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In his book of a quarter-century ago, "The Cycles of American History," Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote that as scholars look back from a distance, the reputations of some presidents rise while others fall. In our own time, for example, Truman and Eisenhower shine more brightly while the glow of Jefferson and Kennedy has slightly dimmed. How will it be for Sen. Joseph Lieberman after he retires from the U.S. Senate this year? His critics will be unmerciful for a while. They argue that after being rewarded with the vice presidential nomination of the Democratic party in 2000, he was soon an ingrate; that he helped to drive the nation into a senseless war in Iraq; and that he shows no remorse for his transgressions. Democrats in Connecticut tend to agree: in recent polls they turn thumbs down on him — 41percent approval, 46 percent disapproval. Yet I would wager that in the rear view mirror of history, Lieberman will look much, much better. Washington is likely to become ever more dysfunctional in the years immediately ahead. Perhaps this presidential election will bring a honeymoon period, but it is likely we will soon return to a politics of red tooth and claw.


Gergen, David. "Why We Need More Joe Liebermans." Hartford Courant, November 16, 2012.