December 24, 2003


Why I'm voting for Bush (Edward I. Koch, 12/24/03, Jewish World Review)

Last week I served as moderator of a forum on the contributions to America's intellectual life made by Eric Breindel who died in 1998 at the age of 42. At the time of his death, Eric was editorial page editor of the New York Post.

In its report on the forum, The New York Sun stated: "Mr. Koch told the crowd Wednesday night that he would vote for President Bush, entirely on the basis of his concern for embattled Israel."

I don't believe that is what I said. To the best of my recollection, my impromptu remarks mirrored what I have been saying for over a year.

I intend to vote for President George W. Bush in the next election, because in my view he is best able to wage the war against international terrorism. There is no greater threat to the United States than that posed by Al-Qaeda and similar groups. President Bush has confronted that threat head on. [...]

I do not believe the major contenders for the presidential nomination in the Democratic primaries have the stomach to confront the terrorist scourge comparable to President Bush. This is especially true of the current Democratic frontrunner, Howard Dean, whose stated reason for entering the race is his opposition to the war. Most of the other candidates who were in Congress and voted for the war resolution are now tacking to the wind to satisfy the left-wing constituency, hoping if they win to move to the center before the general election. The exception is Joe Lieberman, whom most observers believe has no chance of winning the nomination.

On the issue of my "concern for embattled Israel," I believe all of the major Democratic candidates, with the exception of Howard Dean, have records of support for that country as our steadfast ally in the Middle East.

Mr. Dean's comments about Israel do indeed suggest that he is not just not a supporter but is in some measure hostile to it. If that becomes a topic of political conversation, even Mr. Bush's evangelicalism may not be enough to stop Jews from voting for him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2003 11:08 AM

oj --

Though you may be ignoring the Jewish propensity for "paranoia" (if Woodie Allen taught us anything). The minute that American Jews begin to suspect that voting for Bush would be tagged as single-minded-support-for-Israel, they will begin to worry...

Posted by: MG at December 24, 2003 11:43 AM

Even as Dr. Dean's "deviation" regarding Israel may be quite enough to attract certain Conservatives to his banner....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 24, 2003 11:43 AM

A Buchananeer/Dean axis is not at all unthinkable, which proves something dispiriting about humanity.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 24, 2003 11:52 AM

Combine the recent poll showing the staunchest Jewish activists in the Democratic Party are breaking Dean's way with the party's effort to recruit more Muslim voters and the pro-Palestinian sentiments of the furthest left of Dean's core support group, and you have the makings of a facinating Democratic National Committee convention at the Fleet Center.

Since Koch has no plans to switch parties I assume he will be in Boston for the DNC event, and his comments ought to be fun to listen to, even if Fox News turn out to be the former mayor's only TV outlet (though I can't see Chris Matthews passing up a chance like this for "Hardball").

Posted by: John at December 24, 2003 7:20 PM