Posted on August 9, 2000


Hey, Joe

Some questions for the Senate's "moral compass"


Daniel Clark


In case you haven't heard, Democrat vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman is reputed to be a very, very morally upstanding individual. Really, he is. This isn't just Democrat propaganda, either, as is evident from the effusive praise he's been receiving from leading Republicans since being named as Al Gore's running mate. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott himself has called Lieberman "the moral compass of the Senate." The unanimous bipartisan opinion is that the Senator from Connecticut is impeccably honest.

Great. Maybe now we can get some straight answers. For starters, Sen. Lieberman would do the American public an invaluable service if were to respond to the following questions:


* Are you going to meet with Al Sharpton, like Vice President Gore, Senator Bradley and Mrs. Clinton have? Why or why not?

* You were the first Democrat to publicly rebuke President Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, yet you voted to acquit him. You acknowledged that he lied, but did not find him guilty of perjury. Does that mean that you think his only lies were the ones he told the American people, while wagging his finger, and that he did not lie under oath? Did you bother to watch the president's grand jury testimony? Do you understand what is meant by "is"?

* Did you believe President Clinton when he said under oath that Monica Lewinsky had been his friend? When he said he didn't remember things, did you believe he didn't remember them? Did you believe that when he said to Betty Currie, "I was never alone with her, right?" he was trying to refresh his own memory?

* When President Clinton was asked during his testimony whether he understood that, if he claimed not to remember something that he did remember, he could be found guilty of perjury, he responded, "I am not going to answer your trick questions." Did you think he had been asked a trick question?

* In his televised address after giving his testimony, President Clinton said, "I must take complete responsibility for all my actions." Do you believe he has done so? If not, what do you think would be the responsible thing to do?

* If you were vice president during Bill Clinton's sordid, scandal-ridden administration, would you have resigned? Would you have tried to persuade him to resign?

* You once said, "It is unfair to attempt to hold the vice president accountable in any way for the wrongdoing ... that probably occurred at the Hsi Lai Temple." However, it was he who appeared there, and his knowledge that the event was a fundraiser is apparent from memos, as well as some of his own statements. Why is it unfair to hold him responsible for his fundraising activities? If Al Gore is not even responsible for his own whereabouts, then why should we make him responsible for the largest nuclear arsenal in the world? If you are elected vice president, is this the degree of accountability we can expect from you?

* Governor Bush has promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who adhere strictly to the language of the Constitution. If you were running for president, would you make such a pledge? If the answer is no, would you mind telling us which parts of the Constitution you do not want enforced? Why do you think Vice President Gore has not made the same promise as Gov. Bush?

* We have heard much so far about your moral character. In light of that, many Americans would be shocked to learn that you voted in defense of an abortion procedure in which the fetus is killed by being stabbed in the head with a pair of scissors, and having its brains sucked out. Why do you believe your decision was the morally correct one? Do you believe that people don't exist until they're born? If so, do you agree with the vice president's opinion that a pregnant woman on death row should have the option of being executed before giving birth? If not, then why don't you? Does an otherwise disposable unborn child suddenly acquire value if its mother is convicted of murder?

* President Clinton's 1993 tax bill, which you voted for, repealed the luxury tax on boats, planes, furs and jewelry. Was this done for a constructive purpose, thereby affirming "trickle down" economics? Or was it just a "giveaway" to the "super-rich", at a time when the president was telling Americans he needed them to "contribute" more?

* You are known as a man who values honesty. Al Gore has stated the following: that he favors eliminating the marriage penalty from the tax code; that he opposed returning Elian Gonzalez to Fidel Castro; and that he didn't know the fundraising calls he made from the White House were illegal, because he'd drunk too much iced tea, and was in the bathroom when the matter was discussed. Which, if any, of these statements do you believe? Why?

* As long as we're focusing on honesty, would you concede that a reduction in a federal program's rate of increase is not a "cut"? Would you also be willing to admit that lawful gun owners are not killing thirteen children a day? And while we're at it, didn't our most recent economic recession end, and our current period of growth begin, a year before Clinton and Gore even took office?

* Many of the positions you've taken have in the recent past been described by your own party as evil. Does your opposition to racial quotas make you a racist? Does your resistance to minimum-wage increases mean you're against "working families"? Does your willingness to experiment with school vouchers mean you don't care about The Children?

* Do you share Al Gore's uncertainty over whether or not President Clinton is a rapist? Did you believe the vice president when he said he'd never seen the Juanita Broaddrick interview? Do you agree with him that, whatever Clinton may have done, it is "balanced against what he has done in his public life as president," and thus nullified?


Given the opportunity to interview as honest and ethical a man as Senator Lieberman, our faithful civic watchdogs in the broadcast and print media must be eager to get the answers to questions such as these. The questions Lieberman has been asked to this point, mostly about how courageous he thinks Gore is for picking him, are only designed to break the ice. Any minute now, the challenging questions are going to start flying from the tongues of hordes of demanding journalists. Especially Bryant Gumbel.


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