The overall message. Don't fear Muslims. Fear Christians. Don't believe those conspiracy theories about Obama being a Muslim. Believe those conspiracy theories about Romney being a Christian Dominionist.
The Dominionist angle is a little hard to sell when the man you're going after is a Mormon. And the only person who believes in a Mormon takeover of America is crazy racist, Roseanne Barr, last seen posing next to an oven in a Hitler costume.
But the Forward, the last subsidized bastion of the Jewish media left in the north, does its best to warn Jews that a Romney win will mean a totalitarian Christian state where everyone will have to go to church on Sunday and the elderly will be sacrificed to appease the Mormon god. Or something equally crazy.
The most interesting thing about Jay Michaelson's Forward screed is how self-assured and ignorant it is at the same time. The left is obsessed with Republicans but knows astoundingly little about them.
Michaelson conflates classical conservatives, whom he insists were anti-semitic, with social conservatives who are not classic conservatives, but for the most part voters from formerly conservative Democratic outposts who went Republican when the Democratic Party became the party of abortion, gay rights and obscene art exhibits paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Michaelson insists that social conservatism is why the Republican Party still exists, in an election dominated by talk of the economy and under a presidential candidate who once endorsed abortion. He conflates paleoconservatives with social conservatives, who are not the same people at all, and insists that, "Neocons have had to make a deal with the devil. To gain power over economic and foreign affairs, they depend on the same religious (and often racist) paleoconservatives."
The modern paleoconservative (a contradiction in terms) has been obsessed with foreign policy for the last 12 years and considers himself at war with the neo-conservatives. He is not about to cede anything to them, but he also has no influence in the party. The paleoconservative is also much less concerned with abortion than he is with Israeli conspiracies, black IQs and the inevitable downfall of the American empire.
Pat Buchanan, the paleocon dean, made an alliance with a gay anti-war atheist in order to spread conspiracy theories about the Jews running America. You can hardly get further away from any supposed neo-conservative alliance than that.
"This is as true today as it was in 1980," Michaelson pitifully insists. "Sure, there are some moderates surrounding Mitt Romney, including many Jews. But they will only gain power thanks to the Republican Party’s extreme Christian Right and Tea Party fringes."
Perhaps Michaelson missed the Republican National Convention which featured the Tea Party in a prominent role and was headlined by Michelle Bachmann and Allen West. Also its constant calls for a culture war and the lack of any non-Christian clergy, like a Sikh invocation prayer. I am being sarcastic here, but it's doubtful that Michaelson would realize that if I didn't tell him.
The Tea Party is driven by economic reform, not by social conservatism, but Michaelson can't tell one Republican movement apart from another.
Just look at the numbers: Forty-six percent of Americans believe in Creationism. Almost all of them are Republicans; that means that there’s only a sliver of Republicans who aren’t also extremely traditionally religious.
Apparently 54 percent is a sliver. Would Michaelson care to speculate how many Latinos and African-Americans believe in Creationism?
A Gallup poll from this summer showed that 58 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats believe in Creationism, aka the literal truth of the Bible. Or as Michaelson would call that, a sliver of Democrats don't believe in it. The poll was weighed by race, but racial breakdowns were not given.
In a FOX News poll however 53 percent of non-whites expressed belief in Biblical Creationism, as opposed to 42 percent of whites.
If Michaelson were being consistent, he would point to this as evidence that Jews should be equally worried about blacks and Latinos. Of course he isn't. Creationist beliefs by white Christians are horrid and evil. Those same beliefs by black and Latino Christian Democrats are to be ignored.
And incidentally, Orthodox Jews will generally believe in the literal story of Creation. Jay Michaelson hardest hit.
What follows is the usual screed about Conservative Christians wanting to take over America and implement a theocracy. Sure Romney is a Mormon, but, but, but... "If Romney is elected, he will have debts to pay."
He is going to put an anti-choice conservative on the Supreme Court. Roe vs. Wade will be overturned. Because that’s what Romney has to do politically.
Sure, Bush's Supreme Court didn't overturn Roe v Wade. It didn't even overturn ObamaCare, but the moment a Mormon who was formerly pro-Choice gets in, Row v. Wade, which Romney has about as much interest in overturning as he has in outlawing evolution or burning Richard Dawkins at the stake, will surely fall. Surely!
"The extremists call the shots in the Republican Party these days," Jay Michaelson says. Which is the only campaign platform the Democrats have run on for 70 years.
The extremists were calling the shots in the Republican Party in every election. That must be why the Republican Party today is far more liberal on social issues every decade. Because the extremists are calling the shots, but they're also very confused.
Supporting Romney is supporting Georgia Republican Paul Broun, who said evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell,”
Will American Jews really vote for a party that would ban all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest?
Find me one hair of difference between the Obama administration’s policy on Israel and any of the last Republican administrations’.
Conservatives talk about “Barack Hussein Obama,” as if his middle name is evidence of his foreignness, his Arab-ness, his Muslim-ness.Let’s admit it: All of us carry vestiges of Jewish trauma within us, including fear of anything Arab or Muslim. We are all vulnerable to this kind of manipulation. If something “makes you uneasy,” don’t listen to that unease; second-guess it.
Gavin de Becker won my interest when he appealed to my inner word-nerd. He points out that the root of the word intuition is “tueri”, meaning protection, defense, guardianship. As he says later, when it comes to violence,Intuition is always right in at least two important ways: 1. It is always in response to something. 2. It always has your best interests at heart.
The Jewish moderates I know are basically good people. But make no mistake: Moderates are not at the helm of the Republican Party. The Eric Cantors and Bill Kristols of the world have made a deal with the devil. They may think they’re just using the Christian right to get elected, but really, the Christian right is using them.