Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two Out

It looks like two Democratic senators are heading for retirement next year. Kent Conrad of North Dakota won’t seek re-election, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut will hang it up, too. If you’re handicapping the races, you can pretty much count on North Dakota going to the GOP with Mr. Conrad’s successor while chances are that Connecticut will stay with the Democrats, although who will run isn’t clear yet.

I’m not one of those people who has a passionate dislike for Mr. Lieberman because of his recent forays into being a gadfly to the Democrats, including supporting the war in Iraq and backing John McCain in 2008. He ran as an independent in 2006 after losing the primary to Ned Lamont just to be a nudge, I think, and his on-screen persona had all the appeal of the cartoon character Droopy Dog. And yet he was a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. But in the end I think he’ll be remembered as a senator who pretty much did what he wanted for himself rather than for the people he represented, and I’m pretty sure that there are a number of Democrats in Washington and Connecticut who are relieved to hear that he’s retiring.