Heard In The Bagel Store
By Larry Gordon
THE RACES ARE ON
With the arrival of Labor Day on Monday we mark the official beginning of the political or election season that will conclude with the November elections. This is considered an off year election primarily because it is not a presidential election year. Regardless there are a number of vital races taking place around the country and in particular in our neck of the woods here in New York.
And as usual, since likeminded people tend to vote in similar of not identical patterns, things are made somewhat easier for candidates as they appear before different social or ethnic groups focusing and emphasizing issues that are most important to them.
Now that we are six years deep into the Obama years in this country, if anything beneficial has emerged from this experience it is that we now have a more profound and better understanding about the contrasts between liberal Democrat and conservative Republican politics.
But don’t think you are getting away easy with an elementary explanation of these differences. That is because there also within those ranks conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans if for lack of anything less to confuse us just a bit more.
On the national scale what is most at stake is whether or not the Republicans can finally win control of the Senate while increasing their majority in the House of Representatives. Authoritative polls are suggesting that Republicans at this point have the edge which would most likely be a development that will harden Barrack Obama’s heart which will mean the continuation of Washington almost accomplishing nothing for the last two years remaining in the Obama presidency.
Here in Nassau County, the area with one of the largest Jewish populations in the country the race for a vacated seat in Congress can be considered a barometer by which to measure the outlook and attitude of the country as a whole. The Jewish vote out here has the ability to be a determining factor in the Congressional election between former Nassau County Legislative Speaker, Bruce Blakeman and District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Both are formidable and impressive candidates and officials in both camps acknowledge that the race will be close and that it will be won or lost based on the votes that are cast in the heavily Jewish 5 Towns area of the district. Indicative of this reality is that Ms. Rice recently returned from a three day visit to Israel and Mr. Blakeman is there this week meeting with Israeli officials as well as district residents who now live either full or part time in Israel.
It is interesting how a swing through Israel is no longer just a photographic opportunity for a candidate but actually can be considered to some extent to be a campaign stop. This is particularly true during these last eight weeks as Israel is in the midst of an all-out terrorist assault targeting civilians in their communities with almost no part of Israel immune from the onslaught.
On the Rice trip of a few weeks ago she met with some officials including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat but in discussing her impressions about the jaunt she said what impressed her most were the residents pf her district here on Long Island who either rreside or whose children reside in Israel and whom she had a chance to meet and talk with.
Rice, the Democrat in the race is currently considered the frontrunner in what by all accounts will be a close race. In our talk a few weeks ago as the war in Gaza was just revving up she was emphatic about her position on Israel’s right to defend herself against Hamas or for that matter any force seeking to harm her citizens. Rice is a friend and admirer of Hilary Clinton and is excited about the former First Lady’s prospects at being President come 2016. She did not want to talks about President Obama as she wanted our chat to focus strictly on her impressions of Israel.
With the candidacy of Mr. Blakeman there are a whole set of other matters to consider. The first is his uncompromised position on Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat. Blakeman speaks openly and unhesitatingly about tightening sanction on the Iran regime and if that doesn’t force them to abandon nuclear weapon production he advocates that the US militarily destroy their atomic bomb manufacturing facilities. And Blakeman says without hesitating that the US does not have to do this just to protect Israel, but that it is in the direct US national interest that Iran not have nuclear capabilities. More in this week’s 5TJT