By: Commentator Staff  | 

Commies at the RNC (Vol. 70, Issue 2)

During the Republican National Convention, The Commentator caught up with a number of influential radio personalities Jewish and non-Jewish. Below is a wrap-up of their advice to Yeshiva students for the upcoming November presidential election.


Al Franken, Saturday Night Live alumnus and now radio host on the new liberal station Air America. He is also the author of a number of books including "Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them."

"Vote Democrat. Just vote Democrat. My father voted Republican. I know Jews think they need to vote Republican. But vote Democrat. The Democratic party has been consistent on civil right and civil liberties. Once you take away one group's rights, you take away everyone's. Israel policy is not going to change. Harry Truman, a Democrat, was the first to recognize the State of Israel. It's not the issue."

Dennis Prager, syndicated talk show host and influential author, lecturer, and thinker.

"If they think Americanly, they will vote for George Bush. If they think Jewishly, they will vote for George Bush. If they think morally, they will vote for George Bush. If they think Israel-wise, the will vote for George Bush. There are no criteria, I believe, why a young Jew would not realize that we have a better world with a man who answers to God, the same God we worship, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is where he gets his ethics from, and not from the UN. To me that is clear as day."

Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International Affairs and Communal Relations for the Orthodox Union's Institute for Public Affairs (IPA).

"Check the issues, where you stand, and ask the candidates where do they stand? Where do they stand on foreign aid to Israel? Where do they stand on the United Nations International Court of Justice? Make the candidates accountable and find out how they vote. To any Orthodox Jewish person who is trying to make up their mind, they have to assess all the candidate's issues, and use your mind and your heart to decide issues for yourselves. It would be great for Yeshiva and other Orthodox institutions to debate the issues, to show that we are interested in the issues because somebody is going to be elected, whose salary we, the taxpayers pay. Jews should show that we are committed to the issues being debated."

Barry Casselman, has written for the Utne Reader, Rothenberg Poltical Report, Weekly Standard, Campaigns & Elections Magazine, and The Washington Times, for which he currently writes a weekly column.

"As in all our national elections, strong emotions arise when it comes time to choose a president and the legislative branch of our government. The campaign this year has already been filled with intense feelings, opinions, allegations, criticisms and promises by the candidates, their campaigns, their political parties and the news media. I am reluctant to presume to give any advice to anyone, including Jewish college students, this year (or any year), but I would like to share some insight gained over 30 years of reporting on and analyzing presidential elections.

"My first presidential election as a college student was my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. It was exciting at the time --- but we could not know how indelibly it would become part of American political history because of the candidates, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon; the first TV debates ever; the first Catholic candidacy for president; and the subsequent events involving Kennedy and Nixon in American political history.

Between then and now, I have come to know that behind every candidate, every stated issue, every political slogan and ad, there are complicated matters at stake, most of which are submerged in the heat and rhetoric of the political battle. I cannot think of any election since when this was more true than in 2004. World forces are going through a profound transformation, the domestic economy is going through a serious evolution, and politics in America is facing dramatic challenges. The Jewish college student is really like most other college students, but does bring a unique history to his or her deliberations. So do students who are Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or any other faith. The key is to employ this background toward understanding the critical issues facing the nation. Some will conclude that abortion, guns, deficits, social tolerance, and taxes are those critical issues. Others may consider the War on Terror, Israel, and national defense to be the primary issues. Still others will consider larger issues.

"The Jewish college student has an extraordinary history (including the amazing and positive American Jewish experience) from which to draw conclusions and with which to make good choices. I hope this will be the standard this year."