Published May 13, 2011
He's a real candidate with a seemingly unreal campaign.
Dan Adler, who's trying to take the open seat vacated by ex-Rep. Jane Harman in California's 36th District -- the South Bay area of Los Angeles -- has offered up his religion as a reason to vote for him.
In what may alternately be viewed as parody, downright offensiveness or simple sweetness, Adler's newest campaign ad has gone viral for its direct take on ethnic politics.
The ad shows Adler convincing a Korean dry cleaner concerned about Medicare that he's got her interests at heart in part because they can relate -- he's married to a Korean woman.
After she notes he's Jewish, the dry cleaner agrees, "We minorities should stick together."
But how can they when they don't speak the same language? That's the unanswered question raised when the Korean woman asks Adler to explain his self-description as a "mensch," or Yiddish for a person of integrity?
Nearly as breathtaking as the television ad is the fact that Adler, who is running against four other Democrats for the party nomination, named actor Sean Astin as his campaign manager. In a press release and accompanying video earlier this month, the campaign noted that the two men have been friends for 20 years -- a union that goes back in Astin's career at least to the film "Rudy," or perhaps the less memorable though not less enjoyable "Encino Man," but perhaps not as far back as "The Goonies" or "The B.R.A.T. Patrol."
Six Republicans are running for their party nominations and five other candidates are vying for the seat. The primary is next Tuesday. The general election is scheduled for July 12.