Steve Grossman lets his kidney stone go

Steve Grossman guided AIPAC through dark days back to powerhouse status in the 1990s, so a kidney stone during a gubernatorial debate? Pshaw.

Grossman, now the Massachusetts treasurer running for the Democratic nod to be governor, endured the passing of a kidney stone during a debate for the LGBTQ community Tuesday night.

From the Boston Globe:

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Grossman’s pain-level was a 10 on a scale of 1-to-10, [spokeswoman Chandra] Allard said, and yet he fervently answered questions on everything from transgender rights and mandatory sex education to issues facing youth and aging members of the LGBTQ community.

It’s the Twitter age, so naturally there was within hours a @GrossmansStone handle. Some of its tweets recalled (unwittingly?) Grossman’s youthful involvement in the movement (movement!) to free Soviet Jewry — or maybe were just seasonal, ahead of the Passover (Passover!) holiday.

In our community, Grossman has worn a variety of hats, none better known perhaps than his presidency of AIPAC from 1992 to 1996, a difficult time for the organization.

He took over after his predecessor, David Steiner, quit over the revelation of his boasting of the lobby’s clout in a phone call with a prospective donor. Grossman presided over the resignation of AIPAC’s longtime executive director, Tom Dine, after the revelation of a derogatory reference to haredim that Dine made to a writer. Grossman also endured the snubbing of the lobby by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who saw it as an interloper.

By the time Grossman left in 1996, his buddy, President Clinton, was signing executive orders sanctioning Iran based on drafts cobbled together at AIPAC offices and the lobby restored strong relations with leaders of most political camps in Israel.

Grossman’s AIPAC success helped snag him the chairmanship of the Democratic Party in 1997 …. just around the time Monica Lewinsky was making headlines.

Talk about making the passing of a kidney stone seem like a cakewalk.

A few years later, in 2004, Grossman once again made headlines when he quit as chairman of Howard Dean’s campaign after the notorious Dean Scream.

Because, after all, who screams?

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Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief, responsible for coordinating coverage in the U.S. capital and analyzing political developments that affect the Jewish world. He comes to JTA from The Associated Press, where he worked for more than a decade in its bureaus in Jerusalem, New York, London and, most recently, Washington. He has reported from Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Bosnia and West Africa. While living in Israel, he also worked for the Jerusalem Post and several Jewish organizations.