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Obama biographies:

Lots of Obama biographical pieces in the media this week, including the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, The New Republic, and National Review. My column in today's Rocky Mountain News examines them all, pointing out the most thorough (WaPo) and the most sanitized (Newsweek). I point out that the coverage neglects the radical socialist and racialist views of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.

The column also examines the faulty reasoning in Jacob Weisberg's claim in a Newsweek column that older Jews who are hesitant about voting for Obama because of Israel are really closet racists. And the column points to some of the best Colorado-related articles from the Washington political insider publications.

PLR:
I point out that the coverage neglects the radical socialist and racialist views of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.

How insightful of you.

Are such views a hereditary trait?
8.27.2008 12:07pm
trad and anon:
White people who grew up in the racial paradise that was the Jim Crow era might be closet racists? Who could imagine such a thing?
8.27.2008 12:15pm
Big E:
My father was a raging drunk, does that make me one?
8.27.2008 12:30pm
Sarcastro (www):
Wait, Barak's middle name is Hussein?!
8.27.2008 12:32pm
David Schraub (mail) (www):
Second to PLR's comment.
8.27.2008 12:34pm
Dave N (mail):

I point out that the coverage neglects the radical socialist and racialist views of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.
How insightful of you.

Are such views a hereditary trait?
Fun to snark, I know, but that is not David Kopel's point. From his column:
None of this means that Barack Obama Jr. shares his late father's views. It does suggest that newspaper and magazine biographies that have discussed Obama Sr. have not provided a full picture.
8.27.2008 12:35pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

White people who grew up in the racial paradise that was the Jim Crow era might be closet racists? Who could imagine such a thing?

This would be true if Obama's social environment was politically dominated by socialists or he was raised in a commune. Given that Obama, Sr. abandoned him, and the primary caregivers for most of Obama's life were his grandparents who while probably liberal, weren't socialists, I don't think this is the case.
8.27.2008 12:35pm
Angus:
Sanitizing a person's family background is not at all uncommon. For instance, McCain likes to tout his wife's father as an American success story, a war hero and a self-made businessman. He does not mention that his father-in-law was also a convicted felon and associated with the mafia.

It also isn't at all relevant to McCain's candidacy except as an interesting example of seeing only what we want to see in family members.
8.27.2008 12:48pm
MS (mail):
You make a fine point refuting Weisberg. Obama's foreign policy team is good evidence that he is not entirely pro-Israel, though its hard to see how a bellicose hothead will solve any of Israel's problems.
8.27.2008 12:48pm
PLR:
Fun to snark, I know, but that is not David Kopel's point. From his column:

None of this means that Barack Obama Jr. shares his late father's views. It does suggest that newspaper and magazine biographies that have discussed Obama Sr. have not provided a full picture.

Uh huh. Noted.
8.27.2008 12:51pm
MartyA:
At the coronation tonight, will Hussein wear one of those head-thingees that the other Arabs wear or will he go with his standard halo?
8.27.2008 1:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
MartyA indeed! Your comment adds mich to the conversatino and is in such good taste!

The Dem convention is EXACTLY like the similar monarchic ritual. And Barak Obama is totally a Wild Arabic Gentlemen!

Though I did think the halo joke was over the top. Points for originality, though.
8.27.2008 1:16pm
mad the swine (mail):
"I point out that the coverage neglects the radical socialist and racialist views of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr."

Which is unsurprising, since media coverage has consistently neglected the radical socialist and racist views of Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.
8.27.2008 1:27pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
PLR - and others - instead of "noted," why don't you read the column next time? Or is that too dangerous?

As to the points of the biography, all influences - on child and man - are grist for the mill. I don't have either my father's or my stepfather's politics; their character and attitudes as expressed in their politics however, did have effects. We each have many influences. What is emerging is that an unusual number of possible influences on Barack have not merely liberal but radically leftist views.

