This is funny, in its way. But the puny dimensions of the father's rhetoric are a little heartbreaking too. The truly thunderous phrases in "The Plot Against America," at least in its earlier sections, belong instead to Lindbergh and his supporters. And the most powerful is this, the Republican campaign slogan of 1940: "Vote for Lindbergh or vote for war." Lindbergh is, after all, the dove, and Roosevelt, the hawk, in the election that year -- though Roth scrupulously clings to the 1940's terminology of "isolationist" and "internationalist." Even the Newark Jews, some of them, fall prey to the isolationist logic, not to mention Republican political pressure, after a while. A big-shot pro-Lindbergh rabbi acknowledges that, yes, the Jews of Europe are suffering grievously under Hitler. But won't things get even worse if America enters the war? Won't the Jews of America end up suffering as well, not to mention America as a whole? Aren't the American Jews making themselves ridiculous in their panic over anti-Semitism, when Lindbergh is, at bottom, a decent man with honorable goals?


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