Blogging for U.S. News & World Report, Paul Bedard reported a double standard in how President Obama and President Bush were treated (or ridiculed) when each wished Jews a Happy New Year a little early, or in Obama's case, a month early:
Washington Jewish Week and Politico tell us that Obama today reached out to about 1,000 Jewish leaders in his expanding campaign for health care reform. One of those on the call, Rabbi Jack Moline, tweeted through the call about what the president said. His Twitter page noted: Obama: "shanah tovah to all of you."
That's a reference to the Jewish new year, or Rosh Hashana, which starts at sundown September 18. It means "Have a sweet new year." An associate said that the president was just being polite with the rabbis, and spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Obama was invited by the rabbis to join in on the call "as they get ready for their important holidays."
But in September 2007, when Bush issued a holiday greeting a week early, he was roundly ridiculed for jumping the gun. The Washington Post said that there was "quizzical reaction" from even Bush's friends.
A former Bushie who remembered the spat said: "Strange. When GWB sent out Rosh Hashana greetings a few days early, he was mocked. Obama is an entire month too early, and no big whoop."
For the record, Bush's was an official statement, while Obama's appears to have been a verbal nicety.
Over at The Corner, Tevi Troy, a Jewish liaison for President Bush, notes another thing the Bush-loathing media would have never ignored if it occurred in his time: "the hold music on the line, through no apparent fault of the White House or the Religious Action Center [of Reform Judaism], which sponsored the call, was 'Deutschland Über Alles.' A number of rabbis apparently expressed discomfort with this choice of music as well."