- August 13, 2000 at 12:00 am #10222
If he becomes vice president, is Joseph Lieberman’s religion going to be a hindrance or a help? Or is religion even an issue here?
User Detail :Name : Natasha, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Afro-Caribbean, Religion : Christian, Age : 28, City : Capitol Heights, State : MD Country : United States, Occupation : receptionist, Education level : Technical School, August 14, 2000 at 12:00 am #28371
His religion will probably be a factor as he campaigns for the vice presidency, but I doubt it will affect anything if he actually becomes vice president. Assuming he and Cheney debate, a question along this line could be raised – how he replies will surely sway some voters one way or the other. Personally, it’s not an issue with me.
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Well, for one thing, Vice Presidents don’t really do much of anything, so anyone who worries about a Jewish agenda being propagated doesn’t really have anything to worry about (as if they did to begin with). All the people who are truly bigoted, whom I think number well less than 10% in this country, would much rather vote for Bush or Buchanan to begin with. I’m not at all saying these men are bigots (well, Buchanan possibly), but bigots are much less likely to vote for a party that historically champions minority issues. Leftwingers who have a thing against Jews (who are generally on the far lunatic fringe among leftwing circles) would still prefer Gore or a 3rd party candidate over Bush anyways, and unfortunately Nader has less than a snowball’s chance. So I don’t think Liebermann’s Judaism is an issue that could hinder him.
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I don’t think Lieberman’s religion will matter all that much. The right-wing anti-Semites would not have voted Democratic anyway, and from what I know of the ‘left-wing’ anti-Semites (the followers of Sharpton, etc.) they are unlikely to be voters at all. A Jewish vice president is far more likely to be accepted by the ‘mainstream’ than, say, a pagan or ‘out’ atheist. Certainly it does not matter to me. Church and state are supposed to be separate.
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I think Joe Lieberman will not be able to say anything in Israel’s defense without the charge (I believe false) of ‘dual loyalty.’ Further, religion is an issue because the only way that Joe Lieberman retains his political worth for the next election is if he maintains his ‘religious’ views and supports school vouchers and reduction of ‘filth in Hollywood.’ He could get away with saying that he supports a ‘woman’s right to choose’ but that he personally would discourage women from getting abortions. If he retains those three positions and drops his position on Tort Reform (against the trial lawyers), he might still retain his sobriquet of ‘conscience of the Senate’ (or I guess he then becomes ‘conscience of the White House’) and thus his political worth to overcome the ‘taint’ of Clinton. As far as getting elected goes, it would seem that he gains some Republican votes (Born-agains) and loses some Democratic base (secular extremists – boy, they sure make a lot of noise on the radio talk shows) to Nader on the same issue.
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I agree with Crystal. Most people who would not vote for Jew in the year 2000 probably wouldn’t vote for Gore anyways. Soem people might fear the ‘dual loyalties’ thing, but I’m optimistic enough to think that mostly phased out with JFK. As a Jew, I am kind of excited about the nomination (although he’s too conservative for my tastes, Jew or not.) However, frankly, it would be more groundbreaking to nominate a woman or a person of color for the VP position. That would be a lot more gutsy than nominating a Jew. When most people turn on the TV and see Lieberman, what they see is yet another powerful white man in politics.
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I don’t think Lieberman’s religion would be important if he became vice president. In fact, he has my vote. But I’ve wondered about this: If he became vice president, Lieberman would be only a heart beat away from the presidency. What would happen if he became president? Would he take Saturdays off and not perform certain duties because it was on the Jewish Sabbath? I am assuming he would be allowed some leeway. What would this do to the negotiations with the Middle East? America’s lack of identification with either the Arabs or the Jewish religion has played an important role in its ability to negotiate (although its history has been pro-Israel).
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I saw Geraldine Ferraro talking about Lieberman and the fact that he keeps the Sabbath, and she said some very interesting things. The first is that when she ran for VP, she told her staff and others that Sunday was her day to go to Mass, be with her family, etc., and that this request was never an issue or problem. The second comment was that Lieberman himself has said that the Sabbath is about doing good works and contemplation, and that whenever he has needed to do something important for others (like cast a vote in the Senate) on a Saturday, he has willingly and happily gone, though he would never campaign on the Sabbath. I think that as VP or even as President, his first concern is his service to others, and he would never pause a second in working on the Sabbath.
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As a Senator for Connecticut, Lieberman has stated that he would put his duties in front of his religion if necessary. He has proved this by doing his job late on Fridays and on Saturdays, when absolutely necessary. It hasn’t been a hindrance so far for him. I don’t think his feelings about the Middle East are far off from other leaders of the Democratic party. It may affect people’s image of peace negotiations, but I don’t think anything would actually change.
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