Joe Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut until 2013, has always been a coy mistress with his fellow Democrats, on most matters a staunch liberal, on foreign policy a sharp-feathered hawk, a good party soldier nevertheless willing to take his services elsewhere as needed—as in 2006, when he lost the Democratic primary for Senate, then ran a winning independent campaign on the humbly titled “Connecticut for Lieberman” party line.
This week on Unorthodox, the podcast of Tablet magazine, the only self-identified Orthodox Jewish senator in American history dropped by to confirm that his party loyalty is no more certain than ever. After explaining why he never wore a yarmulke in public life, and discussing the challenges of keeping kosher while traveling the world (short version: a lot of vegetarian, “kosher-style” eating) he confirmed (at 36:18 in the podcast) that he did vote for Hillary Clinton—but dropped the bombshell (at 39:30) that if he had to choose in 2020 between Trump and Elizabeth Warren, he is not certain would he would do, for it would be “a tough call.” Bernie Sanders would be “an easier call,” because he is at least “the genuine article.”
Mark Oppenheimer is a Senior Editor at Tablet. He hosts the podcast Unorthodox. He has contributed to Slate and Mother Jones, among many other publications. He is the author, most recently, of Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood.