Modern Orthodox Jew Sen. Joe Lieberman, who almost became the first Jewish vice president in 2000, is bowing out of politics. A source told Politico that he will announce his retirement on Wednesday, when he will quote from Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.”
Sen. Lieberman, age 68 and a former Democrat who kept his Connecticut Senate seat in 2006 by running as an Independent with widespread support from Republicans, would face a tough race in a re-election bid in 2012.
He has been in politics for 40 years, and the time has come for a change, although he will remain in public life, an aide told the Washington Post.
Sen. Lieberman has been a constant supporter of Israel and backed the Gulf War resolution in 1991, breaking away from liberal Democrats. He was the running mate with presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000, when George W. Bush won the election.
Even after leaving the Democratic party, he was respected and befriended by Democrats – until he angered liberals by endorsing Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in 2008 and questioning the credentials of Barack Obama, who he said was ”eloquent” but had little experience.
Sen. McCain considered picking Sen. Lieberman as a running mate but instead turned to Gov. Sarah Palin, a move that stunned the Connecticut senator.
Sen. Lieberman is known for his long walks to the Senate on the Sabbath, when it is forbidden for Jews to ride. However media raised a fuss in 2000 over his campaigning and drinking liquids on the Ninth of Av, a fast day in memory of the destruction of the First and Second Temples.