- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000


Barry Goldwater told the story about the time his brother played golf with Bob Hope during the 1964 presidential campaign. Since it was well-known that the presidential candidate was half-Jewish, it became known that his brother was, too.

When Bob Hope and Barry's brother Bob signed up to play golf on a course on the Hudson River, the pro, on seeing the Goldwater signature, told him he couldn't play because the club didn't allow Jews. "Well," answered the brother Bob, "can I play nine holes? I'm only half Jewish."

There's nothing half-Jewish about Joe Lieberman, but there sure is something half-conservative about him. There are lots of Democrats, including lots of Jewish liberals, who would rather not have him play on their turf, literally, only they're not saying so.

Among those who are quiet as mice are the Hollywood glitteries who don't like Mr. Lieberman's denunciation of pornography, violence in films and obscene and women-hating lyrics. These same people were not happy Mr. Lieberman joined Bill Bennett in offering "Silver Sewer Awards" for raunchy television shows. They don't like his support for the V-chip, either.

But like the Republicans who didn't agree with everything they saw and heard in Philadelphia, the disgruntlers in Los Angeles are likely to keep their mouths shut. They still prefer Gore-Lieberman to Bush-Cheney.

Many of these Hollywood types didn't like Joe Lieberman's scolding of Bill Clinton's sexual behavior, when he disdained the euphemistic word, "inappropriate" and called it what it was "immoral." They thought his speech to be the stuff of puffery and prudery. They're not going to talk out loud about that, either. Some of them were looking forward to having fun at the Democratic fund-raiser for Hispanics, hanging out with Hef at the Playboy mansion.

Mr. Lieberman spoke out so eloquently against affirmative action that he got an angry letter from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, but Mr. Jackson, who once dissed Jews as "Hymies," offered nothing but kudos for Mr. Lieberman's nomination, saying it expanded the nature of freedom in America. What you're hearing from the campaign today is how Mr. Lieberman cast votes in favor of racial preferences, or quotas, as some people call them. As my daddy always said, where you stand depends on where you're sitting.

Among the most important disagreements that Mr. Lieberman has with Vice President Gore is over education vouchers for private and therefore including parochial schools. Mr. Gore, beholden to the teachers' unions, hates the sound of vouchers. Hence it is likely that Mr. Lieberman will have to change his opinion on vouchers, too. Mr. Lieberman concedes that he will follow Mr. Gore's leadership on policy issues. "When President Gore decides, Vice President Lieberman will support him entirely," says Mr. Lieberman. Such is the fate of vice presidential running mates, no matter of what religion or moral conviction.

Mr. Lieberman has also supported parental notification when a child chooses an abortion, which doesn't endear him to the pro-choice absolutists. He also likes partial privatization of Social Security, an idea that gives the vice president heartburn.

Mr. Lieberman is probably most at odds with the vice president's assessment of President Clinton. Mr. Gore calls him one of "the greatest presidents of the United States," and so far the senator hasn't. He was, in fact, chosen by Mr. Gore because of his scathing criticism of the president's behavior. But from now on you're going to hear both men accent only the positive about Mr. Clinton.

So the half-conservative side of Mr. Lieberman will be absorbed by his liberal half in this election. What Mr. Gore can't absorb is the senator's moral stature.

When Republican candidate George W. Bush testified that Jesus Christ had changed his heart and his behavior he was the prodigal son who returned home chastened by repentance for his dissolute ways. Mr. Gore, in choosing Mr. Lieberman, took an Old Testament prophet into his tent, a Jeremiah who pointed out the immorality of the president, implicitly chastising those Democrats who remained silent in their judgment.

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