Joseph Lieberman: Pander bear

By Alicia Montgomery

By Salon Staff
Published August 18, 2000 7:08PM (EDT)

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Did Alicia Montgomery listen to the same Joe Lieberman speech I did? I heard a warm, sincere man present his background and political positions in a calm and sometimes funny way. What's her problem? Montgomery sets the bar so high that no one can jump it, thus reaffirming her world-weary cynicism about politics. She even implies that Lieberman's mention of Martin Luther King Jr. was a calculated play for black support. I've got news for you, Alicia: Admiration for Dr. King is not limited to blacks. He's a national hero. And a white college student who bothered to travel hundreds of miles to march for justice before it was fashionable is worthy of admiration, not derision. If George Bush had done anything remotely as impressive as a young man, instead of just getting sloshed, God knows he would have made the most of it.

-- N. Lanyi

John F. Kennedy is dead. And until another candidate comes along who, like Kennedy, combines both a rich sense of political integrity as well as an equally sharp ability to deliver messages in ways that move us, we will have to prioritize our judgments of politicians. Americans are weary of Clinton's seductive salesman's smile -- and as a result, sincerity has become a vital quality for candidates. Yet, we still want them to be sexy -- or at least a little charismatic.

Alicia Montgomery criticized Joe Lieberman's lack of gusto at his speech last night, saying, "Though his sincerity shined through, there was little punch to the piety." OK, not much "punch," but how long has it been since we've been able to regard any major politician as sincere? Montgomery's sleepy acknowledgement that the man at least means what he says ought not to be taken lightly. Wouldn't we be better off with a sincere vice president than one with (Dick Cheney) punch?

-- Andrew King

Salon Staff

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