Now that Joseph Lieberman can see the end of his days in the U.S. Senate, many are examining one of the more fascinating careers of the last few decades of American politics.
Lieberman certainly has his critics — on all sides. Most of the Connecticut senator's critics come from the left, a political agenda he embraced early in his career, but an area that he moved away from in the last decade. Supporters call him independent and free-thinking, while others characterize him as a flip-flopper. The latter is hard to ignore, considering he was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, yet he endorsed his friend, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), for president in 2008. But when it comes to environmental policy, Lieberman's allegiances are consistent.
Yet three years later, Lieberman joined forces with Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), back when Republicans and Democrats tried to do things together. The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 was the cap-and-trade bill, but it failed. Two years later, Lieberman joined forces with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for another cap-and-trade bill, but with tensions high in the Senate and the difficulty of corralling Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the bill never had a chance.
The environment is an interesting legacy for Lieberman; it's one with few blemishes. Lieberman certainly has an odd reputation: he's a senator who could work with Democrats and Republicans but who could be equally difficult for both parties to deal with at times. He has also been even harder to defeat — just ask Ned Lamont.
Over the next two years there will be discussion about whom Lieberman worked with and whom he worked against, but it's clear that almost every time he could, he worked to protect the environment.
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