I suppose there are a lot of ways to look at something like this:
Clinton’s campaign this week dispatched Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee and an Orthodox Jew, to South Florida, where he wooed fellow Orthodox Jews, among others.
Lieberman told me that he sensed the community there – including the Orthodox Jews he met – were moving Clinton’s way.
The last time I paid any attention to Joe Lieberman was two summers ago when he was doing everything in his power to sabotage the nuclear agreement with Iran. Of course, I noticed that he endorsed John McCain in 2008. I noticed when he single-handedly spiked a Medicare expansion in the Affordable Care Act for seemingly no deeper reason than that he heard Anthony Weiner advocating for it. In the end, it seemed like Democrats purged Joe Lieberman from their system and the feeling wound up being mutual.
But Joe Lieberman can’t abide the idea of Donald Trump as president. If you want to take a darker view, he seems to be reconciled to another President Clinton.
And there’s probably a reason for that:
He won’t let me use his name – once he introduces himself, I realize I know him, by reputation — but he wants to give me the lowdown, “off the record,” of why no one will talk with me. I lower my notebook and he looks at me like I’m nuts.
“Write, write!” he says. He doesn’t mean off the record, he means “on background.”
“Call me an Orthodox [Jew] active in Republican politics.” Done.
“No one’s going to talk to you,” he explains. “You can’t be for Hillary in this community. But how can you be for Trump? What he said was disgusting.”
…Why can’t you be for Hillary in this community? I ask.
Democrats are hard work, he explains, and Clinton won’t be different from Obama: They come around to the right position on Israel, but it takes exhausting work behind the scenes.
“Four more years of that,” he says, not relishing the prospect.
The community in question here is in Miami Beach, where the Times of Israel reporter Ron Kampeas discovered that no Orthodox Jews wanted to speak to him about the election. Unlike in the overall Jewish population where Clinton has greater than 60% support, among the Orthodox she was barely cracking 20% in a September poll.
So, Joe Lieberman was dispatched down there to talk some sense into people, and the basic idea is that it might be hard work but the Democratic nominee is ultimately going to adopt policies vis-a-vis Israel that are acceptable.
But, then, Trump still has his supporters.
What about you? I ask Teresa, a 33-year-old stay-at-home mom. She who won’t give me her last name.
“I’m probably voting for Trump,” she says.
What’s appealing about him?
“My husband is voting for him.”
“He has some good points,” she says, pausing to think. “The wall – he wants to build a wall. He’s copying Israel.”
He’s copying Israel and he’s backed by every Nazi, Aryan Nation, and White Supremacist organization in the country.
Under the circumstances, I guess I welcome Joe Lieberman’s help.