Senator McCain and the Jewish vote
But while Jewish Democrats have good reason to be worried about Senator McCain, they also have strong ammunition to launch against him. He fervently supported the Iraq war, and takes a hard line on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Most Jewish voters strongly oppose the Iraq war and certainly do not want one with Iran. While the Democrats have said they would bring troops home within a hundred days of election to the White House, Senator McCain has said he could envisage being there for a hundred years. He is also said to be cool on President Bush’s Middle East peace initiative, while most American Jews would like to see a very active American participation.
Many Jews will also be concerned by his promise to use Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito as his models for appointing ‘strict interpretation’ judges to federal bench. This could have considerable impact on a range of issues most Jewish voters care about, including church-state separation, abortion and civil liberties.
While many conservative Republicans will have no problem with his positions on guns, gays and God, most Jews will. He is against gun control, opposes same-sex marriage, and has said ‘the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation’.
And it may come to pass that Senator McCain may choose former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as his candidate for vice president. This would make sense, not only for his relative youth, but also because his greatest strength and Senator McCain's greatest weakness is among Bible-Belt conservatives. The former Baptist preacher has said he does not believe in evolution and would like to change the Constitution to reflect God's law. This must be preferable to a Mormon running-mate in Mitt Romney who believes Jesus visited America, or the thrice-married Roman Catholic Rudi Giuliani who supports abortion and favours gay marriage. Picking Mr Huckabee would give Senator McCain a major boost from the ‘Religious Right’ but could cost him dearly among Jews.
Who said religion and politics do not mix?