In what has got to be a prizewinning display of that peculiar skill that consists of joining chutzpah with execrable taste, California's Henry Waxman, a leading liberal, blames the loss of one of the safest Democratic seats in Congress on rich Jews. The voters in New York's Ninth, which encompasses parts of Queens and Brooklyn, elected businessman Bob Turner to fill the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, who resigned because he was caught waving his member on YouTube, or something.
In the special election, the Democrats nominated David Weprin, a former NYC councilman who happens to be an Orthodox Jew and whose family has long been prominently involved in the politics of this district, which is about 25 percent Jewish and which has not elected a Republican to Congress since 1920. In a pre-emptive strike against the negative PR such a loss represents for his party and particularly its most liberal wing, Rep. Waxman told the Hill even before the votes were counted that rich Jews voted their pocketbooks, seeing as how Republicans are soft on the rich. It does not strike him, perhaps, that voters might not want to be represented by a party that embraces sex maniacs and that is perceived as down on Israel.
But anyway, why shouldn't the rich vote for their interests, up to and including for a party that promotes and protects wealth? Does Waxman, who is a rich freeloader off the American taxpayer, complain when union members vote their interests to protect their advantages over other workers, which include keeping those workers out of the labor market? And why should not a constituency that cares about American policy toward Israel not send a message to a party that is following its leader in what appears to be an anti-Israel direction?
Irving Kristol noted long ago that for all manners of historical and sentimental reasons, the Jews seem to be the only group -- if such they still are -- in America that votes against its own interests, and he reproached them for it. In a recent book Norman Podhoretz made the same case at somewhat greater length.
Rep. Waxman, who represents California's 30th Congressional District, which includes Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, and a few other proletarian neighborhoods, perhaps liked it that way because so long as Jews vote against their own best interests, they will elect the likes of Henry Waxman. Observe in passing, however, that his attitude is almost beyond caricature. He has no idea what level of prosperity the Jews of the 9th district have attained; the truth is that, economically, it remains one of the relatively mixed New York districts, with plenty of Jews -- and Chinese -- who earn a lot less than sanctimonious Congressmen.