Funny how trad and anon can easily believe that people can pick up racism from a thousand miles to the south - a high percentage of Jews come from northern cities, not Jim Crow territory after all - but BHO could not have picked up the values of his parents, mentor, teachers, and pastor.
8.27.2008 1:31pm
GSC:
Village Idiot, as others have noted above, Obama could not have picked up the values of his father because his father abandoned him. In fact, as the Washington Post pointed out, he met him only once when Obama was, I believe, 9. This is not a person whose political or racial views would have had any influence on his son.
8.27.2008 1:40pm
MarkField (mail):

My father was a raging drunk, does that make me one?


This reminds me of a great Teddy Roosevelt story. He was interrupted in a speech by a heckler who shouted out, "My grandfather was a Democrat, my father was a Democrat, and I'm a Democrat." TR responded with, "If your grandfather was a jackass and your father was a jackass, what would that make you?". "A Republican", the heckler shouted.

They don't make hecklers like that any more.
8.27.2008 1:41pm
shocker:
Volokh Conspirator offers reactionary defense of Jews/Isreal. News at 11.
8.27.2008 1:43pm
PLR:
PLR - and others - instead of "noted," why don't you read the column next time? Or is that too dangerous?
I have read it. Why do you believe otherwise?
As to the points of the biography, all influences - on child and man - are grist for the mill. I don't have either my father's or my stepfather's politics; their character and attitudes as expressed in their politics however, did have effects.

What possible effect could BHO Sr. have had under these facts?

My modest point is that these "biographies" are about BHO Jr. and are being composed by writers operating under the length restrictions applicable to newspapers and magazines. Kopel seems to think that some of those column inches should be dedicated to the beliefs of the man who abandoned his son as an infant, and that the omission of such data is a journalistic failing.

And on that point, I think Kopel is nuts. But it's all a matter of opinion, which is what we are here to express.
8.27.2008 1:46pm
Arr-Squared (mail):
I am shocked and appalled to learn that newspapers and news magazines failed to provide a 100% complete picture of some phenomenon. I must needs now retire to my Republican Fainting Couch (tm).
8.27.2008 1:48pm
EH (mail):
If the effect of a relative met only once at a young age is not only supposed to be so significant as to warrant extra coverage, but also to change (affect) the understanding of that person, how glaring and irresponsible has it been for the media not to write about Carol McCain.

Do we get a separate post from Mr. Kopel on that one, or is it a matter of imposing a double standard when writing of someone's history? I don't think this is a false dilemma.
8.27.2008 1:49pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
Even if Barack Obama were not a closet Marxist, the vicious attitudes of the mind-rapist socialist vermin that surround him would be enough to make absolutely certain I'd never vote for him. It is profoundly rude and anti-human to tell people that the reason why they refuse to vote for a candidate *must* be [fill in the blank] (in this case, the charge of racism).

To be perfectly blunt about it, this kind of mind-rape is the one thing guaranteed to evoke a resurgence of *real* racism, not the imagined racism that floats around in the heads of the socialist vermin like turds in a scummy pond.

I realise that this is a strong response. Well, mind-rape is exactly what the socialists do on a wide scale, just before they drag resisting people out of their homes and murder them for being decent people. The death toll from this sort of evil (including National Socialism and outright Communism) has reach a hundred million in the last century, and I'm not going to tolerate it for an instant before savagely striking back.

I'd say more that that, but refrain out of consideration for Mr. Kopel, who does have to observe certain "legalistic" standards here at The Volokh Conspiracy.
8.27.2008 1:49pm
Sarcastro (www):
Crafty Hunter doesn't go quite far enough. Obama doesn't just want to murder us for being decent people, he's some kind of Hitler-Stal...wait, he actually said.

I mean Obama totally says...wait, he has the "all McCain supporters are racist" strawman as well.

Rape! Obama's Raping me...damn! He's good!

I've got nothing to add.
8.27.2008 1:55pm
Constantin:
If the effect of a relative met only once at a young age is not only supposed to be so significant as to warrant extra coverage, but also to change (affect) the understanding of that person, how glaring and irresponsible has it been for the media not to write about Carol McCain.

