Joe Lieberman obituary


In 2000, halfway via his 24 years as a US senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman, who has died aged 82 following problems from a fall, was chosen as Al Gore’s working mate within the 2000 presidential election, turning into America’s first, and nonetheless solely, major-party Jewish vice-presidential candidate. That second was a peak in a profession that arced from the liberal left of the Democratic celebration to the embrace of Republicans.

He recognized as a bipartisan centrist, liberal domestically and conservative on international coverage. The Republican Jewish Coalition chairman Norm Coleman stated Lieberman “put precept over politics”, however lots of his early Democratic supporters discovered his later transfer rightward anathema.

Lieberman was the epitome of Connecticut’s distinctive politics. The small state was finely balanced between the 2 predominant events in his youth, however the presence of John Bailey as state celebration “boss” and chair of the Democratic Nationwide Committee (DNC) gave it undue affect, which declined even because the state grew steadily extra liberal.

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Joe Lieberman, proper, as vice-presidential candidate with Al Gore at a marketing campaign rally in Jackson, Tennessee, in 2000. {Photograph}: Stephan Savoia/AP

Born in Stamford, Joe was the son of kids of Jewish immigrants. His father, Henry, owned a liquor retailer, and his mom, Marcia (nee Manger), was a homemaker. From Stamford highschool, in 1960 Joe went to Yale College, which then maintained a Jewish quota. He turned editor of the Yale Every day Information, and ultimately was “tapped” by Yale’s prime secret society, Cranium and Bones. As an alternative, he joined the “open” Elihu Membership.

In 1963, influenced by Yale’s chaplain, William Sloane Coffin, he led a pupil contingent to Mississippi, working first-hand to register black voters within the nonetheless segregated south. He additionally interned for Connecticut’s liberal Jewish senator, Abraham Ribicoff. There, he met one other intern, Betty Haas; they married in 1965, by which period he had graduated with a level in politics and economics and entered Yale Legislation College.

Lieberman wrote his undergraduate thesis on John Bailey, and, after interning for him on the DNC, turned that thesis right into a e book, The Energy Dealer (1966). He described Bailey as “a reliable centrist who views political points as a technician, not an ideologue” – a template for his personal political strategy.

With the Vietnam battle dividing the nation, Lieberman ultimately supported Robert Kennedy after he entered the presidential race, following Lyndon Johnson’s withdrawal within the face of a powerful exhibiting by the anti-war Democrat Eugene McCarthy within the New Hampshire major. However after Kennedy’s assassination, and Hubert Humphrey’s loss to Richard Nixon, Lieberman joined McCarthy’s Connecticut marketing campaign chief, Joe Duffey, to type the caucus of Connecticut Democrats.

In 1970 Duffey did not enter the US Senate when the Democratic vote was break up, however Lieberman was elected to the state Senate, and swiftly moved again towards the celebration’s mainstream, serving 10 years and turning into majority chief.

He ran for Congress in 1980, however the Republican Larry DeNardis branded him a “tax and spend” liberal, and rode Ronald Reagan’s coat tails to an upset win. Lieberman would by no means once more be outflanked from the appropriate.

When he and Betty divorced in 1981, he cited the calls for of political life and his turning into “extra religiously observant” because the causes. Quickly afterwards, he met Hadassah Freilich, born in Prague to 2 Holocaust survivors, and in addition just lately divorced. They married inside a 12 months. She labored on well being and pharmaceutical points for Lehman Brothers, Pfizer, and foyer teams together with Hill & Knowlton.

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Joe Lieberman and his spouse Hadassah on the Democratic Nationwide Conference in Los Angeles, 2000, the place he turned the US’s first, and nonetheless solely, major-party Jewish vice-presidential candidate. {Photograph}: Gary Hershorn/Reuters

In 1983, Lieberman was elected Connecticut’s lawyer basic. 5 years later, he received Lowell Weicker’s Senate seat in a significant upset. Weicker was a liberal Republican, and Lieberman’s marketing campaign benefited from the endorsement of the conservative journalist William F Buckley (one other former Yale Every day Information editor) and his even further-right brother, New York Senator James Buckley.

Re-elected in 1994 with a report 67% of the vote, Lieberman quickly was chairing the “average” Democratic Management Council, the place he took a really public stance in opposition to the immorality of President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. In 2000, Gore selected him as working mate, partly to distance himself from Clinton, and partly as a result of Lieberman may be capable to pull the Jewish vote in the important thing state of Florida. This Lieberman did, however when the US supreme courtroom shut down Florida’s recount of closely contested ballots, they gave the state and the election to George W Bush. Regardless of some criticism again house about working concurrently for his Senate seat and the vice-presidency, which Johnson had executed, Lieberman received re-election simply.

After the 9/11 terrorist assaults, Lieberman referred to as for the creation of a Division of Homeland Safety; he served on the Senate’s committee and chaired it when Democrats held the bulk. In 2004, he ran within the early presidential primaries, however stopped his candidacy after a collection of disappointing outcomes.

By 2006, opposition to Bush’s battle was such that, regardless of receiving the Senate nomination from the celebration, he misplaced a major pressured by the anti-war candidate Ned Lamont – an echo of Duffey and Lieberman 36 years beforehand. However Lieberman ran as an alternative as an unbiased, and took 70% of the Republican vote (their official candidate registered much less then 10%) to win re-election handily. Nevertheless, lots of his Democratic colleagues had did not again him in opposition to the celebration’s personal candidate.

By now, his closest allies within the Senate have been Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins. When McCain acquired the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, he wished Lieberman as his vice-president, however was persuaded that “conservatives can be pissed as hell” by such bipartisanship; he selected Sarah Palin to mollify them. Nonetheless, Lieberman endorsed the McCain/Palin ticket in opposition to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and spoke on the Republican conference.

After the election, the Democrats held 59 Senate seats, plus Lieberman’s sixtieth, which might permit them to beat Republican vetoes. In return, the Democrats let him hold his chairmanship of the Homeland Safety committee. His was the vote that handed Obamacare and the Reasonably priced Care Act, however the worth of his assist was ditching the “public choice”, making a authorities company to offer medical insurance. He was criticised closely due to his personal assist from the insurance coverage trade – nonetheless robust in Connecticut – and his spouse’s profession in personal drugs. As an “observant Jew”, Lieberman would nonetheless attend the Senate on the Sabbath, although he would stroll, not take transport. He was a powerful supporter of Israel, receiving the Defender of Israel award in 2009 from Christians United For Israel.

In 2012 he retired from the US Senate. He remained impartial within the presidential race between Obama and Mitt Romney, although he endorsed each Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden of their campaigns in opposition to Donald Trump. Lieberman moved to New York and joined Kasowitz, Benson, Torres and Friedman, a legislation agency whose shoppers included Trump, and the rightwing American Enterprise Institute. In Could 2017, after Trump fired James Comey as head of the FBI, Lieberman seemed to be Trump’s decide as a alternative, however when Trump dithered, Lieberman withdrew his title from consideration.

Lieberman was a founding father of the No Labels celebration, devoted to discovering a bipartisan different to both Biden or Trump within the 2024 presidential election. Per week earlier than his dying, he penned a bit for the Wall Road Journal through which he criticised Senate majority chief Chuck Schumer, who alleged the “political survival” of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “taken priority over the pursuits of Israel”. He referred to as it “meaningless, gratuitous and offensive”, saying it will hurt “Israel’s credibility amongst its allies and enemies alike”.

He’s survived by Hadassah; their daughter, Hana; his son, Matthew, and daughter, Rebecca, from his first marriage; and his stepson, Ethan, from his second.


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