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October 10, 2003 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-10

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"who know Arnold, and he will be
reaching out to the Jewish community
fairly quickly."
Bialosky and Sloan were certain there
were enough high-level Jewish
Republicans in Los Angeles and other
parts of the state that Jewish concerns
would be heeded in the new administra-
tion. Urban analyst Joel Kotkin dis-
agreed, saying he foresaw a "pretty heavy
gentile administration" with a concomi-
tant loss of Jewish clout.
Experts said they doubted
Schwarzenegger's victory would do
much to strengthen Republicans nation-
ally. But "it's a big morale booster for
the beleaguered White House," said
political scientist Raphael Sonenshein,
of California State University in
The Republican victory could also
end up energizing Democrats,
Sonenshein said, because the Davis
recall has "enraged thousands of Jewish
and other Democrats, who will redou-
ble their efforts to beat Bush at the
next election."
Sonenshein predicted that the 2004
national election "will be the closest to a
civil war we've had since the Civil War."
- The president of the Jewish
Federation of Greater Los Angeles, John
Fishel, said a Schwarzenegger adminis-
tration's real impact on California Jewish
communities might be in economic
terms, especially if deep budget cuts
lower state support for Jewish and other
social welfare agencies.
Jewish voters apparently were little
influenced by charges that the Austrian-
born Schwarzenegger, whose estranged
father joined the Nazi Party during
World War II, harbored admiration for
Hitler when he was younger.
Schwarzenegger repeatedly has dis-
avowed any support for his father's
political views. Over the weekend,
Schwarzenegger's campaign released a
transcript of an interview 25 years ago
in which the actor said, "In many ways
I admired people — It depends for
what. I admired Hitler, for instance,
because he came from being a little
man with almost no formal education,
up to power. And I admire him for
being such a good public speaker and
for his way of getting to the people and
so on. But I didn't admire him for what
he did with it."



The governor-elect has long supported
the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its
Museum of Tolerance, both as a donor
and as a speaker on behalf of tolerance.
"Arnold has been our No. 1 supporter

in the entertainment
industry, and he is
certainly an anti-
Nazi," said Rabbi
Abraham Cooper,
the center's associate
On election night,
Rabbi Cooper
agreed to join the tran-
sition team managing the changeover
from Davis to Schwarzenegger.
Analyst Kotkin, who said Jewish
influence in Sacramento would wane as
a result of the Schwarzenegger victory,
put most of the blame for the change on
Jewish leaders who, he said, "had
ignored their own tradition by making
comfortable deals with Davis, an amoral
politician who debased the political cul-
ture of California."
Kotkin said that if the Democratic
establishment had not pressured top-
ranking Democrats to stay out of the
recall race to keep support for Davis
strong, stronger candidates like Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, who is Jewish, "would
have creamed Schwarzenegger."
Kotkin estimated that 30 percent of
Jewish voters cast their ballots for
Schwarzenegger, an unusually high fig-
ure for a Republican in California.
As euphoria spread among C 1 ifornia
Republicans after Tuesday's election,
Jewish Democrats sought whatever silver
lining they could find in the news about
the new governor.
Howard Welinsky, chairman of
Democrats for Israel, said that while
Schwarzenegger's agenda was unknown,
the Jewish community had had excellent
relations with the state's previous
Republican governor, Pete Wilson, who
served as Schwarzenegger's chief adviser.
Daniel Sokatch, executive director of
the Progressive Jewish Alliance, hoped
the election results would fire up liber-
als. He noted that other elected state
offices, the legislature, and the House
and Senate delegations still have
Democratic majorities.
Jewish Democrats could find some
modest consolation in the overwhelm-
ing defeat of Proposition 54, which was
opposed by almost all Jewish organiza-
tions: The measure would have stopped
the state from collecting and using most
racial and ethnic data.
Opponents feared that passage of the
proposition would have hampered
efforts to stop racial profiling and
encourage affirmative action.
But, as John Pitney, professor of gov-
ernment at Claremont McKenna
College, observed, even this victory
"was a small wisp of balm on a large

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