The day after the election looks a lot like the day before for President Obama, particularly in areas that have attracted the attention of Jewish voters: Tussling with Republicans domestically on the economy and health care, and dancing gingerly with Israel around the issue of a nuclear Iran.
If you watched any of the debates on CNN, you saw two worms at the bottom of your screen. Well, they looked to me like worms, or maybe caterpillars, scrunching and stretching throughout the 90 minutes.
On Oct. 28, 1980, a beleaguered President Jimmy Carter stood on a debate stage with his Republican challenger, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Carter’s one chance to save his presidency depended on his ability to portray Reagan’s views as extreme. The best levers appeared to be Reagan’s criticisms of Social Security, but especially his vocal opposition in 1961 to a federal program to provide medical care to seniors — a plan that became law, as Medicare, in 1965.
Voters in three Boston-area districts backed a nonbinding resolution supporting Palestinian rights in Israel.
Same-sex marriage is likely to remain a hot-button issue in the presidential race, with Prop. 8 backers looking to Sen. John McCain for ideological support, and opponents to Sen. Barack Obama.
Comedy (?) from The Daily Show. Post-debate analysis reveals John McCain is going to die soon, and Michelle Obama has a big butt. Are these Florida swing voters hilariously out of touch, or simply telling it like it is?
Republicans once had high hopes that George W. Bush would draw American Jews away from their historic affinity with Democrats into embracing the conservative party. They believed that Jews would be drawn to Bush's intense support for the State of Israel.
Leon Weinstin has spent much of his life fighting on behalf of the Jewish people.
The Palestinian people spoke their mind and many around the world were shocked. Now, after we have all had a chance to take a deep breath, it is time to evaluate the new reality.
The past few weeks have seen massive voter turnouts at two free, fair and largely peaceful elections. Yet neither election led to an inspiring outcome. Only muted hopefulness greeted Haiti's election, while the results of the Palestinian elections were outright alarming.
In November 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. White voters backed the recall by a large margin, but Jewish voters swam against the tide, with 69 percent voting against the recall. On the second part of the ballot, where voters chose a replacement candidate, Schwarzenegger collected a surprising 31 percent of Jewish voters.
I suggested then in these pages that Schwarzenegger might eventually do well with Jews: "Jewish voters aren't likely to abandon the Democratic Party anytime soon, but will likely give Arnold Schwarzenegger a chance to prove that he can govern in a bipartisan, moderate manner.... If Schwarzenegger truly seeks to solve the state's problems without being a tool of right-wing forces, and with an open-minded, progressive approach, he may find a surprising number of friends among California's Democratic-leaning Jewish voters."
Chance given, chance blown.
What a difference a day makes.
In 24 little hours, the L.A. school board journeyed last week from chaos to harmony; from nothing to a November ballot measure; from no new taxes to a bond measure that will ask voters to raise their property taxes for schools "one last time."
If voters go for it, these local school bonds would be the fourth in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) since 1997, and would raise $3.985 billion to pay for new and repaired schools. Part of the money is needed to make up for the feverishly rising cost of school construction; the rest would fund a program that has expanded to some $15.2 billion, perhaps the nation's largest ongoing public works project outside of Iraq.
With his election as mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa now has the chance to deliver on the coalition approach he offered to the voters in the recent campaign. If he succeeds, Los Angeles government may start to find solutions to problems that have previously seemed intractable. If he fails, he will leave a city more balkanized than before, and one that will have a harder time than ever solving its problems.
The narrow defeat of mayoral candidate Robert Hertzberg marked a signal defeat not only for Los Angeles but for the future of Jewish influence in Los Angeles.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is picking a fight with longtime powers in Sacramento instead of trying to be everybody's pal, raising a question of whether he can bring voters along with him who are torn by their desire for good government but angry over mounting partisanship.
Voters, according to a recent Mervin Field California Poll, are open to the governor's four reform ideas heading into a probable November special election, even though voters don't personally approve of Schwarzenegger as much as they once did.
At your next dinner party, here's a surefire way to bring the sparkling conversation to a dead stop. In the midst of all the banter about the Oscars and Westside real estate prices and Michael Jackson, chime in with, "So, what do you think of the mayoral race?"
There were two "Jewish" debates earlier this month, one in the Valley and one on the Westside. While Mayor james Hahn did not attend the Valley session at Temple Judea, all five major candidates came to the Westside debate at Temple Beth Am. My visit to the latter debate allowed me to look at one constituency: Westside Jews.
