Bintel Blog

When Lieberman Taught Palin About Rav Soloveitchik

By Gal Beckerman

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Much of the juiciest material contained in “Game Change”, the new dishy chronicle of the 2008 election by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, has already made it’s way into the media. Elizabeth Edwards was prone to angry outbursts, Sarah Palin was an ignoramus, and Bill Clinton was … well, Bill Clinton, the lovable loudmouthed and inappropriate Bubba. For all the revelations though — perhaps with the exception of the surprisingly dysfunctional Edwards family — there was very little in the portraits that didn’t just confirm what most people already suspected about these characters.

As I was reading — I couldn’t help it! — I came across one more of these moments where the public persona is exactly what you would imagine behind the scenes. This scene did not get much publicity, but is worth transcribing in full. It involves Palin’s breakdown of sorts, in the days leading up to the vice presidential debate, and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew. John McCain’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, had asked Lieberman to visit Palin and buck her up at a moment when her debate prep was going disastrously (For one thing, she kept calling her opponent, “Senator O’Biden” for some inexplicable reason):

The situation was wildly unconventional already: a Democratic senator being imported into a top-secret lockdown to assist a Republican vice-presidential candidate whose mental stability was in question, now Schmidt asked Lieberman to perform another unorthodox intervention.

“You’re both very religious,” Schmidt said. “Go in there and pray with her.”

It continues:

As it happened, Palin had already been prayed for that day. A group of Republican congresswomen had offered their blessings via conference call with her. But Lieberman went back and took a less direct tack, providing Palin with Talmudic wisdom. Invoking the influential Orthodox rabbi Joseph Soleveitchik, he spoke about the covenant of faith, which is the relationship between God and man, and the covenant of destiny, which is what men make of themselves.

“Look,” Lieberman said kindly, “you gotta be saying to yourself, ‘What am I doing here? How did this happen?’ This is your moment to really make it count for something.”

Palin seemed touched. “Joe,” she said. “I can’t figure any other reason I’m here except that I was meant to be here.”



Comments
SD Thu. Jan 28, 2010

Lieberman is a pitiful sellout, the poster-boy for Jews-Gone-White-Bread

chelemer Fri. Jan 29, 2010

If nothing else, it shows that religion makes people stupid. When they have nothing to offer, they spew religious nonsense to compensate for their ignorance.

Joe Fri. Jan 29, 2010

I hate to sound triovial, but Joseph Soloveitchik was never kown as 'Reb Soloveitchik'. Firstly because he was a communal Rav and therefore known as Rav Soloveitchik. Secondly because 'Reb'like 'Sir' always goes with a first name such as Reb Moshe Feinstein or Reb Aaron Kotler, just as you wouldn't speak of Sir Montifiore or Sir Jakobovits or Sir Sacks.

Danny Fri. Jan 29, 2010

President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair also prayed together, so much so that a BBC comic recently suggested that Blair's defense at the Iraq Inquiry will be that he went into Iraq based on Divine inspiration.

Former Talmid Fri. Jan 29, 2010

Not only did the writer get the honorific (Reb) wrong, Beckerman spelled the Rav's name, Soloveitchik, [not Soleveitchik] wrong.

Pennywhistler Fri. Jan 29, 2010

OK. I'm a little lost here. Help me out, Gal Beckerman

What part of "I came across one more of these moments where the public persona is exactly what you would imagine behind the scenes." is "Look," Lieberman said kindly, "You gotta be saying to yourself, ‘What am I doing here? How did this happen?’ This is your moment to really make it count for something."

The kindly part?

Where he says "gotta" instead of "have to"?

Where he advises SP to "make it count for something" a la the Rav (or is it Rov)?

What the hell are you talking about?

moshe Sat. Jan 30, 2010

This was piked up on other blogs, notably Hirhurim, weeks ago.

Mordechai Sun. Jan 31, 2010

The only mental breakdown was anyone who voted for Obama.

Its clear he is a failed president. Come this time next year the voters will turn the congress over to Republicans. These attacks on Palin are the last gasps of the Obama radicals who know she will defeat Obama on Nov 2012 and together with the Republican congress end once and for all the era of big government.

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