Tough Times for Holy Joe

David Broder's column today is not so much an evaluation of the primary fight Joe Lieberman finds himself in as just an excuse to let Lieberman sound off about what a great bipartisan statesman he is:

"We have an incumbent senator who is quite popular in the state; we have an opportunity to elect three Democratic congressional challengers; we have a very tough race for governor. Why would we want to challenge an incumbent senator who could lead the other candidates to victory?"

The answer is simple: the war, which has lost support among Connecticut voters, especially those likely to vote in a Democratic primary in the heart of summer-vacation season.

Broder hardly mentions Lieberman's opponent, Ned Lamont, instead giving the incumbent a chance to preen himself a bit more:

"I know I'm taking a position that is not popular within the party," Lieberman said, "but that is a challenge for the party — whether it will accept diversity of opinion or is on a kind of crusade or jihad of its own to have everybody toe the line. No successful political party has ever done that."

His reputation for sanctimony notwithstanding — who would fill their shoes in a senate without a Lieberman and a Santorum? — Lieberman is not exactly being honest here. To the extent the Democrats have had a coherent party line, it's been to snipe at Bush's foreign policy only when it's absolutely safe to do so. Lamont, who is outspokenly antiwar, is one broadening the party's politics, not Lieberman.


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