. try to be vaguely relevant buddy. where do i fit in Gellman? i have moral principles beyond that extend my political analysis beyond which candidate is circumsized but i am as obviously jewish as one could be and i like that. i was the only guy at the immigration rally in DC in a kippah. i love yiddishkeit and i love yidden. i make shabbos like a bandit and am quite excited to do jewish progressive work. where do i fit into your boxes? we may be in the same tribe, but you will never have my vote. Would you vote for me because I am jewish? I bet you wouldn't and that makes you a big fuckin' hypocrite. You think Loving Jews means more than acting Jewish? I am reminded of the proverb better to act jewish than look jewish. stop obsessing with looks, and start caring about who is acting in a way that makes this world holier, more just, and ready for mashiach to sit on a throne. Stop worrying about who is a member of which shul. Stop padding backs to find out who is wearing a tallit katan (small talit), start listening to people and see who has a good heart.

PS, if i ever get the chance i am going to happily vote for Feingold. If he converts to being a southern baptist, you're damn right i'd vote for him then too.


At 8/15/2006 , Anonymous rdl said...

hot hot post - i think your line by line analysis of poorly written and idealogical framed articles make some of your best posts.

and the yiddish proverb you are discussing roughly translates to "better a Jew without a beard than a beard without a Jew" (learned that at havurah institute 2006).

I suppose in the case of Jomentum, one could say we've got no beard AND no Jew.

At 8/15/2006 , Blogger Ruby K said...

RDL, I think you mean "Beser a Yid on a bord eyder a bord on a Yid"

I'm just sayin. Zt, your post is so nice I linked it twice.

At 8/16/2006 , Blogger ZT said...

thanks for giving me the yiddish Ruby!
Always glad to have your feedback RDL, and thanks for sending me the article in the first place.
linked it twice ruby? i saw it over on your blog, thanks for the link! where was the other place?

At 8/16/2006 , Blogger Ruby K said...

the 'School, of course; as part of my 'tute update.

At 8/26/2006 , Anonymous Bizzrael said...

ZT, awesome post!

rdl said in comments: "i suppose in the case of jomentum...."
let's be clear that ZT was fisking marc gellman - not joe lieberman.

While we may all disagree with Lieberman's policies, voting record, etc. and therefore object to Gellman's totally wack assertion that Jews should obviously support him, let's not get petty and fall into Gellman's own trap by now thinking of ourselves as those who can judge whether someone is "acting jewish" or not (or by "jewish values" for that matter).
What is so disgusting about Gellman's article is that he assumes he knows what a true manifestation of jewish values is (obviously his, and voting for Joe). Joe Lieberman is likely following what he believes his values are with regard to his votes and activity of late as a senator (or maybe you think he's not, whatever). Those may be things we disagree with, but when you say something like "one could say we've got no beard AND no Jew" you're doing the same thing as Gellman, and then really - who's the hypocrite?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home