Hating Senator Joseph Lieberman has been a favorite liberal pastime for years now, but it recently reached new heights of invective, as Lieberman emerged both as a strong supporter of the Afghanistan surge and then as a possible obstacle to passage of the health care reform bill in the United States Senate. American liberalism has, since the 1960s, displayed a remarkable capacity for devouring its own, but the spectacle of an entire political movement engaging in a campaign of feverish character assassination against one of its former vice-presidential candidates was truly remarkably to see. More fascinating still was how the cavalcade of abuse seemed to return again and again, as if by some gravitational force, to the issue of Lieberman’s Judaism, which renders this latest round of hatred deserving of broader consideration.
It must be said that most of the corrosive rhetoric employed in this regard was relatively unremarkable—consisting mostly of childish insults and vaguely comprehensible outbursts of liberal antisemitism. Probably the most remarkable was a combination of the two posted at the semi-literate website Wonkette. Under the title “Monsters,” the author described Lieberman as “speaking from a bottomless pit of pain and sorrow, where he lives on the soul-vapors of crushed children.”