Wow. I'm uncertain why this comment by Tommy Thompson is not getting more play in the press. I'll give you a highlight of his speech to an American Jewish organization:
"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."
"Thompson later apologized for the comments that had caused a stir in the audience, saying that he had meant it as a compliment, and had only wanted to highlight the "accomplishments" of the Jewish religion." When asked to clarify, Thompson just made it worse, calling us "outstanding business people."
Well, among the "accomplishments" of my religion, I am hard-pressed to find anything in the Torah about "earning money." I know it's an old stereotype, but it's just that: old. He ought to address Southern Baptists and evangelicals with that "compliment" seeing as how every sermon I see on TV is about "casting your bread upon the waters" and getting ten times the amount back. To my random experience, I would say that there are many other religious denominations focused on achieving wealth through religion, whereas I have never heard a single mention of it at any synagogue service I've ever attended.
But beyond the obvious fallacy of his statement, the real issue for me is that Tommy Thompson actually thought that he was offering a COMPLIMENT. That telling Jews how good he thinks we are with money is something we'd find him charming for saying. My Dad drove a school bus for a living. Plenty of Jewish people across the globe live in poverty. The fact that he equates Jewishness with mad business skills is not only ignorant and wrong, but it is incredibly offensive. I wonder if he also thinks telling African-Americans that they are "clean," and Chinese-Americans that they are good at math and violin are compliments...
I have never considered Tommy Thompson to be a credible candidate for POTUS, but this has certainly sealed the deal for me. He has a campaign organization that didn't think anything of his remarks and physically didn't barricade his access to the building to prevent him from delivering them. 'Nuff said.
Or, for a much funnier and in-depth look at the speech, here is Rosner's Blog: