A former Republican PR person named Lisa Baron who once worked for Ralph Reed has written a lascivious memoir that has the word “tart” on the cover along with a sexy photo and includes an anecdote about fellating Ari Fleischer. Michelle Goldberg has reviewed the book at Daily Beast (link above), and she does a truly wonderful thing: she calls the author to find out what she was even doing in Republican circles.
Finishing the book, I still wasn’t sure exactly why Baron was a Republican at all. She doesn’t seem to have much ideological ardor, writing at one point, “It always struck me as bizarre that people would ever choose to show up for a political rally.”
Her real passion is for cocktails and designer clothes… When she does express political preferences, they’re strictly self-serving. “Right or wrong, I knew that it would be near impossible for Roe v. Wade to be overturned,” she writes….
Thinking there must have been something deeper at work, I spoke to Baron by phone in Atlanta, where she now lives and works as a freelance writer. It turns out that besides money, she also cares about Israel—or, more specifically, the Israeli right. “Evangelicals believe strongly in the state of Israel, and I can’t say that for all Democrats,” she says. “That’s a very, very big issue for me. I vote primarily on that issue.”
One doesn’t see this side of her in the book, which is unfortunate, since it would illuminate the perversity of the Zionist alliance between hawkish Jews and the Christian right.
This is important. It reveals how far some American Jews will go for Israel, and then hide their motivation in public statements. And not just on the right. If Michelle Goldberg only extended the analysis, she would tell you how far many Democratic Jews would go for Israel too. Michelle knows!
This is an interrogation devoutly to be wished. My friend Max Ajl is criticizing me for being a cultural essentialist. And yes, I think religious and cultural affinity are more important in human affairs– sometimes anyway– than economic class affinity. Call Baron a nitwit, sure, but I believe that even some Jews of Noam Chomsky’s intelligence have a core attachment to the idea that a Jewish state is necessary because of anti-Semitism in the west, tribal politics. (Scratching an itch, I have always wondered this about Joe Conason, for instance, how core is his attachment to Israel, and if the Democratic Party walked away from Israel, what would he do…) This is the conversation I want to have in Jewish life: Why did you renounce liberalism?