President George W. Bush at the guesthouse of the Federal Republic, the Meseberg Palace, in Meseberg, Germany, June 11, 2008.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The company they keep

Updated
Next week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Florida Family Policy Council’s 8th Annual Policy Awards Dinner. That wouldn’t be especially noteworthy were it not for the fact that the FFPC is a right-wing anti-gay group – and not the sort of folks U.S. senators and likely presidential candidates hang around with.
 
But Rubio isn’t the only one making dubious public appearances alongside extremists. Sarah Posner reported yesterday on an upcoming speech from a recent former president.
Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.
 
Messianic Jews have long been controversial for Jews of all major denominations, who object to their proselytizing efforts and their message that salvation by Jesus is consistent with Jewish theology. Last year, Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, told Politico that former Sen. Rick Santorum’s appearance at an event hosted by another Messianic Jewish organization, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, was “insensitive and offensive.” And Commentary magazine, which bills itself as a “conservative American journal of politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues,” noted, “it must be understood that the visceral distaste that the overwhelming majority of Jews have for the Messianics is not to be taken lightly.”
While the former Republican president is scheduled to be this year’s keynote speaker, the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute’s event last year was headlined by Glenn Beck.
 
Posner’s report added that the most generous donors at the event can purchase invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush. How nice.
 
I just can’t think of a comparable situation on the other side of the aisle. Between Rubio’s anti-gay friends in Florida and Bush’s Messianic allies in Texas, there just doesn’t seem to be a counterweight in progressive politics.
 

George W. Bush and Marco Rubio

The company they keep

Updated