THE BLOG

Lanny, Joe & The Right-Wing Religious Hate Machine

05/25/2011 11:55 am ET
  • David Sirota Newspaper columnist, radio host (AM760), bestselling author

Washington corporate lawyer Lanny Davis has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal citing anonymous commenters at the Huffington Post as supposed proof that Ned Lamont is supported by bigots. There's no doubt the comments are disgusting and hate-filled - but make no mistake about it: if there's anyone who has been comfortable with using hate for political gain it is Joe Lieberman.

Consider, for instance, that Lieberman has been a guest on Pat Robertson's 700 Club as recently as last month. You may recall that Robertson has called for detonating a nuclear device on the U.S. State Department and has publicly urged people to pray for the early death of various Supreme Court justices. Yet, Lieberman finds it perfectly appropriate to embrace Robertson and appear on his show. I'd say that willing complicity by Lieberman is a far greater and more calculated embrace of hate than anything Ned Lamont has done, and certainly far worse than a few anonymous blog posts from people who Ned Lamont has never met and has no control over.

But then, in Lanny Davis's cloistered world of wood-paneled offices and cocktail parties, no - Joe's embrace of the right-wing hate machine is labeled shrewd politics and anonymous blog posts from people who Ned Lamont has never met and has no control over is the real serious problem. Davis hilariously demands Lamont halt his campaign, and publicly repudiate anonymous blog posts everytime they are posted. Meanwhile, he doesn't ask Joe Lieberman to repudiate Pat Robertson or at the very least, stop appearing on the very television program Robertson has used to call for the bombing of the U.S. government and death of top U.S. government officials. Davis doesn't even stop to pause for a moment and think about how ridiculous it looks for him to use the infamously hate-filled Wall Street Journal op-ed page to sententiously rail on hate.

Undoubtedly, Lanny Davis is a smart guy, and he knows his op-ed has nothing to do with his lawyer-perfected feign of outrage, and everything to do with a deep sense of anger that voters would dare challenge his good Beltway buddy Joe. That's why as he pretends to be upset about anti-semitism, he says nothing about Lieberman embracing Robertson's far-right-wing religious faction that is banking on the Holocaust-like incineration of all Jews come judgement day.

As a Jew, I am disgusted by these tactics coming from Lieberman - but I am not surprised anymore. The willingness of Lieberman to simultaneously proclaim his piety while manipulating his religion for his own personal political gain is disgusting and, frankly, embarrassing to all Jews. My hope is that the public will see right through it and see Lieberman for what he really is: not a devoutly religious man, but an opportunist who has shown he sees religion as his own personal political sidearm to be mercilessly wielded at his opponents. He can send out slick lawyers like Lanny Davis and fast-talking Enron lobbyists like his former chief of staff Michael Lewan - but no amount of "depends on what your definition of is is" lawyering or Ken Lay-style lobbying can hide Lieberman's craven tactics that insult religious people everywhere.