When McCain writes a self-aggrandizing book with the central theme being his search for an identity via Carol, and that book is fully 1/2 of everything we really know about McCain, then I'll agree.
8.27.2008 1:56pm
Al (mail):
Of course BHO, Sr. had absolutely no influence whatsoever on his son. I mean, it's not like Obama wrote a book about it or anything.
8.27.2008 2:01pm
Al (mail):
Sorry, Constantin beat me to it.
8.27.2008 2:03pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
No candidate this election is more pro-Israel than Barack Obama, so why would any Jew oppose his election? Weisberg's argument at least explains this seeming contradiction.

First, prominent members of Chicago's Jewish community, renowned philanthropists and staunch supporters of Israel like the Crowns and the Pritzkers, are Barack's core, long term supporters. These people are not stupid. They would not support anyone whose support for Israel is insufficient.

As one of many examples, in response to an email smearing Obama in January, the Crown family patriarch had this to say: (From the Aspen Daily News)

Lester Crown, 82, is a respected leader of Chicago's Jewish community and a strong supporter of Israel.

"While my involvement in politics is motivated by a variety of issues, there is one issue that is fundamental: My deep commitment to Israel and to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship that strengthens both Israel's security and its efforts to seek peace," Crown wrote. "I am writing to share with you my confidence that Senator Barack Obama's stellar record on Israel gives me great comfort that, as President, he will be the friend to Israel that we all want to see in the White House - stalwart in his defense of Israel's security, and committed to helping Israel achieve peace with its neighbors."

Crown's son Jim is the co-chair of the Illinois fundraising effort for Obama, along with Penny Pritzker of Chicago. Lester Crown has donated $2,100 to Obama's campaign, and many other Crown family members have also contributed.


Second, foreign policy advisors such as Anthony Lake and Susan Rice are retreads from the Clinton administration. Did Jews similarly fear that Clinton was insufficiently supportive of Israel? Did these Jews act on these fears by voting for George Bush, Sr, and Bob Dole? If so, that would undercut Weisberg's argument.
8.27.2008 2:22pm
MarkField (mail):

I've got nothing to add.


There's always child molestation...
8.27.2008 2:29pm
Sarcastro (www):
MarkField you're like some kind of evil genius!
8.27.2008 2:32pm
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
So Dave, maybe you can explain to us why it is that my mother in law, who is a white lady who is 88 years old, voted for Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004 and Hillary in the primaries in California in 2008, continues to worry about Obama. Is it because of his black skin? You don't know her, and I do. She is not a racist in the way we often think of the word, but she is afraid of Obama--and says "He won't protect Israel!"

She comes off the ledge of voting for McCain when I tell her that Dennis Ross has been on the advisory committee for Obama, along with other pro-Likudniks like Mel Levine or some of these other folks. And how even AIPAC says Obama is "kosher." But as soon as my wife and I leave, she'll talk to some other old white Jewish person who will tell her Obama is a secret Muslim and will cut off aid to Israel and God knows what else.

Also, her non-Jewish next door neighbor, also white and over 65, says to me he may have to vote for McCain, though the neighbor is against the war, thinks McCain is dumb and has undermined the military readiness of our nation with the Iraq War. He is also a union man who reliably votes Democratic. He says to me a few months ago, "Well, you know that Obama, if he gets in, will make Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson part of his Cabinet." (I paraphrase the man as I can't recall the exact words in order). Where does he get that, and what does that sort of statement mean in terms of how he feels about the color of Obama's skin. Would he say that about a white politician who had the sort of cold relationship with Sharpton and Jackson that Obama has had?

So again I ask Dave Kopel: Why is Obama lagging behind otherwise liberal Democratic voters who are over 65? Instead of just ridiculing Weisberg for making the statement, which was about seniors generally, and only one later sentence providing an example among Jewish voters over 65, maybe Dave Kopel should tell us just what policy Obama has called for that makes these particular voters uninclined to support him.

