>----- Original Message -----
>From: Norman Solomon <mediabeat at igc.org>
>To: <mediabeat at igc.org>
>Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2000 11:24 AM
>Subject: "Media Beat": Lieberman and the Rise of Centrist Theocrats
>HOLY SMOKE AND MIRRORS: THE RISE OF CENTRIST THEOCRATS
>By Norman Solomon
>It's always dangerous when politicians claim to be doing God's will. So,
>as the novelty fades from Al Gore's selection of Joseph Lieberman,
>journalists should ask some probing questions about the ticket's
>Over the years, Republican policymakers have been fond of saying that they
>rely on divine guidance. Cementing his alliance with fundamentalist
>Christian groups, President Reagan loved to perform at high-profile prayer
>breakfasts and the like. All too often, political leaders -- especially
>conservative ones -- have tried to blur the separation between church and
>Now, the Gore-Lieberman campaign has launched itself with a very public
>display of devout posturing. For them, the Old Testament has become fine
>grist for the centrist mill. The New Democrats are morphing into New
>At the formal announcement of his selection for the V.P. slot, Lieberman
>declared that Gore "has never, never wavered in his responsibilities as a
>father, as a husband and, yes, as a servant of God Almighty." The vice
>president stood a few feet away, beaming.
>Evidently, in the current political milieu, private beliefs and personal
>prayer aren't sufficient. To really do the trick, faith must be flaunted.
>What good is religiosity if you don't wear it on your sleeve and get a lot
>of good press?
>Colleagues laud Lieberman as someone of impeccable morality, a judgment
>echoed by countless reporters and pundits. Yet a strong argument could be
>made that he promotes extremely immoral policies -- if we look beyond such
>matters as sexual behavior and public profanity.
>By all accounts, Lieberman is personally nice. But he is politically
>cruel. For instance, his scrupulous morals do not extend to Iraq, where
>several hundred thousand children have died in recent years due to the
>U.S.-led sanctions that he enthusiastically supports.
>Connecticut's junior senator urges quick deployment of the perilous
>"missile defense" boondoggle. And this Bible-quoting moralist has continued
>to push a wide range of new multibillion-dollar weapons systems, which just
>happen to mean huge revenues for the arms manufacturers that have fattened
>his campaign coffers. For military contractors, Lieberman is a visionary
>prophet for profits.
>Whether Al Gore is truly "a servant of God Almighty" can only be a
>subjective matter. But the guy he chose for his running mate is certainly a
>devoted servant of Dollar Almighty. Few Democratic members of Congress are
>more eager to undermine the public sector. Lieberman wants taxpayers to
>subsidize vouchers for private schools. He has been outspoken in support of
>partially privatizing Social Security.
>In contrast to his media reputation as a consumer advocate, Lieberman
>joined with only three other Senate Democrats in 1995 to put a cap on
>punitive damage awards in product liability cases. He's on record in favor
>of slashing capital gains taxes. Like Gore, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney,
>he is a fervent backer of NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and other
>devices for globalization on corporate terms.
>The world's poor people rank quite low in Joe Lieberman's universe of
>values. As for Palestinians, his brow does not even furrow for them. A
>down-the-line supporter of Israel, he has proved to be comfortable with the
>systematic violations of human rights in occupied territories, underwritten
>by billions of dollars from the U.S. government.
>"Lieberman may be a committed Orthodox Jew in his personal practice, but
>in his role as a public spokesperson he has gone far away from the best
>aspects of the Jewish tradition," Rabbi Michael Lerner points out. "He has
>none of that prophetic voice that leads Jews to criticize our own Jewish
>community and Israel in the name of Torah values. He has none of that
>Jewish sensitivity to the oppressed that would place their needs above the
>needs of the wealthy."
>Like most other senators, Lieberman has built his career by serving the
>interests of the rich. Now that he looms very large on the national
>political stage, Lieberman is well-positioned to further corporatize the
>Democratic Party. Lerner is on target when he comments: "Lieberman is
>likely to accelerate the process in which the two major parties seem to be
>merging into one pro-business, pro-wealthy, elitist and morally tone-deaf
>The men on the 2000 Democratic ticket represent a new theocratic style.
>Eager to evoke Judeo-Christian unity, they make a show of rejoicing in
>shared monotheism. But judging from policy priorities, the one god that
>they most revere is Money.
>Corporate media outlets keep praising Joe Lieberman as a paragon of moral
>virtue. But actions speak much louder than pious words. He is a disaster.
>Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist. His latest book is "The Habits of
>Highly Deceptive Media."