Wednesday, February 16, 2005

More on hate group attack on Democrats

Following up on the previous post...

Here are the three quotes that accompany this hate filled advertisement:

"Howard Dean's statements break a 50-year record in which presidents, Republican and Democrats, members of Congress of both parties have supported our relationship with Israel based on shared values." -- Senator Joseph Lieberman, A.P., 9/10/03

"It is unacceptable for the U.S. to be 'evenhanded' on these fundamental issues" -- Letter to Howard Dean from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and more than two dozen Democratic members of Congress. A.P., 9/10/03

With Dean as chairman "a lot of mainstream, middle-of-the-road, centrist Jewish Democrats would be very turned off and concerned and would be left wondering whether they have a home in the Democratic Party" -- Jay Footlik, John Kerry's campaign liaison to the Jewish community. Forward, 1/28/05

The links on Lieberman and Pelosi will take you to their official home pages. Use them to send requests to them that they condemn this ad. Lieberman and Pelosi's comments are old hat and really had more to do with Dean's inadvertent use of a hot button phrase in Middle East diplomacy more than any accusation that Dean was sympathetic to suicide bombers. I would hope that they both would be outraged that this hate group would choose to use their comments out of context to paint Democrats as being just that.

Furthermore, Lieberman was a rival of Dean's for the nomination and Pelosi was a supporter of Gephardt's bid at the time of these quotes.

Jay Footlik is a different case. I've never heard of the guy before. Perhaps he is more well known within the Jewish community. The link above will take you to his bio page at the Harry Walker Agency (a lecture circuit booker). Here's a Google search for "Jay Footlik". If anyone has contact information for him please let me know.

Footlik's comment is of a much more recent vintage. The Forward article the quote comes from is here. However, that link requires a subscription. Fortunately, I found that a copy of the article through the Google cache here (not sure how long it will last). The focus of the article is the worry among some Jewish Democrats that Dean's ascendancy would hurt the party with Israel backers. Here's the relevant paragraph:

Once again, Dean's critics tend to come from the centrist, Bill Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, many boasting ties to Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. Once again, those critics are trying to torpedo Dean's candidacy by highlighting some comments that Dean made during the primaries about Israel and national security — such as a statement about how "we ought not to take sides" in Middle East peace negotiations — that Dean spent much time and money repudiating. Once again, the critics are warning darkly that if Dean were to succeed, "a lot of mainstream, middle of the road, centrist Jewish Democrats would be very turned off and concerned and would be left wondering whether they have a home in the Democratic Party," in the words of Jay Footlik, who served as Lieberman's and then John Kerry's campaign liaison to the Jewish community.

The article also quotes a supporter of Simon Rosenberg's bid saying, "The prospect of Howard Dean's chairmanship must have folks at the Republican Jewish Coalition licking their chops ..."  It looks like he was right.

The question is whether Democrats who opposed Dean's bid, such as Footlik, will allow their opposition to be used to paint all Democrats as being sympathetic to suicide bombers. Will they unite behind their party's chairman in the face of an attack that is against all Democrats or will they undermine their own party for the opportunity to sit back and say, "I told you so"?

BTW, I think Dean should take this situation as an opportunity to do some outreach with these Jewish Democrats who are "left wondering whether they have a home in the Democratic Party". As long as they are willing to meet him halfway and condemn this ad.

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