Joe Lieberman, Hero of the Democratic Base

  • Share
  • Read Later

Well, not exactly. But it will become evident in the post-mortem reporting that the repeal of the ban on gays serving in the military, which cleared its last real hurdle with a 63-33 cloture vote in the Senate this morning, could not have happened without the senior Senator from Connecticut. It was Lieberman who rallied the Republicans needed to clear the 60 vote threshold, working particularly hard to win and keep his close friend Susan Collins of Maine.

This may confuse those on the left who are more familiar with Lieberman’s support for John McCain and Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential election or his hardline stance on the war in Iraq and counterterrorism than they are with his positions on labor and civil rights dating back to his days as attorney general in Connecticut. But Lieberman’s conflicted history with the Democratic party is a rich source of study for those who want to take the time to get beyond the caricature. See these profiles for a start.

With all that has been written about the overdetermination of national politics by money and special interests, Lieberman is perhaps the best example in the current Senate of the fact that individual character and belief still make an enormous difference, for good or ill, in a body with only 100 members.