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"Seinfeld" Actor Jason Alexander Rallies Jewish Voters in Crucial Swing-State Florida

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MIAMI --- George, er, Jason isn't joking around -- Jason Alexander, that is, the funny man who will forever be mostly known as George Costanza. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hell, how many other folks do you know who have become universally recognized characters? Still an actor's supposed to play more than one role, so being pegged as Seinfeld's sidekick, no matter how singular was the sensation, surely must get on a guy's nerves.

gen/43709/original.jpgThat might be why Alexander is so serious about his latest role -- as a celebrity spokesman for Obama. Indeed, this week he joined the growing list of celebrities campaigning here, taking his place alongside personalities on the left and right, including Matt Damon, Alicia Silverstone, Elizabeth Hasselback -- engaging in Florida's Election 2008 "Star Wars." Alexander, however, is a celebrity spokesman not so comfortable with the celebrity part. He is a man with a bold-faced name who's not afraid to admit that "celebrities aren't any smarter than anyone else. In fact, they're often dumber."

Not Alexander, though, who's as smart and as thoughtful as he is famous and funny. Just check the way he presided over what might best be described as a town hall meeting at Florida International University's Kovens Conference Center on Sunday, when he and a posse that included Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, State Rep. Dan Gelber and Ambassador Dennis Ross addressed how best the largely Jewish crowd could convince their largely Jewish counterparts to come around to Obama.

Race has been an issue, as have been the rumors of Obama being a Muslim, and Alexander was prepared for both.

"We all know that a Jew is determined by their mother," he half-cracked. "By that standard, Barack Obama is a white guy. So we should have no issues."

As for the bit about Obama being Muslim, well, Alexander noted that those rumors were spread on the Internet, and to adhere to that standard of truth would also mean you could say the Holocaust is a myth.

"Are you prepared to admit the Holocaust never happened?" he asked. "I didn't think so."

Alexander even addressed taxes, which, under Obama's proposals he'll undoubtedly be paying more of.

"Do you know what happens when the middle class gets squeezed out?" He asked. "The French Revolution. I don't know about you, but I like my lifestyle, and I don't want it burned down."

"And why shouldn't I pay more taxes if my country needs it?" he added. "I can afford it."

In other words, this is a serious matter, in every aspect -- "the most important election in [his] lifetime" in fact -- and Alexander would gladly do what's required of him. And that includes haranguing his mother, who resides down here in the town of Coconut Creek and who only came around to Obama two weeks ago.

Now the earnest comic figures that if he can convert her, then he might have a chance with other Jewish voters of a certain age.

To that end he hit a plethora of their exurban hangouts: Silver Lakes Park North in Pembroke Pines, the Holiday Springs Condominium in Margate, King's Point Condo Clubhouse in Tamarac, and the be-all-to-end-all mensch meeting places, Century Pines Jewish Center in Century Village, which resembles the Del Boca Vista community George's and Jerry's folks retired to on the series in more ways than coincidence can muster.

So you'll have to forgive me if I equate Alexander's blowing through South Florida to George sprinting to get to the phone before Kramer blew the cover on Van de Lay Industries. There were just too many parallels. The difference was, however, that this wasn't TV's all-time best sitcom, and Mr. Alexander wasn't wise-cracking -- he was just cracking wisely.

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