Douglas M. Bloomfield: Can Republican love translate into votes?

Washington Watch: Republicans’ support of Israel does not put American Jewish voters in their pockets.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 7-14-11

The Democrats are running scared, the Republicans are delusional, and the Israeli government should be worried.

A new Gallup poll shows 60 percent of American Jews approve of Barack Obama’s overall performance – well below the 78% he got in 2008. That number may be 14 points ahead of his approval rating among all voters, but it’s giving Democratic operatives heartburn and Republicans high hopes for a mass exodus of Jews to the red side of the ballot.

PM Netanyahu, US President Obama at White House
Photo by: Avi Ohayon / GPORepublicans – focusing on the 60% and ignoring Obama’s 85% approval rating among Jewish Democrats in the same poll – have been predicting a sea change in Jewish voting for as long as I can recall.

In 2008, some were confidently predicting Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), with a solid pro-Israel voting record and popular in the Jewish community, would be the first Republican to win a Jewish majority. To make sure that happened, the Republican Jewish Coalition spent millions on a fear-and-smear campaign against the Democratic nominee, painting him as the Muslim Manchurian candidate.

Fortunately for Obama, that strategy snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, especially in the key state of Florida, and helped assure a large Democratic turnout.

I don’t know if they’re smart enough to avoid trying that again.

Not that Obama isn’t vulnerable.

Although his administration has given stronger support for Israel’s security than its predecessors, even providing advanced technology such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that the Bush administration refused, and has supported Israeli positions on Hamas, Iran and the Palestinian UN strategy, many feel there is something missing.

There’s none of the warmth that friends of Israel have come to expect. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t get along with Bill Clinton either, but Clinton and George W. Bush demonstrated a warmth toward Israel that Obama lacks.

He just doesn’t have it in his kishkes.

Obama is “pretty low on the trust and confidence scale” with Israel and the Jews, said Aaron David Miller, a Mideast policy advisor in several administrations and currently a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He isn’t an enemy of Israel, but “he’s not in love with the idea of Israel” either….READ MORE

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