The good news is that people in the mainstream media are actually paying attention to our community’s interests early in the presidential campaign game. The bad news it that the mainstream media just doesn’t do “nuance” so well.
Case in point: yesterday, the OU/IPA was called upon by a new inside-the-beltway publication for political junkies, The Politico, to comment upon the fact that Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, a Republican candidate for President, vetoed a state budget provision in 2003 which would have had the Bay State subsidize the provision of kosher meals to elderly Jews in nursing homes.
While the reporter accurately quoted our “disappointment” over this veto and our recognition that Gov. Romney, a member of a minority faith community, has an “appreciation for religious freedom” and even our hope to “work with him in the future” the paper nonetheless slapped a “Romney’s Veto Could Hurt Him with Jewish Voters” headline above the piece.
Careful nuance does not sell newspapers or make for zippy campaign statements an opponent can use in speeches or, as the article highlights, in the contest for financial contributions — which is the main preoccupation of all would-be presidents at the moment.
Too bad. As it stands, the story says far too much at this early stage of a presidential campaign.
Not to minimize the particular issue of the kosher food subsidy — which was later enacted with Gov. Romney’s assent — or the significance of kashrus as a key issue for Orthodox Jews in itself and as a paradigm for religious liberties we enjoy in this country, it is but one of many issues of concern to Orthodox Jewish voters; and where Mitt Romney and other candidates come down on a range of critical issues will ultimately determine which of them earns the bulk of our community’s support.
With regard to Gov. Romney in particular, Orthodox Jews should read about his recent speech delivered in Israel with regard to the threat from Iran and other initiatives he has undertaken in support of Israel.
It is just far too early for it to be said that the Orthodox Jewish community will support one candidate or another or one party or another in the wide-open presidential contest of 2008.
Ah well, at least people are paying attention to our community’s interests this early in the game.