Or is it that Obama's Dad was a Red? Or that his first mentor was a black guy who was also a Red. God, I can only hope Obama is a Red and a Muslim the way guys like Kopel wet their beds and hide under their bedcovers at the very thought of such things...
8.27.2008 2:34pm
srg:
Sarcastro,

Sometimes you are hilarious (your WW 2/Hitler-Churchill-Chamberlain post was brilliant), but your posts are really hit or miss. You could have a career as a satirist, but you should edit yourself more.
8.27.2008 2:36pm
PC:
If an actual Socialist ever ran for president I think the right's collective head would explode from hyperbole overload. Oh, and rape.
8.27.2008 2:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Mitchell Freedman, some of us tune out the minute we hear someone with no affiliation with Likud referred to as a "pro-Likudnik," just so you know.

As for old Jewish people, chalk it up to (a) a concern for Israel, on which McCain clearly has a deeper record; (b) concern about Obama's ties to people like Jeremiah Wright; and (c) concern about a young man with little experience who seems to excite the masses with vague promises of "change." As I've pointed out previously, Jews who have lived through the 20th century and were blessed to live in America, want stability, not unexpected "change," and tend to be suspicious of silver-tounged orators who excite the masses.
8.27.2008 2:44pm
Sarcastro (www):
[srg thaks for the complement and criticism! Editing oneself is quite the difficult trick, but after such flattery, I cannot but try.]
8.27.2008 2:46pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Tony Tutins, there were plenty of Jews in 1976 who swore that Carter was a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I actually don't think that Obama is like Carter, but the assurances of elite donors are worth the paper they are written on.
8.27.2008 2:48pm
Simon P:
I enjoy reading this blog because it frequently has a lot of interesting, insightful discussion on contemporary law and policy, often from a libertarian perspective. Or, I should say, I "enjoyed" reading it for these reasons.

The more of these pieces we see -- a review of book reviews that sarcastically comments upon every review from a "left-leaning" outlet while cherry-picking unflattering assertions made in "right-leaning" outlets, while also including (under the web-headline, "Full picture of Obama emerging") an extraneous bit on Obama, Sr. -- the less inclined I am to think of this blog as an intellectual forum and the more inclined I am to think of it as a smear machine.

I realize that Kopel's review may not have been designed or intended to come off as a piece of unbiased criticism. I might think his piece is journalistically irresponsible, but I can concede at least that there is a place in our media for this kind of account. But what is certain is that I'm unlikely to take anything else Kopel says or links within this blog as coming from the sort of detached perspective that is so essential to intellectually honest inquiry -- a detachment I view to be of signal importance within any coherent libertarian worldview.
8.27.2008 2:50pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Simon P it's an election year! I have no doubt this'll calm down come Nov. Or maybe Jan. at the outside. In the meantime, have fun with it!]
8.27.2008 2:53pm
obama fan:
Since Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (thanks for adding that, since he always refers to himself with Jr.) I assume that Kopel got his reactionary views about israel because of some genetic trait that his father or mother possessed? Instead of debates, how about we just institute blood tests to see if the candidate's parents have passed down some intolerable public policy views!
8.27.2008 3:06pm
srg:
Sarcastro,

Ya gotta work on your spelling and typos too.
8.27.2008 3:06pm
Ken Arromdee:
He says to me a few months ago, "Well, you know that Obama, if he gets in, will make Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson part of his Cabinet." (I paraphrase the man as I can't recall the exact words in order). Where does he get that, and what does that sort of statement mean in terms of how he feels about the color of Obama's skin.

Worrying that Obama might be connected to black radicals doesn't necessarily imply racism. For instance, he might have worried about Obama's connection to Wright and noticed that those people have similar political beliefs to Wright. For obvious reasons, people with similar political beliefs to Wright will probably be black, but that doesn't mean he associates Obama with them just because they're black.
8.27.2008 3:09pm
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
David,

Too bad you are tuned out by the term "pro-Likudnik", but I find it a useful term to negate the assumption, so deeply ingrained in American discourse on corporate owned television and radio shows, and the halls of Congress, that a pro-Likud position regarding Israeli policies is a determinant for being "pro-Israel." To analogize, I personally hate the term "bureaucrat" as it demeans public servants and public service, but somehow I doubt you are bothered by that term....and that term does frame the narrative debate about government, doesn't it?

