Until yesterday, I hadn't posted on the Lieberman/Lamont race. I don't have particularly strong feelings about it and I think its importance is being greatly exaggerated. But I can't say I'm sad about the result.
Like many people, Lieberman's priorities annoyed me. He (mostly) votes against the GOP, but he seems to spend his time criticizing liberals rather than going after the Republicans who have made a mess of the federal government. In short, he's still fighting the "new"/"old" Democrat wars of the 1980s-1990s.
And then it came to me -- Lieberman is annoying for the same reason as Mickey Kaus, another alleged left-of-center figure who was baptized in the intra-Democratic battles of the old days. As Kevin Drum noted recently, Kaus has an annoying fetish for criticizing the left in an effort to not be "partisan" or "predictable":
There's nothing wrong with a liberal criticizing liberal policies he finds indefensible. It's all part of the show. But the rest of us can judge writers and pundits only by what they say, not by what's in their heart of hearts. If the only thing you do is snipe at liberal policies, the only reasonable conclusion is that this represents the sum total of what you really care about. And if that's the only thing you care about even in our current era of rampant conservative extremism, Bush-inspired governmental incompetence, and Rovian dedication to ever-increasing polarization as a positive political good, it doesn't suggest a very robust commitment to liberal principles.
Sound like any Connecticut senators you know?
[Disclaimer: I don't consider myself a liberal and I have plenty of objections to liberalism. But the world of Congressional bipartisanship is gone. The result is that Lieberman has become an enabler of the Republican agenda and the Bush administration's failed approach to the war in Iraq.]
Update 8/10 6:07 PM: In the course of defending Lieberman, TNR's Peter Beinart summarizes my view of Joe perfectly:
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.