Forward Thinking

Sh-Berman Heat Wave Grips La La Land

By Rex Weiner

  • Print
  • Share Share
getty images
Rep. Howard Berman poses for photo op with President Obama as he signs bill authorizing cooperation with Israel.

“Almost like in a boxing ring,” exclaimed a breathless local Fox News reporter.

“Sparks flew” gasped the L.A. Times, describing Thursday night’s debate between dueling Jewish congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman. But the soporific chin wagging between the two liberal, pro-Israel, balding Democrats, who were tossed by redistricting into a fight for the San Fernando Valley’s new 30th District, didn’t measure up to the campaign’s increasingly hyper hype.

The Jewish Journal, which sponsored the debate, is trying valiantly to stoke reader interest in the race. But the truth is that no matter how many ways the moderators interrogated the candidates, neither Berman nor Sherman would confess to less than 100% commitment to the Jewish state or to any real substantive difference in position on most issues.

L.A. Observed columnist Bill Boyarsky expressed surprise that there was even a single move out of predictable, partisan lockstep. “Amazingly — actually unbelievably — Sherman bragged about his cooperation with Rep. Paul Ryan,” the newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate, Boyarsky noted. Apparently, with the two Dems in need of the Valley’s Independent and Republican votes for November’s general election contest, a little bi-partisan suck-up can’t hurt.

Nasty campaigning is all the rage this summer nationwide. And off the debate stage, the mid-August heat wave in California’s San Fernando Valley has lent a special punk edginess to Sherman-Berman contest.

“SHERMAN’S DISMAL RECORD EXPOSED,” said the Howard Berman camp in an emailed release to the Forward’s West Coast office, trumpeting a new website. The site tags Brad Sherman as (in the words of Berman supporter Barney Frank) as a “superficial and headline hunting” loser who, according to the website, hasn’t seen a piece of legislation come across the House floor that he hasn’t graffittied with his own name and claimed as his own.

Sherman’s camp fired back, charging that Berman has “gone negative” and pointing to their opponent’s replacement of his brother with Harry Reid’s campaign strategist Brandon Hall, who it claimed “has a reputation as a political hatchet-man.”

The release pointed out the fact that Sherman beat Berman by 10 percentage points in June’s “best two” primary, in which the two men finished atop the field and set up a rematch in November.

A Sherman-commissioned poll claims Sherman is leading the race by 17%. Nevertheless, if the White House is betting on a winner, that would be Beltway darling Berman, who got a lift in the presidential limo to George Clooney’s May fundraiser.

Berman also accompanied Michelle Obama as she collected checks this past week at a series of fundraisers beginning at the Beverly Hills home of No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, followed by a soiree hosted by Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer and his wife, Wendy, and one more assembled by software mogul Yolanda “Cookie” Parker in her Ladera Heights domicile.

A Berman win over the locally ubiquitous Sherman will be perceived as an upset locally, while a Sherman win will have folks within the Beltway, where Berman is a heavyweight, scratching their heads. In any case, forecasters predict no end in sight for this peculiarly political heat wave, at least until November.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: san fernando valley, los angeles, democrat, howard berman, challah-fornia, brad sherman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.