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Holy Joe

Arkansas Senate candidate Kim Hendren, who called Chuck Schumer "that Jew" and then explained, "I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on 'The Andy Griffith Show," now points out that there are at least two Jews of whom he does approve: Jesus, and Joe Lieberman.

While I don't want to begrudge Mr. Hendren his taste in Jews, the pairing here is a little odd. I can easily imagine what qualities he admires in Jesus, and likewise I can imagine what draws him to Joe Lieberman, I have trouble seeing how one could look at all the Jews throughout history and pluck out these two examples as your ideal type of Jew.

Both, of course, are apostates of sorts. (You could easily imagine Jesus saying that he didn't leave the Jewish faith, the Jewish faith left him.) Yet the differences seem more stark than the similarities. The contradistinction between the two in terms of speaking style and general charisma is fairly stark. Jesus, moreover, foregave his friends for betraying him and causing his own crucifixion, while Lieberman couldn't forgive his friends for the comparatively minor betrayal of endorsing his general election opponent. And Lieberman is far more closely associated with defending rough interrogation techniques.

Indeed, Lieberman's parsing of various torture methods ("It's not like we're putting burning coals on people's bodies") eerily recalls the first three minutes of this scene with Jesus-figure "Brian" in "Life of Brian":

--Jonathan Chait