Lieberman makes ’em laugh
BY SETH GITELL
Move over, Jackie Mason. Step aside, Henny Youngman. Make room for Senator Joseph Lieberman.
For all his many fine attributes — his penchant for honesty, his rigorous pursuit of democracy abroad and Democratic values at home, his tenacity — Lieberman isn’t known as the most charismatic politician of the bunch. That’s what made his jovial appearance before roughly 200 elderly Jews at the Brookline Senior Center Tuesday so unusual.
Lieberman, who was in town to stump for gubernatorial candidate State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, began by paying homage to the female politicians present — Brookline Board of Selectmen chair Deborah Goldberg; Brookline School Committee chair Marcia Heist; State Representative Ruth Balser; and O’Brien. " There are some wonderful names, " said the Connecticut senator. " My mother’s name is Marcia. So I feel in good company. Then we have Ruth, from the Book of Ruth. Then we have the prophetess Deborah here. " Then he got to O’Brien. " And we have our candidate for governor here, Shayna O’Brien, " Lieberman quipped — substituting for O’Brien’s first name the Yiddish word for " pretty " or " nice " — to peals of delight from the senior audience.
That wasn’t all. " You all look wonderful. You look really great. You do, " said Lieberman launching into a story about meeting the elderly former head of Connecticut’s highest court. " He said, ‘There are three stages of life — youth, middle age, and gee-you’re-looking-great’ — but you are looking great. "
Finally, Lieberman recounted a visit to a Jewish-studies center in Charleston, South Carolina, during the weekend. " Jews first landed in Charleston 300 years ago.... That was 100 years before our nation was born and 200 years before [octogenarian South Carolina senator] Strom Thurmond was born, " Lieberman said.
If Lieberman’s political career ever falters, he can always turn to stand-up.
Issue Date: October 17 - 24, 2002
Back to the News and Features table of contents.