As for McCain's "deeper" record on Israel, I guess standing around for 20 years in the Congress, and signing off on AIPAC sponsored resolutions, counts for something. If, as you say, older Jewish voters are so concerned about fancy words not being the same as actually policy-making, they should not be impressed with McCain in that regard.

I wish my mother in law was as articulate as you are. But she's not. She is an intelligent lady, but it ain't lack of "experience" and McCain's record on Israel that is causing her doubts about Obama. I'll grant you the Rev. Wright makes her worry about Obama, but she worries about Rev. Hagee and the religious right, too, and their influence on McCain. I sense there is something deeper about her qualms about Obama and that is what Weisberg is getting at. And again, she is not a racist as the term is too loaded these days, but she is conscious about Obama's blackness in a way I know you, and those of your generation, are not (I'm just past the half century mark and so am somewhere between my mother in law and your generation).

And finally, regarding your response to Tony Tutins, I know all about the stuff people NOW say about Carter's time as president, but he was really pro-Israel in any reasonable sense during his tenure, helping broker peace with Egypt (the new argument is that Carter was not helpful, I know...) and acquiescing in Israel's jettisoning Palestinian aspirations (he fired Andy Young as UN Ambassador for having essentially the same position as Abba Eban and some folks at Haaretz had regarding the West Bank and Gaza). I also recall people affiliated with AIPAC and the JNF in Orange County telling me in 1988 that George HW Bush (Bush the Elder) was more pro-Israel than Dukakis (Bush the Elder, in his defense, was largely pro-Israel, but for the frustrated commentary of his Secretary of State Jim Baker). I suppose that means pro-AIPAC folks (is that better than pro-Likud?) should be concerned that McCain could be like Bush the Elder regarding Israel, yes?
8.27.2008 3:15pm
anon22 (mail):
The only way to read this blog is:

Orin Kerr for interest even though conservative
Eugene Volokh for some oddities because most of the time his hackishness does not come through
Dale if he ever posts
Everyone else for laughs or outrage.

Comments if you enjoy a cesspool of articulate freepers spiced with some pushback.
8.27.2008 3:25pm
PLR:
DB:
As I've pointed out previously, Jews who have lived through the 20th century and were blessed to live in America, want stability, not unexpected "change," and tend to be suspicious of silver-tounged orators who excite the masses.

Take that, you crazy old coot Marty Peretz and other so-called Jews who lived in the 20th century!

I for one will certainly refrain from making incautious blanket statements.
8.27.2008 3:26pm
Brian Mac:

Orin Kerr for interest even though conservative

Wait, conservatives can be interesting!?!?
8.27.2008 3:29pm
anon22 (mail):
It's hard for conservatives to be interesting since most of their positions are outright dishonest and the ones that aren't dishonest or generally predictable. Orin is the rare conservative beast in that he is neither dishonest nor predictable in his opinions.
8.27.2008 3:34pm
Waldensian (mail):

But what is certain is that I'm unlikely to take anything else Kopel says or links within this blog as coming from the sort of detached perspective that is so essential to intellectually honest inquiry -- a detachment I view to be of signal importance within any coherent libertarian worldview.

You're going to love reading DB.
8.27.2008 3:35pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The idea that AIPAC is "pro-Likud" is absurd on its face. AIPAC more or less supports whatever the positions are of the government in power. And Likud or its Kadima spinoff have been in power for most of the last 31 years. But let's be even more specific. Give me specific examples of why Melvin Levine is a "pro-Likudnik," as opposed to someone who just doesn't happen to share your dovish views.

Finally, my dad is a strong Republican and I've heard him arguing with other elderly Jews over Obama. Literally NONE of the elderly Jewish Democrats think that Obama would be better, or generally even as good, on "Jewish issues" than McCain, and certainly not on Israel. (Because these are Democrats, this is inevitably the topic of debate, because no one is going to sway them by talking about, say, limited government). And don't forget, you have certain non-elderly Jews (like Thomas Friedman) who basically argue that one good reason to vote for Obama is because he will appeal to the Third World (e.g., he is black with a Muslim heritage).
8.27.2008 3:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
And by the way, ALL elderly Jews remember how pro-Israel the likes of MLK and Bayard Rustin were, and thus it's absurd to say they think that prominent blacks involved in politics are inherently anti-Israel.
8.27.2008 3:39pm
just watching666 (mail):
I quite enjoy Sarcastro's posts. And I am not being sarcastic.
8.27.2008 3:39pm
anon22 (mail):
Speak of the Devil.
8.27.2008 3:39pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
PLR, a statement with the modifier "tend to" is inherently not a "blanket statement."


