The Breakfast Table

Doxies: Hetero and Otherwise


It’s not a list that makes one’s heart go pit-a-pat, that’s for sure. Jeanne Shaheen was also included this morning, and while I don’t know very much about her, she at least lent a certain heterodox (not to be confused with the quality Lynne Cheney sees in her daughter) aura to the selection process. But the rumor is, she quickly withdrew. One wonders. It’s just as possible someone from Nashville called her early this morning and said, “Listen, babe, we’ll put you on the list provided you call us back pronto and take yourself off.”

We’re left with a gaggle of dishearteningly gray guys. The most interesting one still in the game is certainly Joe Lieberman. With his quasi-rabbinical uprightness, he might erase some of the taint of the Clinton sex scandals, and his considerable earnestness is leavened by a surprisingly rambunctious sense of humor. Terrific wife, too. But I’m not sure America is ready. I think it’s unlikely the first Jew on a major ticket will be Orthodox. Remember Jonathan Miller’s line from Beyond the Fringe? “I’m not really a Jew, I’m just Jew-ish.” That’s how I’d expect to see the religious barrier first broken on a national ticket. A Jew who doesn’t wear his yarmulke on his sleeve.

The other guys on the list are awfully orthodox, but they aren’t Orthodox.

I don’t, however, agree with your assessment of the dynamics of Cheney vs. Kerry. Kerry, remember, served with distinction in Vietnam. So he can certainly say to Cheney, “Listen, chubs, you might talk the talk,” etc. I think he’s an asset from that point of view, freeze or no freeze. And besides, if the Republicans are right and ketchup is a vegetable, Kerry has a lock on the farm vote.

The list falls away precipitously from there, though.

If I may revert to the subject of Jewishness and society at large for a moment, I heard something disturbing this morning on Fresh Air (it was yesterday’s show, but they replay every program the following morning on my local NPR station, KALW). Nicholas Kristof, who has written extensively about Bush for the New York Times, and has just published a book about him, mentioned that the current GOP standard-bearer does not believe non-Christians can get into heaven. He also refuses to say whether or not he believes in evolution.

Do you find those two items as disturbing as I do?