I sought out Vilsack because, of all the candidates so far, he had a detailed plan for achieving energy security -- he had made it the cornerstone of his campaign.
Will Jewish Democrats line up behind Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), now that the veteran lawmaker's campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination has been resurrected by Monday's blowout victory in the Iowa caucuses?
Perhaps, but Kerry would be wise not to start sending out the thank-you letters. By all accounts, Jews are doing what they usually do in primary battles: covering most of the mainstream political bases and in the process making sure the community is well represented in every campaign.
In the middle of a rowdy rendition of "I Have a Little Dreidel" at the Sobelson family Chanukah party in Concord, N.H., Howard Dean walked in and declared himself the cantor.
The Democratic presidential candidate recited the blessings over the candles in near-perfect Hebrew in a dining room crowded with campaign staffers.
"It's another Jewish miracle," Carol Sobelson exclaimed
What a difference two and a half years make. When Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore selected Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate in 2000, there was a surge of Jewish pride and support. Now that Lieberman has announced his own candidacy in the 2004 presidential race, there's a surge of Jewish doubt and ambivalence. Why?
The objections to the Lieberman candidacy reveal a nice mix of Jewish fears and neuroses. However, they don't withstand serious scrutiny.
A Jewish president would provoke anti-Semitism. Actually, one of the most heartening aspects of the 2000 election was precisely that having a Jew on a major party ticket for the first time was a big yawn among non-Jews. We braced ourselves for the backlash -- andÂ nothing.
First it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Next it was Gen. Wesley Clark, the supreme allied commander of NATO during the war in Kosovo. Now it's Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry whose Jewish roots are being reported.
Kerry? The Massachusetts senator, the quintessential WASP-y looking politician with an Irish-sounding name?
Two of Kerry's grandparents were Jewish, it turns out.