Our colleague Benyamin Korn is the former executive editor of The Jewish Exponent and current Director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, editor of JewsforSarah.com and host of the “Jewish Independent Talk” radio program. In an op-ed for The Jewish Week, Benyamin chronicles the growth in support for Gov. Palin in the Jewish community, including a number of Jewish intellectuals who are now giving Gov. Palin a second look:
In recent weeks, a number of prominent Jewish intellectuals have been publicly praising Sarah Palin. This despite a recent poll, reported by veteran analyst James Besser (Nov. 26), that well-educated Jews appear to be overwhelmingly opposed to Palin. How do we explain this discrepancy?- JP
Besser focuses on a recent poll showing Palin with stronger support among voters in general who are "less educated" and "less affluent." That poll made no reference to Jewish voters, but Besser argues that since Jews are "more educated than the population at large and more affluent," therefore one may safely assume they oppose Palin too.
Let’s recall that pundits made similar assumptions about Ronald Reagan when he was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980. Reagan also had considerable appeal among the less educated and the less affluent; surely educated and affluent Jews would support President Jimmy Carter – or so the pundits reasoned. But on election day, the majority of American Jews repaid Carter's disdain for Israel, his impotence in rescuing the Americans held hostage in Iran, and his mismanagement of the American economy, by abandoning him for Ronald Reagan, the most conservative Presidential candidate of the post-Vietnam era. Reagan received the largest share of the Jewish vote of any Republican presidential nominee in U.S. history.
While it is certainly too early to assume that 1980 will repeat itself in 2012, there are signs of growing respect for Gov. Palin’s policies and positions – especially among some of the Jewish intellectuals whom Besser presumes now oppose her.