Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Democratic Landslide: Is it good for the Jews?

Well it looks like President Bush took a real drubbing in yesterday’s election. In the House of Representatives the Democrats will regain power for the first time in over a decade and will now host the first woman as the Speaker of the House. The Senate looks like it will be a 50/50 split but that means the Republicans win that one since in a tied vote the Vice President gets to break the tie. He, of course is a Republican and a very conservative one at that.

But many questions no arise. How did this happen? What does it mean for the country, for Israel, for Jews, the war in Iraq, and conservative values?

It is a fact that the conservative principles are generally more in line with Orthodox Judaism than are liberal principles. Although that isn’t 100% the case, I think it is true most of the time. But I do not think that conservative principles have necessarily lost out. Many of the Democrats who won have conservative values. For example there is Joseph Lieberman. And there is James Webb, a conservative Democrat who apparently beat George Allen. I think that conservative values are still part and parcel of the American fabric. And the issue of stem cell funding will now have a better chance of being advanced with this congress.

As an aside, even though Allen supported the President on the war in Iraq, as I do, and Webb does not, Allen deserved to be defeated. His reaction to being “outed” as a Jew was so repugnant that he does not deserve the honor and privilege of being a public servant.

Support for Israel should be as strong as ever. The only difference is how each party approaches the subject. But the President still determines foreign policy and has thus far had a hands off approach with respect to that. I think his policy on Israel will continue to be in effect.

As for how Jews in this country will fare with this new congress… that’s almost a non issue. Jews in this country are so accepted as equals that it doesn’t matter which party is in power. In fact we now have a record number of Jews in both the House and Senate. Most non-Jews probably don’t know that, or even care to know it. Thye voted for people who represented their views irrespective of whether they were Jewish or not.

The big question is Iraq. The worry is that policy might change. That seems to be what the electorate wanted. But I am not convinced that the electorate wants the US to cut and run. Yes there is some of that, but a lot of the problem voters were having is that we weren’t winning. And it is imperative that we win. I do not think that is even arguable to any thinking person. Losing in Iraq will give he enemies of Israel and the United states an unprecedented base for terror. With Iran holding that position now, a new Islamic republic with a radical Islamist agenda right next door to it will produce an axis of evil whose number one goal will be to wipe Israel off the map. And the threat of having another 9/11 right here in the US will increase tenfold, if not more. I think most Americans realize that. And I think most members of congress do as well.

So, bottom line, there will probably be some kind of shift in policy there. But I do not see “cut and run”.

So over all, looked at this way, the results were not all that bad. Yes, the liberal type thinking that has its home in the Democratic party will have more influence in social policy that it has in the recent past, but it will not cast the deciding vote. It wasn’t liberal Democrats who were elected, for the most part. It was a more centrist Democrat that was. So in areas like gay marriage, I do not see congressional attitudes changing to much.

It’s the Democrats turn now. Let’s see what they do with it.