Joe Lieberman loves Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann

The outgoing senator trolls liberals once more by lavishing praise on two of the GOP's most extreme

Topics: Joe Lieberman, War Room, 2012 Elections, Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Religion,

Joe Lieberman loves Rick Perry and Michele BachmannRep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman is retiring from the U.S. Senate, because he’s a widely hated troll with no chance of winning another term, but before he goes he’s going to take every opportunity possible to do what he feels G-d Himself sent him to Congress to do: Annoy liberals. Today, he gives an interview to the National Review in which he lavishes praise on two Republican presidential candidates.

Lieberman, the “model purple senator” and avowed champion of moderation, is surely praising centrist Republican Jon Huntsman and pragmatic former blue-state governor Mitt Romney, right? Nope. Lieberman instead has kind words for Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, the 2012 race’s two most outspoken conservatives.

Why does Joe Lieberman, former Democratic candidate for vice president, like Bachmann and Perry so much? (I mean besides because those two are the ones who inspire the more liberal fear and loathing?) Because Bachmann and Perry share Joe Lieberman’s love of constant sanctimonious religious moralizing, of course.

Lieberman respects Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, two Republican presidential contenders who have spoken up about their faith on the trail. “I know this got controversial recently, with Governor Perry and Congresswoman Bachmann. But they didn’t give up their First Amendment right to free expression and freedom of religion when they decided to run for president,” he says. “I like it when a candidate, if they feel comfortable, talks about their faith. It’s very interesting to me; it tells me more about the candidate, giving me one more factor to evaluate about what kind of president they would be.”

“Others may be turned off by it, even by the very fact that you’re talking about it, or the way you’re articulating it,” Lieberman says. “That’s the risk you take.” But he emphasizes that while some may find Perry’s public prayers troubling, or Bachmann’s Christian declarations strange, many Americans find such words “reassuring.” In this sense, he urges all politicians, if they are so inclined, to speak up, even if they are not religious experts, in order to make politics more hospitable to religious discussions.

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Yes, a lot of work still needs to be done to make politics more hospitable to constant pious invocations of The Lord. It is a good thing Joe Lieberman is standing up for the First Amendment right of all politicians everywhere to be an outspoken evangelical Christian who uses religious arguments to justify political decisions.

“This is classic America,” Lieberman says. “The Constitution promises freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The whole history of the country is intertwined with religion. The founding documents are premised on a world view, actually a very creationist world view.” Since then, “We have found a way to invite religion into the public square without pushing all but one religion out. It’s remarkable.”

Classic America.

The Constitution actually “promises” that the government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which is arguably closer to “freedom from religion” than the other way around, but that’s splitting hairs. What’s important is that we all agree that the Constitution is “creationist” (?!) and Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are Classic America.

(Does Joe Lieberman know that there are actually a couple members of a religious minority in the GOP race, by the way? Wouldn’t the Mormon candidates be a better example of America “inviting religions into the public square without pushing all but one religion out” than the dominionist Protestants?)

Alex Pareene
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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