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Wasserman Schultz, Schumer Spin Dem Defeat

‘Unusual circumstances,’ ‘unique’ district are culprits for loss, they say

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Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

I just got off a conference call with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairman, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York. Wasserman Schultz spoke about the national ramifications of the two special elections yesterday (there was another in Nevada, which the Democratic candidate lost); Schumer was there to discuss the special election in the New York district that he represented for 18 years until 1998.

Wasserman Schultz, in opening remarks, chalked up David Weprin’s loss to “unusual circumstances” and focused on “the battleground states—that’s where this campaign is going to be won,” in reference to next year’s presidential contest.

Schumer spoke at length about the New York district. “I’ve never seen [the district] referred to as a bellwether. It’s among the most conservative districts in New York City, and it’s changing rapidly,” Schumer said. “The president only got 55 percent of the vote in the ninth, I believe; he got close to 70 in New York City, and won every one of the neighboring districts from between 60 and 90 percent.” Indeed, Obama’s numbers in the ninth, according to the senator, were worse than his overall numbers in New York state. Schumer also noted that despite winning the district, Obama lost the Brooklyn part of it—which is where most of the Orthodox Jews are—by approximately 15 points. The implication being, these are typically Republican voters anyway.

Schumer went on: “When I first was elected in 1981, it was very different. It’s become much more Orthodox than it used to be. And it’s become much more of an immigrant district—a lot of Eastern European immigrants, who tend to be much more conservative, having left the former Soviet Union.” (I can testify that if you want the best Bukharian food outside of Uzbekistan, you should head for one of this district’s kosher restaurants.)

Schumer concluded: “It’s not a bellwether district. Anybody who tries to extrapolate what has happened in this district to what will happen in New York City, New York state, or the country is mistaken.”

Later, in response to a question, he predicted: “I think the president will do well in this district.”

A reporter from the Palm Beach Post asked the Jewish question, and directed it to Wasserman Schultz, whose own district, encompassing parts of Miami and Miami Beach, is also heavily Jewish. “I’m confident that the president, all over the country, will receive the overwhelming majority of the Jewish vote,” she said. “Because of his incredibly strong record on Israel, and because of the focus and the dramatic contrast between the Tea Party Republican candidates, who are wrong on all the issues Jews care about—wrong on a woman’s right to choose, wrong on health care, wrong on fighting to make sure everyone has a fair shake, wrong on civil rights and civil liberties. He and Democrats up and down the ballot will receive an overwhelmingly majority of the Jewish ballot once again.”

I agree—Tablet Magazine columnist Michelle Goldberg laid out this argument in fuller detail. Hearing Wasserman Schultz talk about Obama’s “fighting to make sure everyone has a fair shake” in particular conjured up the Jewish commitment to social justice that has consistently led most of them into the Democratic Party since the days of the New Deal. But there is still the matter of Israel, which, despite Obama’s arguably “incredibly strong record,” seems undeniably to have affected this election: likely less with the Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn and more with the non-Orthodox ones of Queens—the ones who were persuaded by Ed Koch to vote against the pro-Israel Jew to send Obama a message. As I discussed yesterday with Tevi Troy and Matt Duss, this is an issue likely to have resonance beyond Jewish voters; it could play a role in the very “battleground states” where, according to the Democratic Party chairwoman, the 2012 presidential campaign will be won or lost.

Related: Christian Wrong [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Special Election Defeat Is Obama’s Loss

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The dems can spin and spin but the Jewish voters aren’t stupid. Obama aint no friend of Israel

Look at the Orthodox Jewish media on Obama and you can see how poorly he is perceived:

Wasserman-Schultz and Schumer are in denial – rather than really addressing the terrible economic policies of Obama, in addition to his policies on Israel and on the Middle East.

realtime says:

Lady you are a world-class liar or delusional. Obama is an enemy of Israel.

Life long Jewish democrat from debbies district. Debbie, and the rest of the democrats are whistling while walking past the graveyard. When did my party become so elitest that they cant see the train approaching.

Obama’s incredibly strong record on Israel?, what world is Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz living on?

william Engledow says:

Republican wrong in many cases yes, but not for supporting biblical stances on not murdering, homosexuality, etc…Everyone gets a fair shake? Why dont everyone like the liberal democrat pay taxes? The over 50% on the govt. teat that draw theis SS and welfare are mainly democrat and the democrat wants more to join the ranks so that they are relying on the government instead of the G_D of abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If these NY Jews are orthodox, non-orthodox or whatever and are voting democratic, they are apostate and voting for anti-messiah.

neal sturman says:

wasserman-schultz and schumer are political spin masters. they could look you in the face and say it’s raining when they peeing on you. Schultz is a hack, schumer just a smart lefty. the outlook for them is not good

Jamil Abd al-Rahman says:

President Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are great representatives for America; Their support of the opressed Palestinian people is good for America they are true patriots to social justice in the Middleeast and a end to the Zionist rule of Palestine! Re-elect Obama and Wasserman Schultz and save America’s reputation in the Arabic world.

Me and many of my fellow Jews don’t want a fair shake.

We want what’s coming to us; support for the Jewish homeland.

Anything less is a betrayal of Israel and Obama and his fellow Dems better understand that.

As of this moment, the Arabs refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish land. However, they want us to recognize them on their own terms.

There are close to 60 states that identify themselves as members of the Muslim community. Many of them have the word Islamic or Muslim in their titles.

Of course, that’s OK.

Israel is racist, they say, if it identifies as Jewish.

Wasserman Schultz and her fellow Dems are in for a major surprise in Nov, 2012. There will be enough Jewish defections or no shows ( for those of us who hate the GOP but won’t go near Obama) to shift the election.

Forget Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. We just won’t turn out to support you.

Sammy Epstein says:

Jamil, I guess you just made up my mind! I don’t know why myself and my fellow Jews didn’t figure it out sooner. The Democrats have never been our friends; We say we dislike the Republicans, but in reality it is ALWAYS the Republicans that have been for a strong military and defended Israel, always. The Democrats led by the likes of Obama and Wasserman have sold us out again


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Wasserman Schultz, Schumer Spin Dem Defeat

‘Unusual circumstances,’ ‘unique’ district are culprits for loss, they say

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