We see the same negative traits in Joe Lieberman that we saw with "Judge" Harriet Miers - a consistent pattern of telling one group of people one thing and then telling another group of people another. "Judge" Miers, for instance, would tell one group of people that she was pro-life while she would tell another group of people that she was pro-choice. That did not sit well with either side. Joe Lieberman was the same way. He would tell people while campaigning for President that Bush was mismanaging the war. But on the other hand, he wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal completely agreeing 100% with all that George Bush was doing. No group of people, regardless of what party they are for, will respect a person who says one thing to one group of people and says another thing to another group of people.
The defeat of Lieberman is not merely about his support of the war. As the above example shows, it is a much larger issue than that - it is an honesty issue. There is a reason why hawkish Democrats like Cantwell, Feinstein, and Clinton survived being primaried. Nobody has been able to prove that they are dishonest people; there is no evidence of their dishonesty whatsoever. But when you tell one group of people one thing and another group of people another thing, chances are, you are misrepresenting where you stand on the issues.
It is really amazing how little Joe Lieberman cared about how he was robbed in the 2000 election and how he acts like a sore loser when he was beaten fair and square this year. Him and John McCain both share a common trait - they were screwed over royally by the Bush/Rove political machine, and they both submitted like lap dogs to the will of the "great man" as Lieberman called him on the 2004 campaign trail. They both like to tout their "independence" and then both proceed to defer to the almighty wisdom of the President, whose will must not be questioned according to Lieberman. After all, when they are in the presence of greatness, they must not even dream to think for themselves - after all, they are not knowledgeable on these issues.
And this explains one reason why the 2000 election was even close - Joe Lieberman did not believe his own message when campaigning for Vice President. When a candidate does not believe his own messages and believe in his own product, the audience - us - will know it right away. I have won countless chess games because the other guy was mentally beat - even when he was winning or had a chance. He would make one mistake right after another until he had to resign.
So, given that Joe Lieberman did not even believe in his own product, he was dishonest with himself when he accepted the nomination. He never should have accepted the nod to become VP candidate. The responsible thing to do when you don't believe in the product you are trying to sell is to turn down any and all offers to sell that product. After he became World Champion, Bobby Fischer turned down millions of dollars of endorsements because he did not believe in the product in question - that, at least, is an honest approach.
Or let me give another example - we had a case where a sports player was elected team captain and then proceeded to entangle herself in a serious relationship with a boyfriend. She blew off shooting and found herself in the middle of the depth chart instead of near the top. Eventually, she flipped off the coach and quit the team in the middle of practice. All this happened because she was not honest with herself - she should not have accepted the role of captain or continued in it or even stayed on the team if she did not want to do what it took to be successful.
This is all a matter of being honest with yourself. Being honest with yourself saves a world of trouble down the road - if you no longer find a job challenging, you should be honest enough to admit it rather than stay in it and get increasingly sloppy and get in trouble with the boss. Joe Lieberman was not.
And dishonesty with yourself leads to you being dishonest with other people. The player in question led people to believe she was totally happy with being on the team and being one of the players when such was clearly not the case. So, given that Joe Lieberman was dishonest with himself, it is small wonder that he is just as dishonest with others as well when saying one thing to one group of people and then saying another thing to another group of people, for instance.
The thing about dishonesty is that people pick up on it. Even when they do not have all of the details worked out, they still get a gut feeling that Lieberman was not all that he seemed to be. One would have thought that being the Conservative that he is, he would have done well in places like Oklahoma. But he did not; he did poorly. This means that it is not just a matter of Lieberman being conservative. It is a matter of him being dishonest with others because he is dishonest with himself.
The sad thing was, it was possible for people to tell that even back in 2000. Lieberman ran as a Democrat. But the fact that he was endorsed by people like William Buckley should have raised a red flag for Gore - why pick a VP who is supposedly a Democrat, but who is totally comfortable sniping at Clinton along with the right-wingers or soliciting the endorsements of people like Buckley? This means that in the political realm, it is important for us to evaluate the honesty of people and determine whether they are honest or dishonest. I would rather have an honest person who votes with us 50%-70% of the time over a candidate who says they are with us 100% of the time but who is not. Lieberman was neither.
The problem is that too many people fail to evaluate people's honesty because they are telling us stuff we want to hear. I am sure Lieberman told Gore everything he wanted to hear about wanting a uniter for the party and someone who could bring together the right and the left. And I am sure many people failed to evaluate Bush's honesty because he told them what they wanted to hear in both 2000 and 2004. When people tell you stuff that you want to hear, it is easy to bypass the process of evaluating whether a candidate is honest and trustworthy or not. In Bush and Lieberman's cases, the information was out there - but people did not make use of it.
This all comes back to the fact that we have to follow the footsteps of Socrates and Plato and engage in a state of constant questioning - even of our own candidates. We should not blindly accept everything they have to say or limit ourselves to their interests. Otherwise, nothing would ever get changed that needed to be changed - for instance, the legalization of pot. And when a candidate tells us what we want to hear, we should question them most of all- what about this statement or that statement? Does it mean that because of statement X that he believes Y? Through the state of constant questioning, we arrive at truth, which leads to more questions and problems, and so on.
Feingold provided a perfect example of this - when Lieberman and everybody else blindly went along with the Patriot Act, he threw a wrench in the system by standing up and questioning the need to sacrifice our liberties in the name of "stopping terrorism." He understood what the others didn't - that our Constitution does not stop taking effect just because we have just been attacked or are at war. Feingold planted a seed - a seed which led people to realize that it was OK to question the President and that dissent is a vital part of our democracy. He did so as well with NAFTA, No Child Left Behind, the Iraq War, and the Bankruptcy Bill. He did so because he respects the wishes of the people and actually uses what they say to determine his views on the issues.
Lieberman, on the other hand, has completely shut himself out from the people - he supports a war that two-thirds of his constituents oppose and want out of. He undermined the right to filibuster by caving into the right-wingers with the "Extraordinary Circumstances" deal. He ignored the wishes of his constituents by blindly going along with everything the President wanted - symbolized by The Kiss. And as a result, the people no longer respect him. The Connecticut people have spoken - and they want a new Senator.