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I just finished Joe Lieberman's autobiography prepared around the time of his Vice Presidential run entitled "In Praise of Public Life - The Honor and Purpose of Political Service". It looked to be a quick read (it was) and I found it for $3.97 at a bargain bookstore (the right price). I have been curious about what I hear of the sizable African American support that he seems to be enjoying at this early point in the WH '04 campaign and wanted to better understand what he is all about. Of course, everyone has a sense of him as a religious, principled man. I wanted to see what else there is. That said, the easiest way to better understand someone is to listen to their words. His book served that purpose nicely.

After finishing the book my over-all sense of him is less favorable than before. Throughout his career Senator Lieberman has seemed to take great pride in joining arms with Republicans and conservatives - ostensibly with the purpose of creating progress by shunning "partisanship" and embracing "pragmatic" leaders of any ilk to get things done. On its face, this is certainly a worthy goal as a politician in America today. At the same time, it seems that Joe is more wrapped-up in this bi-partisanship than actually standing for any deeply held beliefs. Bi-partisanship, in my opinion, is a political tactic, it is not a political or moral philosophy. Other than decrying violence and sex on TV, I still am not sure what Joe Lieberman stands for. He seems to be someone who came of age in the sixties and as such was swept away by the Kennedy mystique. This despite what appears to be solidly conservative inclinations. Perhaps he became a Democrat because the Kennedy's were Democrats, not because it was his ideological cup of tea. Who knows.

Among the more noteworthy quotes that stick in my mind is the fact that he thought that the "Religious Right" and Newt Gingrich's 'Contract For America' were "more right than wrong". To be clear, he certainly has the right to any political (or other) beliefs that he wants. We, as voters, also have the obligation to make our evaluations as to whether individual candidates are right for us as well.

When Joe recently announced his candidacy for President he had to do some serious back-stepping on very clear statements against Affirmative Action that he made a number of years ago. He was quite adamantly against race-based "preferences" then, but now (in the wake of the Trent Lott fiasco) comes out enthusiastically for AA. In his book he pridefully talked about supporting President Clinton in his quest to reduce the welfare rolls and otherwise "triangulate" the Republican agenda. Roll Eyes It seems that perhaps he is now "triangulating" his own views to pander to the core Democratic base.

It is also noteworthy that he won his first election to the Connecticut State Senate on the margin of a black New Haven ward run by a black campaign worker who organized that area. While it is curious that he even mentioned this anecdote, it is even more curious that while he pledges support to a number of other groups that supported him throughout his career, we never see any sense of gratitude or support for issues that would typically be associated with African Americans - despite the fact that he has black folks to thank for starting his political career. (I guess except for now that he's running for President and loves AA.)

Joe seems to be a nice guy. He seems to be religiously observant. His religious beliefs and ethics seem to drive his "neo-conservatism. While I certainly reserve the right to learn more about him and to adjust my opinion accordingly, at this point, I'd have to recommend that black folks be a bit wary of him. I've not seen one thing (other than his being Al Gore's running mate???) to suggest that he would represent our interests in an effective way. No, Lieberman is the kind of Democrat that conservatives just love. Unfortunately, that probably leaves me with little use for him! Smile

Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.


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Call me cynical... The more I think about Joe Lieberman, the more i'm unconvinced about his little efforts to obstruct the healthcare bill. Not that the bill isn't a piece of crap legislation that deserves to be flushed down the toilet, but just how is it that JOE LIEBERMAN, that senator from Tel Aviv, become such a pivotal figure in all of this?  I remember when he campaigned against his party's nominee and made disparaging statements AND YET he got to stay in the party AND keep his chairmanship when that nominee won. So was his little show of opposition faked? meant to give the people a fall guy so that support for a damaged bill could be built up? I mean if the american people are focused on hating joe lieberman for trying to block the bill, and getting the bill passed despite joe lieberman's foil, who's focused on the insurance bailout useless scam aspects of the bill? is Joe Liberman required to fall on his sword for keeping his chairmanship?

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