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A once and future Democrat



Published: Thu, October 26, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Providence Journal: Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut has paid a political price for his strong support of America's ambitious, and very badly implemented, effort to topple dictator Saddam Hussein and fight terrorism by nurturing democracy in Iraq. Ned Lamont, exploiting the unpopularity of the war with the left-wing base, captured the Democratic primary, forcing Sen. Lieberman to run as an independent to keep his seat.

That was a sharp rebuke to the man who was his party's vice presidential nominee only six years ago. But polls suggest that Mr. Lieberman will win the wider universe of voters who participate in the general election.

If he indeed wins on Nov. 7, he plans to rejoin the Democrats -- without losing his seniority, which confers power that helps him serve Connecticut -- when the Senate resumes next year.

That's good, because the party and the state can use a strong and principled leader who is capable of thinking independently and won't wilt under pressure.

Security interests

To some extent, Sen. Lieberman harks back to such Democrats as Harry Truman and Henry "Scoop" Jackson, who believed in the projection of American power to support U.S. security interests. In other ways he is like Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee, demonstrating a willingness to defy his party's leaders in behalf of his principles. Such figures tend to open up ideas to debate and moderate their party's more extreme and ill-considered positions.




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