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Former Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Lieberman Passes Away at 82

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Former Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Lieberman Passes Away at 82

(CTN News) – Joe Lieberman, the first Jewish vice-presidential nominee of a major party whose conscience and independent spirit took him away from his home in the Democratic Party, died at the age of 82, according to a family statement.

The former Connecticut senator died Wednesday following complications from a fall in New York. His wife, Hadassah, and other family members were by his side.

Joe Lieberman’s political career peaked in 2000 when he was picked as Al Gore’s running partner. In the disputed election, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of then-Texas Governor George W. Bush. Lieberman praised his appointment as a historic moment for Jewish Americans.

The Evolution of Joe Lieberman’s Political Journey

Joe Lieberman was a conventional Democrat on many topics, including abortion and economic policy. He will be remembered as one of the last prominent statesmen from a time when true bipartisanship was feasible in Washington, before the current polarization.

In his 2012 farewell speech to the Senate, Joe Lieberman lamented the state of politics.

“The partisan polarization of our politics prevents us from making the principled compromises on which progress in a democracy depends, and right now, it prevents us from restoring our fiscal solvency as a nation,” Joe Lieberman said in a statement. We need bipartisan leadership to break the gridlock in Washington that will unleash all the potential that is in the American people.”

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Lieberman’s political evolution accelerated following the September 11, 2001, attacks; his hawkish foreign policy instincts put him increasingly at odds with his party, and he was a strong supporter of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which resulted in a protracted conflict that many of his Democratic colleagues came to oppose.

In 2004, he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but failed to gain support from the party’s core voters due to his views on the Iraq war. This position also resulted in him losing the Democratic primary for his seat in 2006. He campaigned as an independent and won, returning to the Senate.

In 2008, Lieberman angered Democrats by attending the Republican National Convention to support Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential contender.

He described Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic contender, as “a gifted and eloquent young man” but warned that he was too inexperienced to be president, which many Democrats interpreted as treason.

McCain, who died in 2018 and was eulogized by Joe Lieberman, later admitted that he wished he had chosen Lieberman as his vice-presidential nominee instead of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Palin’s selection sparked an outburst of support from the Republican base but later became a liability as her deep inexperience on the national stage harmed McCain’s losing campaign.

Joe Lieberman’s shift to the right was a fascinating political transformation. But perhaps it should not have come as a complete surprise.

After years of dedicated service in the Senate, Lieberman rose to prominence in 1998 during the scandal surrounding President Bill Clinton’s romance with White House aide Monica Lewinsky.

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In a shocking public condemnation of Clinton by a fellow Democrat, Lieberman described his friend’s actions as “immoral,” “disgraceful,” and deserved “public rebuke and accountability.”

Many Democrats viewed his comments on the Senate floor as a sign of betrayal. Nonetheless, after the House of Representatives impeached Clinton, Lieberman voted against convicting him for high crimes and misdemeanors following a Senate trial.

While Lieberman’s speech angered many Democrats, it was also essential in then-Vice President Al Gore’s choice to select him as his running mate.

Gore sought to send a message to Americans that, while he supported the popular Clinton legacy, particularly on the economy, he did not approve of the previous president’s behavior in a campaign that Bush framed as an attempt to return “honor and dignity” to the White House.

Lieberman will also be remembered for his passionate adherence to his Orthodox Jewish faith, which included refusing to work on Shabbat.

However, he famously made an exception in 2009, trekking five miles from Georgetown to the US Capitol to vote against a Republican plan to reduce Medicare expenditure.

Joe Lieberman’s Stance on Trump and the Rule of Law

In his closing years, Lieberman enraged Democrats once again. He was the founding chairman of the No Labels Group, mulling an independent presidential ticket that some Democrats worry could splinter President Joe Biden’s vote and help elect the expected Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, in November.

Joe Lieberman’s family announced his death in a statement that honored his great American tale.

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“Former US Senator Joseph I. Lieberman died this afternoon, March 27, 2024, in New York City as a result of complications from a fall. He was eighty-two years old. The statement stated that he passed away with his wife, Hadassah, and family members by his side.

The statement said, “Senator Lieberman’s love of God, his family, and America endured throughout his life of service in the public interest.”

Joe Lieberman continued to seek a middle ground in politics until the end of his life. However, he stressed that the No Labels effort would not proceed if it benefited Trump.

We’re not going to do this if we think it will help reelect Trump because our mission is to bring bipartisan problem-solving government back to Washington,” Joe Lieberman said in an interview with CNN‘s Edward-Isaac Dovere in January, “and Trump does not represent that kind of government.”

Joe Lieberman stated that his disagreements with Trump went beyond his political inclination.

“Many people believe he is a threat to democracy. Okay, fair enough. But, to me, what he really threatens is the rule of law, which is the great guarantor of our freedom, order, prosperity, and everything,” Lieberman said, citing Trump’s lawsuits after the 2020 election and the former president’s supporters’ January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Joe Lieberman also made a distinction between current and former presidents.

“Much as I feel like Joe Biden has moved too far to the left and the Democratic Party has moved further to the left, and they have a lot of influence on him, if we don’t run the ticket, the choice between Trump and Biden for me is easy,” Joe Lieberman said in a statement. “I will enthusiastically support Biden because, in just the most baseline way, his whole career says he respects the rule of law.”

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