Not Good For the Republican Jewish Outreach Program

Local politics is usually the best place to see the Republican id on full display (boldface mine):

The bigotry is back.

Five years ago, outside activists opposing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, called for a “Christian conservative” to unseat the speaker, who is Jewish. The injection of religion into that race was roundly denounced — even by Straus’ declared opponents, who rejected the “deplorable personal attacks.”

What once was deplorable has now grown tolerable — mainstream, even.

Jeff Judson, a local tea party activist challenging Straus’ re-election, is sounding the same dog whistle himself, warning voters of “the disconnect between conservative, Christian voters and Joe Straus” in a rambling treatise titled “The Biblical Basis for Jeff Judson’s Candidacy for Texas House District 121 in the Republican Primary on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.”

…I called Judson on Friday to ask how Straus is disconnected from Christians.

“Now, let’s not be going into this anti-Semitic line of discussion because that’s clearly not what this is,” he said. “I say ‘Christian’ because I’m a Christian. What I’m saying is ‘biblical.’ If you know the definition of ‘biblical,’ it’s Judeo-Christian.

“There’s nothing anti-Semitic about this whatsoever,” he added. “The criticism is of Joe and his positions, which are in defiance of Judeo-Christian values.”

When I mentioned that even Straus’ declared opponents in 2010 denounced similar rhetoric, Judson said, “I totally reject that a lot of people were upset about this. There were a couple of liberal reporters that tried to make an issue about it. … Most people don’t even know that Joe is Jewish.”

That’s a smoke screen, said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson.

Candidates such as Judson “are being very careful to draw attention to their principles and commitments and letting the reader draw the conclusions that they will,” Jillson said. “They’re not talking about Joe Straus’ Jewish religious commitments. They know that’s out there. So people are going to make the comparison.”

Then there’s Ted Cruz talking about chutzpah being a ‘New York’ word. It’s not a New York word, it’s a Yiddish word (Yiddish is a Jewish creole), which is to say, a Jewish word. That’s a dog whistle.

And if you don’t believe me, then how about a former Republican House Speaker?

But the story got a little more fraught when it turned out that Manzullo once said Cantor would not be “saved” because he is Jewish.

Today, Cantor, the only Jewish House Republican, nearly affirmed that this was the reason he fought against Manzullo’s re-election, insinuating that anti-Semitism — and racism — are lingering problems among the House GOP generally. He speaking at a breakfast event organized by Politico.

Calling it the “darker side,” Cantor responded to Politico’s Mike Allen’s question of whether there is anti-semitism in Congress by trying to avoid commenting. But eventually he let up: “I think that all of us know that in this country, we’ve not always gotten it right in terms of racial matters, religious matters, whatever. We continue to strive to provide equal treatment to everybody.”

We’re talking about the House Republican Caucus, not America,” Allen pushed.

Cantor then sat in silence, grimmacing for several seconds

More heartwarming examples here. But don’t you worry, come the general election, there will be lots of #Slatepitches arguing that the Republicans are about to have massive gains among Jews any day now…

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