Thursday, January 16, 2003

Best of the Web often seems to be a bit sarcasm-and-irony impaired. Witness:

[Quoting Will Saletan:]
You know this isn't going to be a standard Democratic presidential
campaign kickoff when the guy introducing Sen. Joe Lieberman asks
everyone to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance. With cameras
rolling, Lieberman turns to the wall and recites the magic words:
allegiance, flag, America, God. Stepping to the podium, he speaks
of our "God-given talents." He says he feels "blessed by God" and
believes "God's work must truly be our own." "My faith is at the center
of who I am," he continues. "I'll not hesitate to talk about faith when it's
relevant or to invoke God's name. . . . If the spirit moves me occasionally
to say a word or two of faith, I think it's a very American thing to do."

He smiles and sips from his glass as the audience applauds.
Nobody's going to out-Christian Joe Lieberman.

[now this is Taranto's comment:]
Lieberman is not Christian at all. He's Jewish. Then again, Saletan may be better off for not having known this fact. It would've sounded really bad if he'd written: "Nobody's going to out-Jew Joe Lieberman."

It's sometimes tricky to explain the blindingly obvious without sounding stupid oneself, but let me give it a shot. Will Saletan knows perfectly well that Joe Lieberman is Jewish. That's why he wrote what he wrote. Y'see, the whole point is that one might think that Lieberman's Judaism was going to be a problem in a majority-Christian country-- that some other candidate would "out-Christian" him because, well, he's not Christian. But Lieberman's shtick is to use his religious Judaism as an asset, because it allows him to demonstrate how much he has in common with believing, church-going Christians. He can pre-empt anyone who tries to out-Christian him because he'll out-religion them.

A question for readers. Did anyone besides James Taranto fail to immediately understand what "Nobody's going to out-Christian Joe Lieberman" meant?

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