January 1, 2006  

To Sen. Joseph Lieberman

For his courage — and possible political suicide — in following his conscience in regard to Iraq. Like McCain, Lieberman has, when necessary, been a severe critic of the administration’s handling of the war. Yet he has not allowed that, or any more obvious partisan calculation or anger at President Bush, to cloud his strategic judgment about the need to prevail in Iraq, or about our prospects of doing so.

The idea of a “loyal opposition” may have gone out the window with the end of the Cold War and the overheated politics of the Clinton years. It’s not so much that Lieberman stands against the policy tide of Democrats in regard to Iraq. But, like McCain, he seeks to put nation above party; he’d rather lose an election – and he might well lose the Democratic primary if he chooses to run again — than lose a war.

In some ways, the Bush administration has gotten better than it deserved from McCain and Lieberman. But since so many others in Congress deserve a barrage of darts for their performance over the last year, let us end 2005 in a shower of laurels — and in the hope of better political leadership in the year ahead.