I don't have anything against, Republicans, per say. Some of my best friends are Republicans. And though, I think the average Republican politician is more likely to play the part of the demagouge, the average Jewish Republican voter is usually just voting with his pocketbook. As a friend of mine often says, summing up his view, "An old guy in my shul told me when I was a kid, that if I wanted to keep more of my money I should always vote Republican so that's what I do."
I'm probably wrong, but in my heart of hearts I believe this is more or less how most Jewish Republicans think. They're mostly petty businessmen who've thought neither deeply nor carefully about the world. At some point in their early life, they became convinced that the Republicans were better on economics - and perhaps they also worry that the Democrats are too cozy with gays, or lesbians, or blacks, or secularists - and to this day, that's how they vote. They're wrong, but not venal.
This is not, however, my view of the Bush cabal that is currently in control of our country. God help me, but on the subject of the Bush Republicans I agree 100 percent with Chris Mathews and Pat Buchanan, who had the following exchange on a recent edition of Hardline 11 [Via TNR]
Mathews:When are we going to notice that the neocons don't know what they're talking about? They're not looking at this country's long-term interests. They're bound up in regional and global ideology, and they have had no experience... I don't know why we keep falling for it--and the president, you say is he free of these guys yet or not?
Buchanan: I certainly hope the president is not listening to them, because I really question whether they've got America's national interest at heart.TNR continues: "A more suspicious mind might detect in this some ugly insinuations, but I prefer to take their words at face value." And, taken at face value, they are right: The president and his men aren't looking at America's long term interests.
Here are the Bush administration's worst crime:
(1) They wasted American lives and treasure (while enriching the Vice President's old company) on the wild-goose chase that became the Iraqi quagmire.
(2) They handed enormouse tax cuts and other benefits to the wealthiest Americans, during a war, while also offering nothing of substance to those who are struggling.
(3) They've run divisive political campaigns, in which American citizens - be they black, hispanic, or gay - are routinly demonized.
Let it be clear, therefore, that I do not dislike all Republicans, because those Republicans who denounce these practices - and there are many - are Republicans I respect and admire.
[Updated December 24, 2006]