You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Vote Levinson
JNN journalist Anderson Cooperstein reports from Mineola:
With only a few weeks to go until the 2005 election, hopefuls for public office are suddenly whipping out the gefilte fish, sporting yarmulkes, and quoting Tuesdays with Morrie in order to capture the critical Jewish vote, which makes up a minute .019% of the country's population. Political analysts report that securing the Jewish vote has historically cleared the path to the White House, or at least to some good whitefish. And now, candidates for office in Nassau County and Hempstead Town are courting the ever-elusive Jewish voter.
"The Jewish vote has always been an important concern to our campaign," said Tom Suozzi, as he tied tzitzit fringes to the front of his pants. "If we can capture just .00232% of the Jewish vote, our road to keep the County Seat, bezras Hashem, will be a lot easier."
Kate Murray’s Jewish campaign strategists, collectively known as “The Kosher Kommitteemen,” concur. Kate and her team have made it a point to only drink Maneshevitz, order stale egg kichel from the Coliseum Deli, and listen to Adam Sandler CDs ever since the race for Town of Hempstead Supervisor began. "Kate’s campaign has always been about acceptance of different cultures," said a top campaign aide, Joe “Yitzi” Mondellowitz, who knows the importance of the Jewish electorate, having read The Protocols of Zion. "The book really changed my view of politics, and really of everything. I had everyone on our staff read it."
Kate Murray’s campaign has also has been deeply focused on appealing to voters with Jewish roots. "We may not agree on Middle East policies," said Murray, in response to criticism of her Public Policy Review mailing and the Sabbath vote in Sanitary District 2, "but I sure know we agree on having all Jewish Holidays off!"
Greg Peterson’s campaign advisor, Arye D’Amatofsky, says that having a serious presence in the county’s Jewish community is integral to winning the election for County Executive. D’Amatofsky has been trying for months to post Peterson's presence on popular Jewish websites such as shiksas.com and the Stern college favorite, onlysimchas.com. "When we couldn't get my cousin (twice removed), Al D’Amato’s, wedding posted on that site, it was a real setback. So we did the next best thing - we crashed a wedding and made sure Greg and Al got in a few action photos with the bride." Peterson intends to show the photo album at his visits to local Senior Centers and Assisted Living facilities, where he will tout his campaign pledge to Ensure Nassau’s Future. “The bubbes all love Greg,” concluded D’Amatofsky. “They’re old, he’s old. They can’t remember the Gulotta years, and that’s just the way Greg likes it!”
But not everyone is agreeing with the Hug-A-Jew strategy. Harvey Levinson, one of only two authentically Jewish candidates vying for top spots on the ticket (Levinson is running for Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, while Howard Weitzman seeks to retain his position as County Comptroller), has taken a drastically different approach. "I had a real problem capturing my own faith's constituents." Declared Levinson, "No one wants to see a Jew in power, because if something goes wrong, guess who gets blamed? That’s right, blame Harvey Levinson. Blame the Jews!”
Levinson’s staff has been working tirelessly to come up with a way to attract the resistant Jewish vote. Late last week, they came up with a solution: Levinson would convert to Catholicism. "It was a tough decision,” commented Levinson, “but that's what this campaign and being Town Supervisor is all about." When questioned about the insincerity of his decision, Levinson quipped, "If Madeline Albright can do it, then so can I." Early Sunday morning, before giving a speech to Irish Town workers (all, mysteriously, named Murray), Levinson was baptized at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion RC Church & Cola, and almost immediately the Marist poll indicated his popularity among Jewish voters had nearly quadrupled. Said Levinson, "Ultimately, it was the right decision, praise Yushka."
Comptroller Howard Weitzman hopes to have the same success with his upcoming glitzy Democratic Jewish Singles events. His "Bowling and Sushi Night" and "J2 Saturday Night Gala" have been critically acclaimed among political analysts.
As for Weitzman’s opponent, Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes, Don Clavin, he could not be reached for comment. According to a campaign staffer, Clavin had just left for temple, luluv and esrog in hand, and would later be joining his Rabbi, Joe Ramban, for a Sukkot dinner.
In local races, Jeffrey Katz, who is looking to take a seat away from the Dems in the Nassau County Legislature, claims that he is the only Jew with credentials. “I have the OU (Orthodox Union) seal of approval,” says Katz, proudly. “And I’ve covered all the bases. I was a Democrat, now I’m a Republican. And I’m surrounded by Jewish voters. What could be better?” Asked about the paradox of his switch to the GOP, Katz explains. “Don’t ask. I got the calling. Actually, it was Peter Schmitt riding around in the Mitzvah Mobile shouting over a megaphone, ‘Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Republican party.’”
Katz was queried as to whether there was any confusion in his mind given his sudden flip in party affiliation. “Confused? Farmished is more like it. I’m endorsed by the Liberal Party AND the Conservative Party. Kinda like getting the nod of the Right to Lifers after being named NOW’s Person of the Year. I say crime is on the rise, when even Denis Dillon, the Republican DA, says crime has dropped dramatically. Hey, don’t ask me. All I know is, in local politics, as concerns the Jewish vote, its not property taxes, special districts, or patronage that matter. Its Israel, the West Bank, and the Palestinian question.”
Meanwhile, back in the Town Supervisor’s office, Kate Murray, the only single candidate, has put up a profile on all Jewish dating websites, such as Jdate.com. "I've been through the Jdate profiles – or at least the ones with pictures - and there are a lot of handsome Jewish princes posted who are very interested in becoming 'The First Man' of Hempstead Town," says Murray, with a wink. Although frumster.com rejected Murray’s profile due to her religion (and the posting of unverified photos) she believes that the Book of Esther strongly points to the fact that Jews have a tradition of marrying for political power, religion aside. "If it doesn't help me get votes, maybe I'll at least get some dates," said Murray, who says it is tough meeting people when you are taking photographs and licking postage stamps all day.
No matter what strategy each candidate takes, they all agree that the Jewish vote makes or breaks the election. Political Analyst, Jerry Kremer, noted that the 2000 election was ultimately decided by the retired Jewish voters in Florida. "If Gore would have made a couple more visits to the retiree communities in Boca Raton, thrown around some Yiddish terms, and maybe served some pickled herring, he would have undoubtedly become the 43rd President."
Election Day is November 8th!
UPDATE ON THE LULUV AND ESROG SHORTAGE (as first reported in The Jewish Star): Weitzman points finger at Clavin for taking the last esrog. Clavin shouts back, “If only Howie had followed up on his Audit of the Sukkah!” And so it goes…