Rich Lowry

Lieberman's team has been addressing the worries with numbers from campaign pollster Mark Penn showing that more than 90 percent of people say they are willing to vote for a Jewish candidate, and that Lieberman's faith helped the Democratic ticket in 2000. "It gets raised less now than before," Levine says of the worry. "Initially, it got raised a lot."

If anyone doubts the tolerance of America, they should consider Lieberman's early strength in South Carolina and Oklahoma, driven by support from black Baptists and other Christians. They care more that Lieberman is a man of faith than that he is Jewish.

This is one reason that Lieberman, the Jewish candidate from the Northeast, has something of a Southern strategy. He probably can't win in Iowa or New Hampshire, but hopes to have strong showings in the Feb. 3 primaries in places like South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arizona.

Lieberman wants the Democrats to return to their roots as the party of Harry S. Truman: strong on defense, conservative on morals, but liberal on social and economic issues. Prevailing with this vision in an increasingly left-leaning party will be difficult enough without any nagging trouble in his fund-raising base.

The question that an embattled Jewish community used to ask of any development in American public life was: "Yes, but is it good for the Jews?" Any Jew who doubts the answer to that question when it comes to the prospect of a Lieberman presidency is living in another century, and perhaps on another planet.


Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
 
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