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Sen. Joe Lieberman: Democrat Who Angers Democrats

20 Surprising & Unknown Facts


Sen. Joe Lieberman: Democrat Who Angers Democrats

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Lieberman, a senator from Connecticut since 1988, famously lost that state's Democratic primary in 2006 for his own Senate seat, largely due to his strong support of the Iraq War.

In response, Lieberman promptly re-registered as an Independent, and successfully challenged both the Democratic and Republican nominees to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate.

Always a moderate Democrat, Lieberman has long held some political views more commonly associated with Republicans, including:

  • Support for the Iraq War;

  • Support for the death penalty, even for minors;

  • Pro-gun ownership laws; and

  • Legislation to control the access of minors to violent and sexually explicit games, music, TV and films.
And yet the senator also boasts a staunchly Democratic-leaning voting record on such vital liberal issues as public education, universal health care, reproductive rights, labor laws and repealing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Infuriating Democrats
In short, Sen. Joe "Republicrat" Lieberman has infuriated Democrats for years due to his unreliable voting record for liberal causes, as well as for his perceived party disloyalty in 2006.

And most Republicans have never accepted him as one of their own due to his support of the Democratic stance on social issues.

To cap off the partisan confusion, on September 2, 2008, Sen. Joe Lieberman spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention in support of his good friend, Republican presidential candidate, John McCain. And Lieberman endorsed Republican McCain over Democrat Obam ain the 2008 presidential election race.

Despite his lack of consistent loyalty to Democratic causes, I can't help but admire certain aspects of Joe Lieberman's independence of thought and adherence to his religious beliefs.

Enjoy this compilation of 20 facts about the independent-thinking senator from Connecticut.

1. Joe was born in 1942 in Stamford, Connecticut. His father was a real estate broker and liquor store owner.

2. His grandmother, who emigrated from the Central Europe "old country," was an Orthodox Jew who deeply influenced Joe's religious beliefs. He lived with his grandparents for the first 8 years of his life.

3. Joe was a devout Jew at an early age. He says that he has "no recollection of a single anti-Semitic experience in my entire upbringing in Stamford."

4. He was first attracted to politics in high school, when he successfully ran for class president.

5. Joe walked to the senior prom rather than drive to it on a Saturday, in violation of Sabbath laws.

6. Lieberman stunned Yale classmates by refusing membership in Skull & Bones, the elite, secretive Yale society whose members include some of the 20th century's most powerful men.

7. Joe was part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. march into Washington in August 1963. He's said that Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech was a moment "that really did transform my life."

8. Inspired by the Washington march, Lieberman went to Mississippi to work for civil rights. It was the first time he felt and witnessed the emotional impact of racial segregation.

9. He once told ABC News, "I went through a Bob Dylan phase....It would have been fun to have spent a few months with Dylan on The Rolling Thunder Review (tour)."

10. Joe Liebermans' first marriage to a psychiatric social woker crumbled after 16 years, mainly due to demands of the political life.

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