I admit.  I am at a seeming disadvantage here.  I do not come from or ever lived in Ohio although I do know Jews from there and in 1966, one of my fellow Machon program participants in Jerusalem was from Akron.  Nevertheless, I have been following from afar the electoral campaign for the Senate of Josh Mandel.

I hope he wins.

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Again, the specific problems and needs of Ohio are not that well known to me but coming from America, it is not too difficult to follow the race. In any case, as a Senator, not only will Mandel need to concern himself with local affairs at the town and state level but he will be able to influence the course of his country on a global scale.  That is an additional consideration voters should take into consideration.

As a Republican, Mandel does make quite a statement and that is not only refreshing but the wave of the future in the context of the correct political orientation for America.  And this is true not only for his fellow Ohioians but also for his fellow Jews.

When I read that he “has appalled Ohio’s socially progressive Jews “ and that Roger Cohen of the New York Times wrote that, I know that not only is Josh the right choice but that something is very wrong in the agenda-preferences of not only the Jewish electorate but in American politics.  And it is not solely a matters of the arithmetic whereby, it is claimed, a cut down to 175,000 from the over 200,000 Obama received four years ago in Cuyahoga County, home to the majority of Cleveland’s Jewish community, would seriously impact on Obama’s ability to take the state and its crucial electoral college votes.  

As Amy Schiller has published in Peter Beinart’s “Open Zion” (talk about ‘progressive’), she’s a bit concerned about the attention being paid:

…I, along with the other 80,000 Jews residing around Cleveland, am tickled that we''ve become the Kardashians of election season….Cohen even quotes James Ratner saying "this may well be a case where the noise is obscuring the music."…Jewish supporters are making their most fervent pleas for votes because they know the margin in Cuyahoga matters—but also because the media seems to have camped out in the parking lot of Beachwood Mall…”

But isn’t being able to gain and use political power not only our democratic right but the American way?  Isn’t that what being full citizens means?  Are we still fearful of what others think or say?  And I see that

…some Democrat relatives “have supported Mandel’s campaign out of family loyalty” — a form of loyalty, he suggested, that “leads deeper into the darkness.”

What darkness?  Do not these Jews realize that it is not a sin to be Republican or a conservative.  To be one is to further a legitimate political, economic and social program that actually works and it’s not the danger the left-wing progressive extremists seek to portray it.  This propensity of some of these Ratners in Ohio, Cohen in New York, okay, actually from London and also a Peter Beinart of fromwherever is not only, from where I sit, a wrong policy approach given the real needs of America and its role in the world but is inimical to Jewish interest, those of American Jewry and those here in Israel.

If the level of the debate is that Mandel needs more experience and that he is “an opportunist who needs to “pay his dues” and become more seasoned before aspiring to hold one of our country’s highest office”, as has been suggested, well. there is no one ‘better’ than Barack Obama to ask on that one.  And that is an example of the problem I see from here: no thinking, no analyzing and a simple “Jews-are-liberals” construct.

I can only hope Ohio’s Jews prove themselves good Americans and politically smart Jews.


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