7 Things You Need To Know About Prospective FBI Director Joe Lieberman
All eyes are on President Trump's replacement for recently-fired FBI director James Comey; Trump has indicated that former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is his preferred choice as of now. Lieberman would be an interesting choice, as his selection would enrage Trump's enemies, but there are questions about how qualified Lieberman is for the job.
Here are seven things you need to know about Lieberman.
1. Lieberman has a legal background, but doesn't really have a law enforcement background. The former senator is a Yale Law School graduate and was Connecticut's state attorney general from 1982 to 1988, where he prosecuted "a company that illegally stored stripped paint from the White House in Connecticut" as well as a homeowners association that "feared ex-hospital patients would reduce property values," according to The Hill.
His lack of law enforcement credentials has raised questions about whether his resume qualifies him for the position of FBI director.
2. Lieberman was Al Gore's running mate in the 2000 election, the first Jewish politician to ever be nominated for a position that high in the federal government. He also unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic presidential primary in 2004.
3. Lieberman has had a hawkish streak on foreign policy. Most notably, Lieberman has been an ardent defender of the Iraq War; in the Senate Lieberman and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) were known as the "Three Amigos." Lieberman's support for the Iraq War drew vicious ire from the Left and as a result Lieberman lost in the 2006 Democratic primary to an antiwar leftist, so Lieberman ran as an independent instead and won re-election. Lieberman has also advocated for re-negotiating the Iran deal, and the use of the term "radical Islamic terrorism," although he voiced support for Susan Rice when she was being considered as Hillary Clinton's successor at Secretary of State.
4. Lieberman's domestic record has been more in line with the Left. For instance, Lieberman has co-sponsored cap-and-trade legislation and championed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to allow gays to openly serve in the military.
5. Lieberman endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election and the Left has never forgiven him for it. Lieberman tore into then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), McCain's opponent, at a speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
"In the Senate, during the three-and-a-half years that Sen. Barack Obama has been a member, he has not reached across party lines to ... accomplish anything significant, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party to get something done," Lieberman said.
Further enraging the Left, Lieberman praised McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, as someone who "reached across party lines to get things done. The truth is, she is a leader we can count on."
Despite the fact that Lieberman endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, the Left will not let go of Lieberman's embrace of McCain, which is why the Democrats are opposed to the prospect of Lieberman as FBI director.
6. Lieberman has been subjected to anti-Semitic attacks from the Left. Via World Affairs:
A survey of the liberal blogosphere and pundit world finds comments ranging from the nasty (Bloomberg’s Jonathan Alter calling Lieberman a “putz”) to overtly anti-Semitic (any article mentioning Lieberman on the Internet is guaranteed to feature at least one reader comment asserting that he is loyal not to the United States but Israel). Sometimes the anti-Semitism isn’t disguised by the anonymity of Internet comments; in 2008, Time’s Joe Klein wrote that Lieberman’s “plump[ing]” for the Iraq War “raised the question of divided loyalties.” Yet such prejudice was hardly an impediment to Lieberman’s career. As Lieberman would be the first to say, his life story as the son of a package store owner who rose to become the first Jewish nominee on a major party presidential ticket was made possible by the exceptional nature of American pluralism.
Additionally, in a 2009 ThinkProgress piece titled "Dumb Jewish Politicians," Matt Yglesias echoed Jonathan Chait's sentiments "that Lieberman is the beneficiary, or possibly the victim, of a cultural stereotype that Jews are smart and good with numbers."
7. Lieberman is 75 years old. His age has been raised as an issue because the FBI director typically serves a ten-year term. National Review's Quinn Hillyer wrote, "A 75-year-old, especially one with a need for on-the-job-training, is not a proper choice for the position."