Tuesday, 29 January 2013

the last liberal

I don't post often about American politics, largely because I am not very knowledgeable about it. But there are those in that world I admire, and Joe Lieberman is one of them. Read about him here as he prepares to leave the Senate. He is loathed by most of his erstwhile party, the Democrats, for supporting the Iraq War. Well, I have nailed my colours to that particular mast many times, so it will not be news to readers that I supported the Iraq War, that I voted for it enthusiastically in the House of Commons in 2003, and that I was, and remain, a Blairite and supporter of intervention in furtherance of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I haven't always been that way, and went into the Commons in 1997 quite a long way from there. But it was Tony Blair, his leadership and especially the Chicago Doctrine, that helped me to see things differently.

People outside politics often forget, or do not realise, that there is such a thing as voting and acting on principle when that principle leads you to support the government of the day - and that voting against, or publicly opposing, the leadership line is not always principled, but is often done for cheap populist reasons. Joe Lieberman has always been a principled politician. In the end he stood, and won, as an independent. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from his political career. Maybe if you don't trim to your party's line, if you can't or won't, then outside the party is the place to be.

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