When voters take to the special election polls in New York's ninth congressional district on Tuesday, they'll be deciding on a replacement for a Democrat who courted controversy in his last days in office. But analysts say the fact that a Republican is now favored to take over the spot has less to do with Anthony Weiner sending risqué pictures of himself on Twitter than it does with his party's--and President Barack Obama's--stance on Israel.
In the heavily Orthodox Jewish district that encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and Queens, "when it comes to Israel, any skilled politician knows that you tack hard right every time," wrote Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo. That's what Weiner did, and that's what his would-be Democratic replacement, David Weprin, himself an Orthodox Jew, is trying to do--distancing himself from Obama's address in May, in which he advocated a return to Israel's borders before the 1967 Six-Day War. "I think going back to pre-‘67 borders as a starting point is a mistake, it’s not a defensible point of view," Sarlin quoted Weprin's comments to reporters on Monday. "Israel right now from a security point of view doesn’t have a negotiating partner, certainly while the Palestinian Authority is affiliating with Hamas. I’ve been very vocal on that. I think my record on Israel is pretty solid."