Sunday, May 6, 2012

MJ Rosenberg Picks His Targets

I'm no political analyst but even I can tell when MJ Rosenberg is fudging numbers, as he did in his latest article in the Huffington Post. As is often the case, his basic thesis is a good one but the way that he executes leaves something to be desired.

What happened is that the American Jewish Committee (one of the Jewish organizations on Rosenberg's hit list) released a poll saying that Jewish support for President Obama has dropped by 17% recently though they still favor him over Romney in a big way. The President of the AJC David Harris editorialized that President Obama would be better served to "shore up" his success in two areas: national security and pro-Israel matters. Naturally this caused Rosenberg to fly into a frothing rage.

Rosenberg's initial point is a reasonable one. President Obama's support is decreasing among all Americans of which Jews are one subgroup, and it isn't because of those two issues but because of the economy. I would probably be inclined to agree with this but as usual Rosenberg goes too far in his efforts to stick it to Harris and the AJC. This includes subtle spin:
"As for Harris's implication that Obama is perceived as week [sic] on "national security," the polls simply don't back that up. Killing Osama Bin Laden and his aggressiveness in Pakistan more than shored up Obama's standing in that area."
The article that Rosenberg references show that people support President Obama's counterterrorism  policies, not national security in general. It may seem like a distinction without a difference but Guantanamo Bay is different from dealing with Iran, for example. It's also kind of ironic since Rosenberg (who I think still identifies as Jewish) doesn't support Obama's counter terror policies at all. As for this thing about "weekness" I have seen some on the right complain about Obama looking weak in matters like Syria and Iran. Key word being "looking," I don't think he is but perception is reality in a lot of ways. But let's move on:
"According to the poll, the #1 deciding factor for Jews when voting for president is the U.S. economy. Among the 11 choices offered by the AJC pollster, 29 percent choose the economy. Next is health care with 20 percent. U.S.-Israel relations is chosen by 6 percent. The remaining 50 percent pick one of the other issues that Americans in general, and not specifically Jews, are concerned with....So 6 percent of Jewish voters make their choice based on Israel."
No, six percent of Jewish voters make their choice based entirely on Israel. That's what the poll that you cited said, please don't spin it into something that it isn't. If American Jews like the economic policies of both candidates (unlikely I know) then they will move on to something else. I think that Rosenberg is trying to make it seem like American Jews don't care at all about Israel, rather ironic actually, but that isn't the case. They do have opinions on the subject. But that isn't what I really wanted to call your attention to. Here at the end of the article:
"If Obama wants to approach FDR's support among Jews (an average of 87 percent), he needs to start governing more like FDR and less like a generic moderate. He also needs to stop buying into the myth that American Jews put Israel first."
Gee, now where would he have gotten the impression that American Jews put Israel first?

 Hey, they can't all be winners.

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