Sunday, May 07, 2006

Huh?

Steven Hayward at No Left Turns Archive notes the latest from civics professor Howard Dean in a speech to the American Jewish Committee:

"I was recently asked about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties," Dean said. "When it comes right down to it, the essential difference is that the Democrats fundamentally believe it is important to make sure that American Jews feel comfortable being American Jews."

13 comments:

montana urban legend said...

Tom, Dean can be about as inarticulate as GWB - perhaps not in the same way, but I suspect that a legitimate point hidden in his garble might have been that many American Jews are as uncomfortable with the extent to which the president appropriates religious rhetoric as are many American Christians, agnostics, atheists, what have you. There are a lot of potential First Amendment issues that I don't believe the administration has crossed, and yet, I wouldn't find it illegitimate if Dean is attempting to pander to a wider - if not so well informed - concern over a kind of rhetoric that could make many Jews, and others, in America uncomfortable.

Didn't read the link yet, so there might be more to the context of which I'm not aware, but I suspect there might be something to that. Don't know how far it will get him, of course.

Probably not very, of course.

Tom said...

Nope, Dean just said something stupid.

montana urban legend said...

Stupid or not (I see the link provides no further context) I'm not sure either of us has evidence as to what he actually meant or was referring to.

Paul said...

pandering for votes...must we complicate this?

montana urban legend said...

Thanks - I mentioned as much in the first responding post. And no, it's not necessary to complicate this. But by complicating I don't mean merely attempting an understanding at why the GOP in a tight 2004 election couldn't manage to make many inroads with a tiny yet often crucial constituency - despite all of the pandering strategies that Rove was sure would work to win over the Jewish vote.

Tom said...

That's not true either.

Paul said...

You did complicate it, Rockefeller, by attempting to explain the insanity of Dean by finding "legitimate points" about Jewish discomfort with GWB's rhetoric "hidden is his garble."

montana urban legend said...

I'm not sure why we should take a three-point loss from '00 by the Democratic challenger to a 76% take of the vote as anything approximating many inroads by the incumbent to win over a constituency's vote. Most polls have around a two to three point margin of error in any case, and much more has been written about what changes did actually occur, by more comprehensive analyses that show a higher percentage of Orthodox Jews being drawn to the GOP in 2004, but almost little effect elsewhere in said constituency.

jc said...

Read it again, Bush GAINED 5 points with Jewish Voters...THAT is significant....especially considering that the question was "why the GOP in a tight 2004 election couldn't manage to make many inroads"

I think going from 19 to 24 (and the trend from the 3 previous elections was 11,16,19 then 24) IS making significant inroads...and that was before IRAN and her nukes come into play......

Course, I wonder what effect Lieberman had in 2000 by being on the ticket or in 2004, by kinda sorta "supporting" Bush....

Tom said...

So Bush gains five percent in the Jewish vote from 2000 to 2004 and is right in the middle historically for Republican presidential nominees and that is an indication that his evangelical talk is scaring Jews away from the Republican party? Wow.

montana urban legend said...

jc -

The five point increase is likely significant, especially when - as I noted - said increase probably resulted from the Orthodox votes that were gained. Whether the trend upwards from previous elections means that after six more election cycles they could actually get a majority is an interesting idea, but doesn't do bupkes for the time being - of course, that is assuming a candidate in a two-party system wants to come near at least 50% of a constituency's vote. Especially when the analysis indicated that the gain came from a well-defined, more religious sub-section of the constituency, the gain could actually be somewhat of a ceiling - which is important to consider if Tom wants to argue that religious rhetoric didn't turn-off broader numbers of Reform, Conservative and other Jews from flocking to the GOP. (I don't know whether it did or didn't, but would suspect it didn't help).

I don't know how far back in time it would be useful to go in order to consider historical Jewish voting patterns for GOP candidates, as I think the trend from the last 5 cycles as opposed to further back would have to account for somewhat different issues in the election. The last five cycles do indicate a trend, it's true, but I think it's fair to say that the last one did not garner the results Rove was looking for and specifically sought.

As for Iran, I'm not sure there is evidence to indicate that American Jews generally prefer a more hawkish stance.

If this all sounds overly speculative, it's not because I intend to take a strong stance one way or another - just because it's interesting to look over the issues that go into demographic voting patterns and whether the strategies designed to campaign for them have made assumptions that held true or not. Of course, I do assume that Rove and Bush wanted much more of the Jewish vote in 2004 then they got based on the abundant press coverage that was given to this issue in 2003, 2004, etc and its supposed coalescence with specific aspects of American foreign policy and events in the Middle East.

Tom said...

Okay, so we are agreed that Dean was completely wrong. Good.

montana urban legend said...

Anytime -