With the candidates for Los Angeles mayor increasingly invoking the name of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the campaign trail, a buzz is breaking out over whether Schwarzenegger will endorse any of the challengers to Mayor James Hahn.
As the furor over the election dies down, with unseemly whining from sore losers and unseemly gloating from sore winners, certain stereotypes of Bush voters continue to command currency among disgruntled liberals. One of them is that Bush supporters, and conservatives in general, are dumb, ignorant and out of touch with reality.
We have been bombarded with the phrase "moral values" ever since it was announced that 22 percent of voters cited it as the single most important consideration in the 2004 election. Not Iraq, not terrorism, not the economy.
Once again, despite predictions to the contrary, Jewish voters stuck with the Democrats. By a 3-1 margin, Jews backed Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) against President Bush.
Stress and disappointment gave way to jubilation at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) of Los Angeles' election night party as President George W. Bush piled up the electoral votes and turned the map of the United States Republican red.
Republican hopes for a big Jewish surge in this year's presidential contest were dashed on Tuesday when President George W. Bush, in his successful bid for a second term, claimed only about 24 percent of the Jewish vote nationally, according to exit polls published by major news outlets.
In some ways, it's political business as usual in the Jewish community as a critical national election approaches.
With opposition mounting among settlers and in his own Likud Party, Ariel Sharon's political future and the fate of his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank may be decided in the Knesset next week.
The Israeli prime minister hopes to win a decisive majority in the Oct. 26 vote on his disengagement plan, laying to rest the debate over its legitimacy and blocking growing pressure for a nationwide referendum. But a victory is not a foregone conclusion, and if he loses, it's difficult to see how Sharon can continue as prime minister.
Sam Kermanian is one of many Jewish Republicans in Los Angeles reaching out to immigrants on behalf of President Bush, yet perhaps the biggest news of all is that such committed immigrant activists in the Republican Party are no longer red hot news.
Kermanian, an Iranian Jewish immigrant, is still rawly aware of how people's lives in his native Iran are under the strict control of Islamist radicals.
It's crunch time in the presidential campaigns. With less than two weeks to go and most polls pointing to a photo finish, both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are pulling out all the stops -- as long as those stops are in a tiny handful of swing states.
The spin machines are in overdrive; the campaigns are pouring out ads, position papers, talking points and press releases. But they're mostly blowing smoke when it comes to some of the top issues of the day.
As election day gets closer, I'm beginning to wonder how many of us will vote on a single issue-our perception of how President Bush and Sen. John Kerry will stand up for Israel.
Sharon hopes to create sufficient motivation among settlers to evacuate their homes willingly in exchange for generous compensation packages, avoiding violent confrontations like those in Yamit.
Republicans promise that a substantive, tough party platform this year will present Jewish voters with a sharp contrast from the relatively scrawny Democratic document -- but they may find that delving into details could prove devilish.
The Bush campaign is emphasizing its adherence to old-fashioned platform-writing techniques, going into particulars, yet leaving open an element of surprise by allowing a platform committee to hash through the proposed document on the eve of the convention next week.
Even as Ron Reagan makes a case for stem cell research at the Democratic National Convention, Californians may take matters into their own hands. In November, the state ballot will include a 10-year bond issue, which would generate $3 billion for stem cell research.
The Democrats have had all week to prove that this election is for John Kerry, not against George Bush, but nobody I know is buying it. I've come across a lot of anti-Bush sentiments among Jews of all sorts, but very little Kerry enthusiasm.
So an Orthodox Jew is not the Democratic vice presidential nominee this year, like in 2000. And the wife of the vice presidential nominee is not named Hadassah.
From 1992 through the present, a remarkably consistent 50 percent of Jewish voters have called themselves Democrats, roughly one-third independents and 16-18 percent Republicans.
Ronald Reagan's presidency was a time when U.S. Jewish power grew to new levels of influence -- and when Jews learned of its limits.
Thanks to Reagan, who died Saturday at age 93 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's, the years 1981-1989 saw the consolidation of bipartisan support for the causes Jews held dearest: a secure Israel and the freedom of Soviet Jews.
Compassionate conservatism seems to have finally hit rock bottom.
President Bush's reelection team has developed a fast, efficient Jewish operation aimed at a select segment of Jewish voters in key states and Jewish campaign contributors nationwide.
