Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cliffhanger: It's a compelling story, one that many people don't want to see end. Now it looks like the political drama in Connecticut is ripe for a sequel.

Sen. Lieberman's loss in the Democratic primary yesterday is going to be analyzed many times over. And for good reason, because it does have national implications.

One of the most independent souls in the U.S. Senate is now running for re-election as an independent. His party got fed up with him and his conservative views on certain important issues, namely the war in Iraq, so they abandoned him for a true liberal.

Lieberman may or may not win in November. The question is whether an independent can win a major campaign and, if yes, whether an independent can serve effectively and influentially in the Senate.

The senator has his superstar status going for him. He's a respected politician who always appears honest and speaks his mind bluntly. I suspect many Democrats respect the man, but they can no longer ignore strong disagreements they have with him.

Nationally, though, Lieberman's primary loss helps solidify the Democratic Party as the anti-war party. Personally, I believe that's a shame. While my overall political views are moderate on balance, I am a hawk when it comes to foreign policy. I would rather both parties debate which one would kick more terrorist ass than one going all out and one seeking restraint.

But there have been so many problems in Iraq that it's understandable that the anti-war efforts have gained strength politically. Now in order to win a Democratic primary, it's understood that you cannot fully support the war in Iraq.

That's too bad. That gives Republicans an avenue to push their conservative agenda simply because it comes as part of the package deal with an aggressive fight against Islamic terrorism.

Honestly, I would have voted for Lieberman for president had he been the nominee against George W. Bush. At first I didn't see the need to replace one foreign-policy hawk with another. But when President Bush began campaigning strongly for a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, I was furious. I know Lieberman also doesn't support same-sex marriage, which is unfortunate. But he's far-sighted enough to know that an amendment injecting bigotry back in the Constitution is the worst way to go.

I hope Lieberman wins re-election in November. Not only do I like the guy, but I would love to see how he'd use his newfound freedom as an independent in the Senate. Unfortunately, he could end up a less effective senator. Congress relies on group support to get anything done. Senators don't trust colleagues who have no allegiance to one side or another. While I despise partisanship, there is something to be said for loyalty.


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