The real maverick

So when Mr. Lieberman says he’s going to filibuster, he’s not just working against a piece of legislation. He’s taking on an almost religious faith—and the opportunity to push through something Democrats believe will secure their place in history.

In fairness to the Democrats, it’s hardly unreasonable to be irritated with a man who endorses a Republican for president and opposes Democrats on its signature issues. Surely, however, these signature issues speak to what has happened to the Democratic Party. It wasn’t so long ago that the centrist Democratic Leadership Council was thought to be the party’s future.

That’s all vanished now, and with it the Democratic center. Though there are still Democrats who have centrist voting records, they have no movement. The animating philosophy today comes from Netroots Nation, MoveOn, and so on. Were it not for the war, Mr. Lieberman likely would never have lost the 2006 Democratic primary, or become the maverick on gut Democratic issues.

In the end, that primary may have been the liberation of Joe Lieberman.