DB:

As I've pointed out previously, Jews who have lived through the 20th century and were blessed to live in America, want stability, not unexpected "change," and tend to be suspicious of silver-tounged orators who excite the masses.


Take that, you crazy old coot Marty Peretz and other so-called Jews who lived in the 20th century!

I for one will certainly refrain from making incautious blanket statements.
8.27.2008 3:40pm
PLR:
PLR, a statement with the modifier "tend to" is inherently not a "blanket statement."
Good point.

So I can predict that Jews in America who have lived through the 20th century will tend to overcome their suspicions and vote for Obama in larger numbers than those who will vote for the less skilled orator that does not excite the masses.
8.27.2008 3:47pm
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
I am surprised, David, that I have to spell it out. But here goes:

I personally heard Mel Levine tell a group of us Jewish Obama supporters in San Diego a few weeks ago that Obama believes, as Mel does, that the US and Israel should never talk to Hamas or Hezbollah without preconditions that include their laying down their arms and denouncing terrorism forever. That is to the right of what Olmert just did with Hezbollah, and have done with Hamas when they talk about cease-fires. This puts Mel to the right of both Labor and Kadima and into the Likud camp which denounces talking with terrorists (except when Likud does it, too, when in power).

Levine also thinks Israel should not be actually pressured to stop building settlements, which fits within the views of the right wing in Israel, not Israel's left wing. Remember the assumption is that somehow Obama is the leftist about Israel, when in fact Obama's politics about Israel have more in common with Bibi than Uri Averney.

Your argument about what your Dad has encountered only proves the point about some elderly Jews' fears about Obama being more about their emotions than real policy information. And their consciousness about his blackness is at least a part of why they believe Obama is more like Sharpton and Jackson, even as Sharpton and Jackson have each said strongly negative things about Obama (Sharpton has recently tried to climb aboard the Obama wagon, but he has no credibility with Obama).

Finally, quoting Thomas Friedman with me is the same as me talking about "pro-Likudniks." Friedman, however, was only noting that some Third World folks were buying into the same false assumptions about Obama and took it as a positive that he is a secret Muslim and hates Israel. If that is their belief or assumption, the joke will be on them.
8.27.2008 4:01pm
Brian Mac:

It's hard for conservatives to be interesting since most of their positions are outright dishonest and the ones that aren't dishonest or generally predictable.

Right on! But you stop short, in my view. Besides dishonesty, another explanation for why some queer beasts end up conservative is that they are mentally ill!
8.27.2008 4:01pm
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
David,

These elderly Jews gave up the ghost of MLK and Bayard Rustin the moment their children tried to get into elite Ivy League colleges in the 1970s and found that a few slots were reserved for blacks and Latino students under affirmative action. The words "Oceanhill-Brownsville" reverberated across the Jewish enclaves across America by then, too. It is not absurd that for the past 30 years, those Jews have been worried about black politicians and Israel and things Jewish. It doesn't make them right and perhaps racist is too strong due to its imagery of Bull Connor. But it is a fact that with some of these elderly Jews who are afraid of Obama, that they are very conscious he is black--and they make assumptions about what they believe that "means."
8.27.2008 4:04pm
anon22 (mail):
Personally, I don't see the mental illness angle, but if you have some examples, I'm open to discussing. None of the bloggers at this site are mentally ill as far as I can tell.
8.27.2008 4:06pm
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
David Bernstein, one more thing. Thanks for the debate. I know we're heated, but I appreciate the heat of the argument. At least you took on my challenge to Kopel, even if he refrained...
8.27.2008 4:07pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
You have shown that Levine has hawkish views on Israel. What does that have to do with "Likud?" Being a "Likudnik" suggests that your policy positions come from either agreeing with Likud ideology (from Jabotinsky) or from some other connection to Likud. I much preferred Margaret Thatcher's views to the Labor Party's. No one would call me a "Conservativite." For that matter, I don't refer to people like you as a "pro-Mapainik" or a "Meretznik."

