Why did Lieberman lose on Tuesday? Most commentators are pointing to his unqualified and sycophantic support of Bush's policy of unrestrained war, and no doubt that's what bought him the primary in the first place. But the truth is he should have won that primary, and there's no reason he couldn't have won it handily.
So why did he lose? His key strategic mistake was leaving open the option of running as an independent. Please. This is a primary! The people who vote in primaries are party loyalists. They're not going to have any patience at all for a guy who doesn't display the same loyalty. By covering his ass and allowing the independent bid to go foward at the same time he ran for the Democratic nomination, he earned his loss.
The faux hand-wringing among the conservatives about this is totally disingenuous, as is Joe's own sense of self-importance. He seems to think that he's the only thing keeping this country together. But the truth is he's always been a mediocre Senator that the voters of Connecticut supported by default (again, I speak from experience, having voted for him twice simply because there was no other genuine option). Once his default status was taken away, voters flocked to someone else. Joe Liberman was simply never as important as he thought he was.
Josh Marshall says it well, I think:
Joe Lieberman is not a world-historical figure.
He's not fighting some long twilight struggle.
He thinks he's both. But he's not.
The heart of the matter here is that everyone knows Joe in DC. They like him. They think he's a nice guy, which he is. His staff likes him, which also makes him seem like a nice guy. He's schmoozed the city for two decades.
But really he's just a pol who ignored his constituents, went into serious denial about a major foreign policy disaster, was more lockstep with the president's non-policy than many Republicans, and got bounced by his constituents.
That's politics. And that's accountability. And, really? It's not that big a deal.