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Jewish World Review Oct. 6, 2000/ 7 Tishrei, 5761


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It's debatable -- IT'S PLEASING to see that Joe Lieberman is receiving his overdue backlash. There wasAndrew Sullivan, again in The New Republic, calling Joey "the ideological Gumby of American politics." William Bennett, in the Sept. 22 Wall Street Journal, was far more harsh in criticizing the man who was once his partner in demonizing-stupidly, I think-the entertainment czars for debasing society with the films, music and advertisements they produce. Bennett wrote: "When the campaign began, I hoped that a kind of tropism would occur. In terms of political integrity and character, I had hoped that Al Gore would become more like my friend Joe Lieberman. Instead, it appears Joe Lieberman has become more, much more, like Al Gore. And for those of us who know and have admired Joe Lieberman, that is a sad thing to behold."

And from the opposite side of the spectrum, filmmaker Spike Lee made a comment about Gore's runningmate in the October issue of George-which few people saw, but that was reprinted in Sunday's "Page Six" in the New York Post-that speaks to a serious concern of Gore's: low turnout. The fabulously articulate Lee said: "Why should blacks be excited? Just because this guy's an Orthodox Jew doesn't mean nothing. Black people see Jewish people as white people anyway. This whole Jewish thing is not the point. The guy's a conservative."

Binyamin L. Jolkovsky, publisher of, is outraged that Lieberman said he wanted to meet with Louis Farrakhan, and expresses his disappointment with the Connecticut senator's campaign in a Sept. 29 posting on his website.

He writes: "Sadly, this is a case of a decent man becoming so consumed with the quest of power-or with the dream of making history-that he has become in many ways a different-almost unrecognizably different-person. Until recently, many of us awaited the senator's comments on issues of public policy and morality with keen anticipation. These days, by contrast, we prepare for the worst nearly every time he speaks. Is it time for a Jew to hold the office of vice president? Certainly. But by our lights, it should not be the senator from Connecticut. America, and particularly Jewry, deserve better."

Further piling on, both The New York Times and Boston Globe have editorialized that Lieberman should abandon his twin-run for senator and vice-president. The papers cite a lot of mumbo jumbo about democracy not being served, but their agenda is clear: if, God forbid, Gore wins, the Republican governor of Connecticut, John Rowland, will choose Lieberman's successor. And if the Senate makeup is close, that certain GOP successor from Lieberman's state might tip the balance in the Republicans' favor. Lieberman then will start his term as Gore's understudy as a pariah in the Senate.

And, if anyone doubts that the 2000 presidential election is one that will be studied for years to come-as significant as the JFK-Nixon battle that essentially introduced tv into politics-just take a look at the "mole" story that has journalists scratching their chins. Bush's media adviser, Mark McKinnon, the former Democrat who once worked with James Carville and against his current boss, Karl Rove, in an '86 gubernatorial election in Texas, was quoted in the Times on Sunday saying he feels like he's "in the middle of a Kafka novel." More like a Paul Begala novel is my guess, but in any case his story about the debate prep tape sent to Tom Downey is pretty fishy.

It's hard to tell what the fallout will be for Bush if McKinnon is fingered by the FBI before the election. Voters might be uncomfortable, thinking that if the Governor couldn't detect a traitor in his campaign, what does that say about his potential administration? On the other hand, if Democrats are implicated, after eight years of Clinton-Gore the desire to clean house would probably trump all.

That's why I say: All Roads Lead to Tony Coelho.

JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2000, Russ Smith