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David Weprin's loss in New York presages President Obama's defeat in 2012

steinbergalanj021610_optBY ALAN STEINBERG
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
COMMENTARY

New York Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) is a friend of mine, despite our differing political parties and philosophies. He and I have spent considerable time together at Orthodox Jewish political events, and I have often attended Shabbat services at David's synagogue, Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, in Queens. We are both Orthodox Jews.

A few months ago, David was selected by Democratic Party leaders to run as the party candidate in the special election in New York Congressional District 9 to replace the departed disgraced former Representative Anthony Weiner. Soon after that, I said to David in shul, "Congratulations, Congressman Weprin." The district is so heavily Democratic that I thought that even Larry Flynt could win as the Democratic nominee. I had never even heard of the Republican candidate, Bob Turner, and I saw no chance whatsoever of a GOP upset.

Yet, on Election Day, Tuesday, September 13, 2011, Turner defeated Weprin. This special election is the 2011 version of the 1991 special election for United States Senate in Pennsylvania in which Democrat Harris Wofford defeated Republican Dick Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General and Governor of Pennsylvania. Just as Wofford’s 1991 victory presaged the defeat of former President George H. W. Bush in 1992, the 2011 Weprin loss is an unmistakeable portent of Obama’s forthcoming defeat in 2012.

The various pundits will provide explanations for this upset, but overwhelmingly, the key issue in the campaign was the perception, accurate in my view, that Barack Hussein Obama is more adversarial towards the State of Israel than any other president since the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, even more hostile than Jimmy Carter. This district has one of the largest and most significant Jewish populations in the country. Had the issue simply been Obama’s economic failures, Weprin would have had few Jewish defections, and he would be travelling to Washington today for his swearing-in.

The issue, however, was Israel, and the only way Weprin could have removed the Obama albatross from around his neck would have been to totally repudiate the President. He would have had to say that he would not support the reelection of Barack Hussein Obama under any circumstances. This was something Weprin was unwilling to do, despite his strong criticisms of Obama’s record on Israel.

Israel first became a significant issue in the campaign when former New York City Mayor Ed Koch endorsed Turner, stating that Turner’s victory was necessary to send a message of outrage to President Obama over his anti-Israel policies. I am an admirer of Ed Koch, and I do not in anyway question the pro-Israel motivation of his Turner endorsement. Yet it must also be said that his advocacy of Weprin’s defeat was classic Ed Koch political payback, as explained hereinafter.

The most bitter intra-Democratic Party feud in New York I have seen in modern times was the political war between Koch and former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo. This war was fought in two electoral contests between these two men: 1) the 1977 New York City Democratic mayoral primary, won by Koch; and 2) the 1982 New York State Democratic gubernatorial primary, won by Cuomo.

In both these races, Cuomo was endorsed by David Weprin’s father, the late Saul Weprin, the former Speaker of the New York State Assembly. Ed Koch is a person who doesn’t get angry – he gets even, and he more than got even yesterday.

There was another highly significant Democratic endorsement of Bob Turner against Weprin, that of my very good friend, Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, the de facto political leader of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. Obama’s adversarial position towards Israel was one of two key motivating factors in Dov’s endorsement of Turner. The second factor was Weprin’s vote in the New York State Assembly to legalize same sex marriage.

Under Halacha (Jewish law), homosexuality is considered to be a capital offense and an abomination – it is clearly defined as such in the Torah. While a majority of Conservative and Reform Jews support the legalization of same sex marriage, it is opposed overwhelmingly by virtually all Orthodox Jews, both modern and fundamentalist.

Dov Hikind is a person who is only nominally Democratic – his overwhelming priorities in political life are 1) the safety and security of Jewish communities both within and outside Brooklyn, and 2) the preservation of Jewish values. For Hikind, the vote by David Weprin, a fellow Orthodox Jew, to legalize same sex marriage was an affront. David’s vote on this issue also resulted in defections of many leading Orthodox Jewish rabbis to Turner.

