The stormy relationship between Joe Lieberman and the Democrats is proving to be a bottomless source of inspiration for political reporters and philosophers of our time. Occasionally somebody writes something that can make you smarter. But not always. In the smart category is this piece in Time magazine by Massimo Calabrese, titled “The Loneliest Senator: Can the Democrats Forgive Joe Lieberman?”
Calabrese isn’t very sanguine on whether the rancor will go away.
Most of the tension may never abate. While fellow Democrats in the Senate treat him much as they always have, he is a pariah to the fundraisers, liberal activists and netroots bloggers who have largely engineered the party’s comeback since 2006.
On the other hand, Calabrese is pretty clear that they should make the effort to patch things up. Lieberman is turning out to be one of the White House’s more important allies in the Senate, Calabrese writes. He’s served as a bridge to Republicans at moments when no one else on the Democratic side had the relationships. As a an example, he’s taken the lead role, at White House request, in the effort to draft and enact legislation ending the current Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays in the military.
It is the latest bit of cooperation between the President and the man the party nominated to be its Vice President a decade ago. Over the past year, Lieberman has rounded up votes and searched for compromise on issues ranging from the stimulus bill to energy legislation and has worked behind the scenes to grease the wheels for a few of the Administration’s most controversial nominees.
“There is a certain irony to this,” Lieberman tells Calabrese.
“I have been called in to help the Obama Administration for the very reason that has made some Democrats unhappy with me, which is that I have ongoing, trusting relationships with some of the Republicans.”
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