Jewish Democrats are getting their act together to hold the line against Republican gains with pro-Israel voters. Their emerging strategy: to fend off claims the GOP has become the most pro-Israel party and then hit back with their huge advantage on domestic policy.
Earlier this year, Sen. John Kerry started shifting his position on Israel in hope of removing it as an issue of concern to Jewish voters.
Community activist Karen Bass' victory in the 47th Assembly District's Democratic primary provides a valuable opening for coalition efforts between the Jewish community and a new generation of African American and Latino activists.
Until now, Kerry's campaign says, the candidate has had little breathing room for such explanatory encounters because of the grueling primary schedule and because his energies were devoted to his come-from-behind triumphs.
Now that the race for the Democratic nomination for president is moving south and west, Jewish scrutiny of the candidates is likely to intensify.
What does the capture of Saddam Hussein mean for Jewish voters in 2004? Will it shift the preferences of Jewish Democrats as they weigh the party's presidential contenders? Will it push Jewish voters closer to supporting President Bush for re-election?
In a town famous for hot air, the Washington Post made a major contribution over the weekend with an oft-repeated tale of how Jewish voters, concerned about terrorism and Israel, are about to migrate to the greener pastures of the GOP.
The forced retirement of Gov. Gray Davis, and the shattering of the Democratic one-party government in California, marks a major turning point in the political evolution of the state's Jews.
What is the proper pro-Israel litmus test for presidential candidates? And who gets to decide?
Can California's new Republican governor make inroads among traditionally Democratic Jews?
The recent clamor over Howard Dean's demand for U.S. "evenhandedness" in the Middle East was sweet music to the ears of Jewish Republicans, who hope 2004 will be a watershed in their long but frustrating effort to rally Jewish voters to their cause.
California has always been a land of hope and opportunity.
The crowd in front of the Jewish Republicans' booth didn't approach the size of those at some of the better food stands at the Israel's Independence Day celebration at Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley. Still, it was big enough to interest me after having watched the GOP's long courtship of Jews; for years, it's been a romance that sometimes reached the engagement party but usually fell short of the chuppah.
Opponents of the recently released Mideast "road map" are reassuring themselves that presidential politics will keep the Bush administration from pressuring Israel too hard to accept the plan, which proposes a diplomatic sprint to the creation of a Palestinian state by
In the hotly contested battle, each has accused the other of, among other things, lying, playing dirty and being beholden to special interests. Smith says Korenstein is tied to the unions, while Korenstein says Smith is hand-in-hand with developers.
Amram Mitzna's decision to abdicate the leadership of the Labor Party after just months on the job seems to signal the lowest ebb for a party that dominated Israeli life for decades.
Omar Baransi, a 71-year-old retired building contractor with a lined, leathery face, brags that he won't be voting in Israel's general election on Jan. 28. "We don't trust anyone these days," he said, "not even the Arab candidates. We've been citizens for 55 years and nothing has changed."
The Republicans ran on terrorism and the Democrats ran on the economy. The Republicans won.
Valley secession is finally on the ballot, and observers say the Jewish vote may well be a factor that tips the scale either for or against the biggest break away in U.S. history.
"We tend to constitute about 15 percent of local city voters in municipal elections," said statistician Pini Herman of Phillips & Herman Demographic Research. "Since we comprise about 5 percent of the population, that means we actually vote three times our numerical strength. It makes the Jewish community very important in the scheme of things."
This is the first in a multipart series looking at the Jewish community and Valley secession. Let us know what you think about secession by taking part in our secession forum at www.jewishjournal.com/forum.
If the people of the San Fernando Valley want to vote to become their own independent city and it is not going to take any money away from the rest of the city, then why should any among us feel we have the right to deny them that right?
Who's the big winner in Tuesday's Los Angeles mayoral election? My bet is real estate developer Steve Soboroff. James Kenneth Hahn may be an old-line Democrat, but he benefited mightily from the silence maintained by the wealthy Republican businessman, who had come in third in the April primary.
Those of us with a sense of Los Angeles history approach the June 5 election with trepidation. No one wants a repeat of the first Sam Yorty/Tom Bradley race in 1969, with its bitter overlay of race-baiting. That's one reason why throughout most of the campaign the candidates have wisely lowered their rhetoric, stressing their similarities rather than differences. As Los Angelenos consider picking the first Latino mayor in the modern era, Tuesday's election, pitting former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa against City Attorney James Hahn, already has, if anything, too much historic significance.