The media like a simple story line -- and Joe Lieberman's defeat in the Connecticut Senate primary fits the bill: Pro-war senator goes down. Anti-war progressives ascendant, Republicans gleeful, and so forth. But Lieberman is more than an ally in the Bush administration's dissembling on Iraq. He is yet another example of someone who came to Washington as a purported idealist and turned into a creature of the capital's big-money culture. Lieberman's loss is a loss for Cheney and Rumsfeld to be sure, but it's also a loss for an army of sleazy political operatives and consultants.
While Lieberman is best known outside of Washington for his neocon views, he's famous in the capital for his undying support for corporate causes. There are countless examples: Remember Lieberman's role in blocking the reforms of stock option accounting that former SEC chair Arthur Levitt was trying to enact? This was a question of honest accounting that became part and parcel of the corporate corruption scandals of recent years, and Lieberman was a champion of the wrong side.
Beyond that, Lieberman happily has done the bidding of the pharmaceutical companies, the insurance companies and many others, thus establishing an unsavory underside to his more admirable record on environmental and other issues. And of course, his support of and continued rationalization of the Iraq invasion, like many of Lieberman's other stances, has served chiefly to benefit large corporations, in this case the "national security/homeland defense" industry that got a huge boost from Bush's reckless military adventurism. It's no great surprise to learn that Karl Rove called Lieberman the other day after his loss, and described him as a "friend."
Lieberman and his defenders have tried to portray his brand of politics as "centrism." But it has little to do with mainstream voters and much to do with the money culture of Washington of which many Democrats have become a part. And yet, Ralph Nader is wrong in his blanket condemnations of Democrats: You still are more likely to find someone willing to stand up to the big money boys among Democrats than Republicans. But the gap is narrowing. Voters sense it.
There is more at the website. It's a sad picture, but knowledge is power. It is why the Democratic Party never seems to take a stand and never live up to its obligations as the "loyal opposition".