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August 5, 2006

Why I'm voting for Lieberman

Why I am voting for Lieberman on August 9th:

Does this matter? In a way, that's the question at the heart of Lieberman's reelection struggle. In the '90s, Lieberman proved a crucial check against his party's worst instincts. In the Bush era, by contrast, he has proved a poor check against the GOP's. While, in the Clinton era, he was often prophetic in recognizing the threat to liberal values posed by enemies overseas, in the Bush era he has been slow in recognizing the threat to liberal values posed by adversaries at home. For Lieberman's activist opponents, his failure to challenge Republicans aggressively--especially on Iraq and torture--is all that matters. The idea that he might deserve reelection because in the past he usefully challenged Democrats seems downright perverse at a time when Democrats have no power. The best argument against Lieberman is that, by acting the same way in the radically conservative Bush era as he did in the moderately liberal Clinton one, his liberal iconoclasm has morphed from a strength into a weakness. The best argument for him is that, with Bush's power on the wane, and Democrats resurgent, that iconoclasm may soon become necessary again--to keep liberals from learning so much from Iraq that they forget Bosnia and from becoming so defined by their opposition to Bush's politics that they forget Clinton's. Some of this comes down to historical perspective. Liberals who encountered Hubert Humphrey in 1948, when he defended civil rights at the Democratic convention, generally admired him in a way that liberals who encountered him in 1968, when he defended the Vietnam war, never did. So it is with Joe Lieberman today. I understand why liberal activists cannot forgive him for being defiantly wrong on Iraq. But I will always remember him as the man whose house was picketed by liberal activists during another Iraq war, and who stood defiant and isolated and right.
Read it all, a very well written essay on why you should both love and hate Lieberman, but either way, you should vote for him. Too bad it seems like a lost cause...Update: I will, of course, be voting August 8th, not the 9th as I declare above.