Debates are often judged on style more than substance, the common refrain being “Mute your TV. Whichever candidate looks like a winner, there’s your winner.” By that metric, last night’s presidential town hall debate was a genuine barn-burner, with both candidates looking feisty as they prowled the stage, answering (or not) questions from the assembled crowd at Hofstra University. The debate produced its share of memes, and GIF-worthy moments – Try avoiding the phrase “Binders Full Of Women” today. Can’t do it, can you? – and ultimately gave pundits from the left and the right plenty to bloviate over this morning. But, regardless of policy assertions and tax plans, last night’s debate was unquestionably one thing above all else: More obnoxiously Jewy than the Rosh Hashanah dinners you’ve been avoiding since you moved out of your parents house.
Exhibit A) Kerry Ladka
What, was Shlomo Pastrami-On-Rye not available? (Or, as a friend of mine tweeted last night “I think I made Kerry Ladkas for Hannukah last year”.) This guy is every single Long Island Jew rolled into one. Kerry admitted that his question wasn’t fully his own, but rather was the product of a “brain trust of [his] friends at Global Telecom Supply in Mineola yesterday” who “were sitting around talking about Libya…” You know, just shooting the shit about international geopolitical hotspots and their security implications for the United States. Totally normal. Nothing weird about that. Jesus christ, Long Island, can’t you do anything right?
Exhibit B) Susan Katz
Here’s Susan’s question:
I am an undecided voter because I’m disappointed with the lack of progress I’ve seen in the last four years. However, I do attribute much of America’s economic and international problems to the failings and missteps of the Bush administration. Since both you and President Bush are Republicans, I fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush, and how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?
Translation: “I just don’t want to see you end up like your no-goodnik friends, always running around and causing trouble. You have so much potential.”
Exhibit C) Barry Green
He starts with “I think this is a tough question” and from there he’s off to the races, asking the candidates to debunk the the biggest misconceptions about themselves. In other words: “Listen here, big shot – what makes you so great?” Barry is the guy in the dentist’s waiting room who can’t wait to tell you about the heated seats in his new Lexus, but has no time to listen to you talk about the milage you get on your Honda Fit.
Exhibit D) Jeremy Epstein
Jeremy Jeremy Jeremy, don’t ever change. The moment moderator Candy Crowley announced the first question would be coming from you, people around the country turned to each other and said “this kid?”. But we knew you were something special, Jeremy. Wearing the suit your father wore to your Bar Mitzvah, you gave voice to countless AEPi bros out there:
As a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. Can — what can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?
You just want a job! And for your parents to be happy! All that’s missing is “Also, how do I get the girls to like me?” and we’ve got the holy trinity of Jewish college neurosis. Somebody give this kid a hug! (And a job)
We salute you, Jeremy, and can’t wait to be the first to endorse your inevitable run for Westchester County comptroller.
Now I fully understand what happened at the debate. Thanks for the recap. Can you try and relate “binders full of women” to Judaism?
Thank you for this piece, I am sitting at my desk laughing out loud. Its so clever i had to express my appreciation.