Joe Lieberman’s historic 2000 run for the White House works as a vehicle to examine the relationship between the U.S. and its Jews. Lack of focus on political philosophy makes “Only in America” safe for PBS and other pubcasting berths, but updating it with fallout from the contested last election would make it more relevant.
Senator Joe emerges as a likably self-deprecating yet pious figure. “I’m in this campaign 24/6,” he booms, archivally, in reference to refusal to work on Saturdays. (He was the only leading Democrat to call for Clinton’s impeachment, which probably didn’t help the campaign.) Sagas of Lieberman’s immigrant mother and wife Hadassah, a survivor of the Czech Holocaust, are interesting. Pic looks at Lieberman’s rise in the context of American anti-Semitism, which previously had Father Coughlin and other stirrers, and makes a case for concluding that those days are gone forever. The only negative is helmer Ron Frank’s lack of interest in understanding the conservative views of a man who, as Jon Stewart recently dubbed him, is “the candidate for people who want to vote for George Bush, but don’t find him Jewish enough.”