Joe Lieberman

The retirement of Joe Lieberman is the culmination of a series of domestic repercussions of the Iraq war. The war estranged Lieberman from his party base, which gave rise to a liberal primary challenge in 2006. National Democrats supported Lieberman, but when he lost the primary, they lined up behind the fully-nominated Democrat, infuriating Lieberman and driving him away from his party. Lieberman's final departure from the party became inevitable when he supported, and enthusiastically campaigned for, John McCain in 2008.

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Paul Waldman says: I doubt anyone would deny that at the moment, the Republican Party takes a harsher view of apostasy than their Democratic counterparts.  You know, I think I might be tempted to deny it.  Now, I’ll agree in one set of cases: primary elections in inhospitable states or districts.

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The last poll in Connecticut showed Joe Lieberman a dead man walking. His approval rating was 31%, lower than that of Chris Dodd, who was so unpopular he had to retire rather than face certain defeat. Democratic approval was an astonishingly poor 20-69. But now, fresh off his successful effort to repeal DADT, Joe Lieberman thinks he's back, baby, and he wants to run as a Democrat, reports Brian Beutler: "Some of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus have been very gracious and kind saying they hope I run as a Democrat," he told TPM in an interview Wednesday.

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I love Matt Yglesias's response to Jon Kyl's suggestion that having the Senate work on December 27 would somehow be an insult to Christians: Yglesias proposes a Jews-only session on Christmas Day. Although note that Christmas happens to fall on a Saturday this year; I believe Joe Lieberman will only show up and vote on Shabbat if his vote is really necessary.

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This bumper-sticker headline, borrowed from the sociologist Pauline Bart, speaks beautifully to the latest Wikileaks outpour and the question of what it does and doesn’t mean.  The media theorist Lev Manovich has said that the definitive informational metaphor of our epoch is the database. The database is not just a metaphor, in fact—it’s a certification of what knowledge looks like and how it is to be gained. A metaphor is a carrier, a condensation of meaning. A database is a heap.

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I've seen a couple liberals dissenting from my condemnation of Jack Conway's religious-based attack on Rand Paul. First, here's Matthew Yglesias: This ad has the virtue—not that common in politics—of being accurate. It also has the virtue of raising actual policy issues about the consequences of Paul’s position on tax reform. It’s true that the implication that unorthodox religious belief should disqualify one from office is ugly, but it’s an implication that I think is extremely common in American politics.

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One fascinating angle on Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign for Senate is the question of what kind of Senator she'll be if she wins. In particular, is she going to reinvent herself as a post-partisan centrist?

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A few days ago I wrote about the bizarre sense of disappointment among liberals with the Obama administration, which has rung up the most impressive list of progressive domestic achievements since the Johnson administration. A reader who would like to withhold his name for professional reasons has a thoughtful reply. I'm posting it here, with my own thoughts hopefully to follow next week: What I found frustrating was the claim that the "sheer sullenness of the liberal base does seem to be avoidable and puzzling," which echoes the views Allen & VandeHei attribute this a.m.

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&c

-- Matt Yglesias has me dead to rights here. -- Molly Worthen explains how to defend incivility in politics. -- Jonathan Bernstein says Harry Reid should get credit for hanging on to Joe Lieberman. 

Late last month, Gallup released fresh state-by-state numbers on the electorate’s ideological and partisan identification. These numbers provide both an X-ray of the structure of political competition and a roadmap for November. To grasp the underlying story, I divided each list into a top and bottom 15 and a middle 20—from most to least conservative and from most to least Republican—and then arrayed them in a three by three grid.

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