• Joe Lieberman Leaves Us

    March 29, 2024

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    Among some people in Connecticut who genuinely like people who bravely say the inconvenient truth – there are a few – former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman will be missed.

    He left us without warning and in a pickle not of his making.

    Republicans in Connecticut still praise Lieberman for flushing former U.S. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker out of the state’s Republican Party.

    Weicker was the classic “Republican in name only” (RINO) who once said of his state party, “Why doesn’t someone take it over? It’s so small.”  And he referred to himself, approvingly and truthfully, as “the turd in the Republican Party punchbowl.”

    The state Republican Party did not prosper under Weicker’s tutelage. He used the party under which he prospered politically for 31 years principally as a foil that stood him in good stead with Democrats. When Weicker left the U.S. Senate, his liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rating was 10 percentage points higher than that of Democrat U.S. Senator Chris Dodd.

    Described by Democrat Party favoring state journalists as “larger than life,” Weicker got too big for his britches and was challenged by Lieberman in a 1988 race for the U.S. Senate, a position Weicker had held for 18 years. Lieberman, a John F. Kennedy Democrat, was likable and he had not managed in his 40-year political career to savage Republicans. Weicker lost the race and went on to win Connecticut’s governorship in 1991 by running in a three man race as an Independent candidate, bequeathing the state income tax to his and our assigns pretty much forever. Taxes once levied are more difficult to get rid of than any of the seven deadly sins.

    Lieberman occupied Weicker’s seat in the Senate for four terms, having been reelected to office in 1994, 2000, and 2006. Weicker was a maverick left of center Republican, Lieberman a moderate Democrat.

    Usually the media has its reportorial obits prepared well in advance of the parting of the dearly departed. Lieberman’s departure – it has been said he died complications from a fall – was unexpected. First mentions of his death were therefore perfunctory and may have seemed frigid to those who liked his sunny disposition. Like Hubert Humphrey, Lieberman was a happy political warrior. His political thoughts generally were directed outward, not inward. He thought hard and lucidly about politics but softly, gently about his political opponents.

    Lots of people, including this writer, liked Lieberman because he was, that rarest of all things, moderately modest, a politician without an inflated ego -- and likable. Those who disliked Lieberman did so because they were, and are, ideologically tipsy and motivated by a number of the seven deadly sins, which are, just to review: lust, envy, covetousness, anger, sloth, gluttony and pride.

    As a politician, Lieberman talked with his political opponents and voted across the aisle, which in his last years in office had become an impassable ideological fence much more forbidding than the U.S. Southern border under the ministrations of President Joe Biden, the most radical Democrat president in both our lifetimes.

    Pride, the good book tells us, goeth before a fall, but the other deadly sins have been known within the memory of this writer to have ensnared impossibly stupid and venal politicians. Of course, modern politicians without exception worry less about the seven deadly sins than they do about, say, an unfavorable remark in the New York Times or, God forbid, a stinging tweet, now, thanks to Elon Musk, a sharpened X.

    Lieberman was too thoughtful to be prideful. Congressional Democrats, some have observed, are losing their ability to make sharp distinctions, along with their nerves. Most recently the U.S. representative at the United Nations was ordered by you-know-who to abstain from approving or vetoing a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. A veto of the resolution by the United States would have been fully in keeping with Biden’s often announced resolve to protect Israel’s back.

    Former adviser to Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu Caroline Glick noted, "The administration’s actions at the U.N. Security Council were a betrayal of Israel and of the hostages. By allowing resolution 2728 to pass, the U.S. blocked all paths to a diplomatic deal to secure the release of any hostages. By decoupling what Hamas wants — a cease-fire that will allow it to rebuild its terror army and its control over Gaza and so win the war — from the release of the hostages, Resolution 2728 seals the hostages’ fate."

    Lieberman, a fierce defender of Israel, thought of himself as an orthodox Jew, as did the great Maimonides who, in his still readable The Guide for the Perplexed, wrote, “Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.”

    That was Lieberman.

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    Don Pesci

    Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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