The only function of the word "Likudnik" is as a slur to imply loyalty to a foreign party and ideology. But if you're willing to be called a "Meretznik" or "Mapainik" I'll grant you "Likudnik." More likely, you'd be very offended by the implication that you blindly follow a foreign party's ideology.
8.27.2008 4:08pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
"Your argument about what your Dad has encountered only proves the point about some elderly Jews' fears about Obama being more about their emotions than real policy information."


I agree that it's not about real policy information, but that's because there's a vacuum of real policy information, not because people are ignoring what's out there. Obama says all the right things, but he has some dubious associates and has only been on the national political stage for four years. Can you imagine someone seriously running for the Democratic nomination who does not purport to be pro-Israel and a "friend of the Jews?" I'm not saying Obama isn't, I'm just saying that not taking this on faith isn't the same as racism.
8.27.2008 4:11pm
Brian Mac:

Personally, I don't see the mental illness angle, but if you have some examples, I'm open to discussing. None of the bloggers at this site are mentally ill as far as I can tell.

But if they're not pathological liars, or mentally ill, then how could they possibly hold different political ideologies to yours?
8.27.2008 4:14pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
"David Bernstein, one more thing. Thanks for the debate."

You're welcome.

And btw, I won't deny that racism may be some element for some voters. But the charge that if elderly Jews aren't flocking to Obama it MUST be because of racism just doesn't hold up. As I've noted before, only about half of Jews consider themselves liberals, and given Obama's very liberal voting record, the factors I mentioned above, and the Republicans running a relative moderate with relatively few ties to the Christian right, you could expect the Jewish vote to be more competitive this year than it has been since 1980.
8.27.2008 4:15pm
DavidBernstein (mail):

So I can predict that Jews in America who have lived through the 20th century will tend to overcome their suspicions and vote for Obama in larger numbers than those who will vote for the less skilled orator that does not excite the masses.
Absolutely, as I've pointed out before, about 50% of Jews will vote for almost any Democrat, and 15% for almost any Republican. Given that Obama is obviously not an overt anti-Semite, he starts with that 50%. Only 35% is up for grabs, and McCain ain't going to get all of it.
8.27.2008 4:18pm
Hoosier:
Sarcastro:

You no doubt recognize the irony inherent in your responding the way you did to Marty A's . . . uh . . . "sarcastic" post?
8.27.2008 5:20pm
Hoosier:
No candidate this election is more pro-Israel than Barack Obama, so why would any Jew oppose his election? Weisberg's argument at least explains this seeming contradiction.

Because he or she votes on the basis of issues other than Israel?
8.27.2008 5:24pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Can you imagine someone seriously running for the Democratic nomination who does not purport to be pro-Israel and a "friend of the Jews?" I'm not saying Obama isn't, I'm just saying that not taking this on faith isn't the same as racism.

My impression from DK's column was that Jews thought Obama was inadequately pro-Israel, or even anti-Israel, not that they merely preferred McCain's lengthy track record.
8.27.2008 5:25pm
Floridan:
DB: "Obama is obviously not an overt anti-Semite"

And DB does not overtly favor the interests of Israel over those of the United States . . .
8.27.2008 5:33pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
David, if you are going to plug your newspaper column in this blog, then I suggest that you at least supply the links to the cited articles.
8.27.2008 5:51pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Because he or she votes on the basis of issues other than Israel?

Fine. But I was picturing someone who voted for Hillary in the primaries, and now plans to vote for McCain.
8.27.2008 9:05pm
David Warner:
"This is not a person whose political or racial views would have had any influence on his son."

What was the title of that book again? It would be nice if I could share your confidence.
8.28.2008 7:43pm