As a veteran syndicated talk show host, Michael Medved has no illusions that enough fellow Seattle-area Jews can be persuaded to reject President Obama to swing Washington State for Republican Mitt Romney.
Instead, in a Republican Jewish Coalition fundraiser that drew about 70 supporters at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island, he appealed for volunteers to help staff GOP phone banks targeting voters in swing states, in particular Ohio and Florida.
“If you know anybody who is undecided or even just open to considering [Romney] in those states … friends, family, anyone who might have even the slightest doubt or may be the slightest bit open-minded … give them a call,” Medved added.
He was introduced by Dan Sytman, a former talk show host and producer, who conceded, “I know a lot of people here are discouraged because Washington is a very blue state.”
Sytman produced Medved’s show for seven years, and is currently state attorney general Rob McKenna’s deputy director of communications.
Medved stumped for McKenna, who is running for governor, during the hour-and-a-half fundraiser on Sept. 13.
McKenna’s opponent for governor, Congressman Jay Inslee, has been “one of the least supportive white members of Congress” on Israel, albeit less hostile than members of the Black Congressional Caucus, Medved said.
Medved, 63, was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Southern California, earned a bachelor’s degree with an American history major at Yale University, and for a year was a law school classmate of Bill and Hillary Clinton at Yale. He dropped out to work in politics, initially for liberal Democrats, then went on to write 11 books, a number of movie and TV screenplays and scores of movie reviews.
Following a political turn to the right, his Hollywood work led to an interview with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and eventually an invitation to host his own three-hour daily show in Seattle. The Michael Medved Show airs on 200 stations and according to industry estimates is heard by more than 4.5 million people nationwide.
During the fundraiser he promoted, sold and signed copies of three of his most recent books — “The 5 Big Lies About American Business,” “The 10 Big Lies About America,” and “Right Turns,” which describes his switch from liberal to conservative after six weeks as an aide to Congressman Ron Dellums in the early 1970s.
Romney is an especially good fit for American Jews because of his Mormon religion and his support for Israel – “the central issue for most Jewish people” — and for the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Medved said.
“He really does, in his daily life, live by Torah values,” he said.
“Mormons have been Zionists from the beginning,” he said. “Mormons teach love for the Jewish people.”
To support Obama’s Israel policies and his refusal to set a deadline for Iran to renounce and cease efforts that could lead to a nuclear capability, Medved said, “you have to believe that the American State Department knows better what is best for Israel than the overwhelming majority of Israelis.”
Moreover, electing Romney would match a long-term trend in which “Israel has moved decisively to the right” politically and economically, he said.
Economically, that shift has boosted Israel’s economy while the U.S. remains in the doldrums, he asserted.
In response to a question about ways to convince more Jews to vote for Romney, Medved suggested asking, “Do you really want a president who is anti-business?”
He did say Romney was initially slow to produce a coherent domestic policy package, producing a 59-point plan and only later consolidating it to five points.
“Nobody reads a 59-point plan,” Medved said. “The message has to be crystal clear.”
He dismissed the notion that Jews should stick with the Democrats because of the growing involvement and influence of evangelical Christians in the Republican Party during the past three decades.
Today’s evangelicals are far more likely to support Israel than to proselytize Jews and are much less prone to advocating or supporting anti-Semitism, he said.