I always got basically the same response — a cynical shrug that signaled the old Yiddish expression “Vat den?” (’twas ever thus).
But not last night. Almost uniformly the attendees to whom I asked this question responded differently. Yes, they said, things were changing. Their mishpocheh – in the smaller and larger senses — were listening to them, not getting angry or walking away. Sometimes they just remained silent, but it was a thoughtful, worried silence. From what I could tell at the Beverly Hilton last night, the polls showing Jews deserting Obama were evidently not entirely apocryphal.
Most surprising to me were some words I exchanged with Rep. Dan Lederman of the South Dakota House of Representatives. (I didn’t even know there were Jews in South Dakota.) Lederman told me of his recently making a speech strongly attacking Obama policies to an audience of seventy or so B’nai B’rith members in his neighboring Nebraska and not getting a peep of objection. This would have been unheard of a year ago. Cue Bob Dylan — or should I say Zimmerman — and change, change you, or at least I, can believe in.
So I went home last night with a partial sense of optimism. (Alas, the Lakers lost.) I had an autographed copy of Rove’s new book Courage and Consequence under my arm and cracked it open in order to distract myself from the Lakers defeat. So far it’s a riveting read — not what you would expect. More on that later. For now, watch for my interview with the political guru on PJTV.
Update: My interview with Rove is now online at PJTV; click here to watch.