Oh No Joe

Jason Maoz, Media Monitor - Jewish Press (NY) - August 25, 2000

Joseph Lieberman's willingness to sacrifice Jonathan Pollard on the altar of political expediency has always been the single best indicator of what his actions would be once he was nominated to the Democratic ticket. As Jason Maoz writes, since his nominiation Lieberman has repeatedly demonstrated a similar lack of compunction in reshaping his all of his so-called principles to suit his political goals. - Justice for JP

IF you happen to come across a backbone lying around somewhere, chances are it belongs to Joseph Lieberman, who lost his shortly after signing on as Al Gore's running mate. At least that's what many of the nation's pundits were saying last week as;the Connecticut senator backpedaled, prevaricated and obfuscated his way through the Democratic National Convention.

In a particularly devastating analysis piece (bitingly titled"A Retooled Lieberman Stands By His Master"), the veteran New York Times political reporter R.W. Apple Jr. noted that since "Mr. Gore has a bit of a reputation for flip-flopping and corner-cutting on issues like abortion and trade," it had been hoped by campaign strategists that Lieberman "would lend the ticket some stand-by-your-guns luster."

But "much of that [luster],' Apple warned, "could be lost if the senator seemed to be bending to political expediency at this stage."

Apple then proceeded to run down the laundry list of issues on which Lieberman had indeed, literally within hours of his selection, bowed to political expediency. (Among the several examples cited: Despite his having sponsored -- and repeatedly voted for - experimental voucher legislation in the Senate, Lieberman, as soon as he was chosen by Gore, phoned the president of the American Federation of Teachers and 'promised that a Gore-Liebeman administration would be resolutely anti-voucher.")

Sam Schulman, columnist for the New York Press and JewishWorldReview.com, beheld Lieberman's strenuous political contortions and was compelled to ask: "What price Jewish values if within a week Senator Lieberman has changed course on virtually every one of his core ideas in pursuit of his political ambitions?"

Lieberman, continued Schulman, had in just one week's time made it all too clear that he "has agreed to sell out virtually every principle which he advocated in the past":

"Move the U.S. Embassy. to Jerusalem? Well he doesn't think so anymore.

"Is affirinative action an insult to human dignity? No, today racial preferences seem fine, says Lieberman's own spokesman, Dan Gerstein.

"Lieberman had argued' for years that a partial privatization of Social Security would increase its return and value. Does he still think so? Oh, 'not anymore,' a Lieberman adviser told reporters.

"Lieberman had - championed the idea of - school vouchers to enable every parent to seek the best education for his children. Now he has dropped the idea."

And then, in stiletto-sharp prose, Schulman posed a pair of stinging questions: "Which set of ideas was it that Senator Lieberman's Jewish values informed: the ideas he advocated before he was nominated for vice president, or the now ideas he has just signed on to? Or is it that a man who abandons his convictions in order to grab a political plum has no values at all?"

In an equally stinging column last Friday, Sidney Zion (whose recent move to the New York Post further weakens the increasingly lame New York Daily News) warned, "Don't let his yarmulke fool you, Joe Lieberman is no great backer of Israel. His Senate record reveals a man who has trimmed his sails more than a little to satisfy Bill Clinton and his pro-Palestinian Jewish advisers in the State Department and National Security Council."

Zion cited Lieberman's remark on "Meet the Press (Aug. 13) that Pat Buchanan is 'not at all an anti-Semite.' In case that wasn't enough of a hechsher, Lieberman elaborated to host Tim Russert: "I enjoy Pat Buchanan's company, he's a bright, interesting guy who's been misinterpreted." (To which the Media Monitor can't help but interject: Imagine the outcry from Jews if, say, a certain governor of Texas were to suggest something similar.)

Lieberman's dizzying about-face on moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, his sudden urge to meet with Louis Farrakhan and his sticky-sweet valentine to Buchanan have, wrote Zion, "made some Jews stop kvelling in their tractates over the first Jew to make a major-party national ticket."

See Also:

  • The Meaning of Lieberman - David Tell - The Weekly Standard
  • The Lieberman Page Articles