Paul Greenberg

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Democratic Party. Because if Tuesday's election returns in Connecticut are any indication, it's taking a well-traveled road - right over a cliff.

Think about it: The Dems now have lost two successive presidential elections, they've been unable to break the GOP's hold on Congress that dates back to the watershed congressional elections of 1994, and now they've managed to defeat . . . Joe Lieberman.

And even Lonesome Joe, though down and lonesomer, may not be out, since he plans to come back as an "independent Democratic" candidate in November. That's when he hopes all those blue-collar Democrats in his state, aka Reagan Democrats, will help him overcome his opponent's millions and blogs.

But even if he wins, the Democratic Party will have lost its last honest-to-goodness Harry Truman/John F. Kennedy/Scoop Jackson figure. Which would be a pity - and a bad sign for the future. Because when the party loses touch with the peace-through-strength strain of its history, it loses touch with a lot of voters.

While other leading Democrats are busy triangulating when it comes to this increasingly unpopular war in Iraq, Lonesomer Joe is sticking with his convictions. Namely, his belief that the West is now engaged in another worldwide struggle against an implacable, fanatical foe - a contest it had better win, whether the shifting battlefield is in Iraq, on the Israeli-Lebanese border, Ground Zero in Manhattan, or wherever suicide bombers strike.

Yes, it is a disparate enemy we face, but so was the peculiar axis of German Nazis, Italian fascists and Japanese imperialists. But they were united in their hatred of freedom. Just as Iran's mullahs and their accessories are today. Even if their enablers in the Western world seem unable to recognize as much. Talk abut retro, it's hard to read the news today without feeling intimations of the 1930s.

Joe Lieberman now has paid the price for following his conscience instead of the public opinion polls. He didn't have to. He could have softened his support for this war, taken refuge in slippery clinton clauses, and remained a Democrat in good standing. But as he said in his combination concession speech and campaign opener No. 2, that's not who he is.

Whatever now happens to Sen. Lieberman's political career isn't nearly as important as what is happening to his party, which is fast being converted into a subsidiary of MoveOn.org.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.