The keynote plenary is well under way.
Following a standard reception from TN governor Phil Bredesen, U of T Coach Bruce Pearl got the crowd going with a hilarious personal account of his rise to success amidst the challenges he’s faced as Jew in a non-Jewish dominated arena.
Howard Dean followed, and it was a little awkward. For example: Dean took an indirect stab at Bush (which ought to be safe territory considering Bush’s approval ratings and the overwhelming disapproval of the Iraq war within the Jewish community) saying that, after seven years the US needs to regain the moral high ground. Instead of a cheer, Dean received a lukewarm applause. However, when he added that the reason Israel has managed to survive is because it’s maintained the moral high ground – thunderous applause.
Overall Dean was very definitive in his pro-Israel message and credited UJC with providing unparalleled opportunities to, among others, Ethiopian olim.
His most interesting remark though was, in the context of grassroots organizing, that “The Democratic Party can’t win an election. Only you can.”