Yet disgust with Obama’s anti-Israel policies, rather than Weprin’s support of the legalization of same sex marriage was the paramount reason for Turner’s triumph in the Jewish community. The Weprin defeat presages massive defections of Jewish voters from Obama to the GOP 2012 Presidential nominee, probably Mitt Romney.

The loss of these Jewish voters to his GOP opponent will make it impossible for Obama to win either Florida or Pennsylvania in 2012. Obama’s failure to win either of these two states will accordingly seal his reelection defeat.

Jewish Democrats who still slavishly support Obama in spite of his anti-Israel record, including New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman, have embarked on a campaign to sanitize Obama’s adversarial record towards Israel and actually attempt to depict him as a pro-Israel president. As shown by David Weprin’s defeat, Jewish voters are reacting to this effort with total disbelief. Their attitude towards this Jewish Democratic outreach may most accurately be described by the old Yiddish saying: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.



 
Comments (2)
2 Sunday, 18 September 2011 13:33
Robert Spiegel
People often vote for people not because they know what they will do but because they are sending a message. President Obama promised us he would deliver green jobs, a cleaner environment and transparent government. He has done a few positive things but he is afraid of his own shadow as are most democrats. I wish the democrats held the same conviction as the republicans and maybe things would be different.

After watching the republican party candidates debate the other day I felt sick to my stomach thinking one of these people might be president of the United States someday soon. They were tripping over themselves to say how they would strip away all environmental protections and eliminate taxes on the ultra wealthy and throw the poor out in streets with no safety nets. All the while the audience like trained seals barked and clapped.

The policies we have now cannot be sustained. Our military budget needs to be cut and the money put back into creating new infrastructure for manufacturing. Building more roads and bridges is not the answer. Tariffs on all imported goods and bringing manufacturing back to this country is the only way the United States will survive. I did not hear that from either party. The extreme views and platforms from the republican candidates scared me and likely most of the other people who watched the debate especially the seniors who depend on Social Security to survive.

The bottom line is we need a fair flat tax system. One where the ultra wealthy pay the same percentage I do. The corporations like Exxon should not make hundreds of billions a year in profits and still be getting federal tax dollars. We need to come together as country and start to rebuild our manufacturing base without compromising clean air and water.

It can be done and its the patriotic thing to do. If all you care about is money and protecting the Ultra wealthy than you don't deserve to hold public office. Republican or democrat it doesn't matter we all sink or swim together. The sooner people wake up and realize this the sooner we can start moving forward again as country. Like it or not we need the government to provide us with services like protection of our shared environment, disaster relief and threats to our security. I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes. I want my money helping the United States get back on its feet again not bombing children in the middle east for oil.

Do you think if they grew broccoli in Iraq we would have started a war that cost us trillions dollars and countless lives on both sides. I am tired of the United States borrowing $500,000,000 a day from the chinese to fund those 2 wars. I can think of a better use of the money

If republicans truly care about our country they need to come up with a real plan that doesn't scare the voters and gets us working again without poisoning the environment in the process. It can be done and our leaders democrat and republican alike need to wake up and realize we are screwed if we don't start thinking about the United States first.
1 Friday, 16 September 2011 10:31
Mordechai
There was another very good reason for the Jewish community to reputidate Weprin and vote for Turner: Weprin's absurd, extremist views on gun control. Weprin is not only opposed to ownership of firearms by private citizens, he also sought to ban toy guns! While members of the Jewish community clearly have an interest in promoting public safety and keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and unsupervised children, what is purported to be "reasonable gun" control by the likes of Weprin and Chuck Schumer is actually an attempt to make it difficult or impossible for law abiding citizens to purchase, own and legally carry firearms. That is against our interests, as American citizens and as Jews in particular.

It is time that Jewish politicians such as Dov Hikind who are concerned with the "safety and security of the Jewish community", as Mr. Steinberg writes, become advocates for a truly sensible approach towards the Second Amendment that both enhances public safety and preserves our Constitutionally guaratneed right to keep and bear arms.

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