When I saw the announcement that Barbra Streisand was appearing in the latest National Jewish Democratic Council video to try to win the Jewish vote ahead of the November 6 contest, it brought back memories of the end of the 2008 election.
One of the fun parts of the home stretch of presidential campaign is all the zany celebrities it pulls out of the woodwork to appeal to their followers. In 2008, I was down in southern Florida reporting on how Jewish seniors were planning on voting when I found out that Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, a celebrity power couple of the more diminutive variety, were themselves appearing at a nearby retirement community.
Though DeVito isn’t Jewish, he was regaling the audience like a Borsht Belt regular, and when I sat down with the two of them afterwards, he was still full of shtick – cracking jokes about the election and Obama’s last name. Perlman (who became famous playing an Italian waitress on Cheers, just to keep their ethnic identities even), came across much more as the anxious Jewish mother worried that her people would make a mistake and vote Republican. It was a sad postscript to read last month that they had decided to separate after 30 years of marriage.
At any rate, I was excited about a Streisand video, but sadly the mega-star is only shown reciting Obama campaign talking points. At absolutely no point does she break into song.
On the other hand, the celebrity endorsements that have been coming out on the side of Mitt Romney these days aren’t necessarily the type to win over Jewish voters. On Friday, the Romney campaign announced the endorsement of Hall of Fame Green Bay Packer quarterback Bart Starr. Though you can’t deny his Starr power.