Given Joe Lieberman’s impending announcement of his retirement from the Senate let me share a few thoughts about him.
In just over five years, Lieberman went from being the number two man on the Democratic ticket to public enemy number one amongst Democrats. His vigorous defense of the Bush Administration on the War in Iraq sealed his fate with liberals who would choose Ned Lamont to be the Democratic Party’s standard bearer in Connecticut in the 2006 election. Lieberman would run as an Independent Democrat and was re-elected with the solid support of Republicans.
Of course, Lieberman was no conservative and he didn’t pretend to be. Shortly after his re-election, Lieberman told Chris Wallace, “I agree more often than not with Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans on foreign and defense policy. I’m an Independent.”
There is a price to be paid for independence. You will invariably make people angry. So despite his initial opposition to Obamacare it really should have come as no surprise that Lieberman would have eventually got on board with it.
So Dave Weigel is probably right to say Lieberman would have lost had he sought re-election next year. But in the long run I think Lieberman will be remembered for his transparent decency and willingness to act on principle.