Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Righting the Edwards Ship

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) is a solid progressive representative, whom I've been a fan of for awhile. I tend to like vibrant progressive activists who knock off corrupt incumbents (as Edwards did in 2008 in taking out Rep. Albert Wynn). But this Politico story says that she's facing some grumbles from Jewish constituents due to her stance on Israel. Edwards' district is majority Black but has a vocal Jewish minority.

From the Politico piece, however, it looks as if Edwards' sins (such as they are) are more of the communicative than substantive variety. For better or for worse, there is a template in Washington that establishes one as "pro-Israel". I don't think our Congresscritters are obliged to follow it -- indeed, I think it could stand to be shaken up a bit. But taking on that project makes it more incumbent, not less, on you to be in close contact with the Jewish community so they know what's going on and are assured they don't have a Cynthia McKinney on their hands. This, more than any particular vote or stance, seems to be where Edwards is falling short right now.

That being said, I don't think it should be too difficult for Rep. Edwards to right ship. Just do a little more to listen to Jewish leaders and meet with their representatives -- show that the positions you're taking stem from an honest desire to bring about peace and security to Israel and Palestine. In all relationships, communication is key.

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