If I were a betting man and I had to pick a Democratic candidate to beat the “”W”” in the 2004 presidential election, I would place my money on Joe Lieberman.

If the Democrats are smart, and want any kind of chance in 2004, Lieberman is their best bet.

Lieberman, referred to as “”the conscience of the Senate,”” brings a solid moral background to the table and feels strongly on issues like education, civil rights and the environment.

Lieberman, a self-proclaimed centrist, can effectively close the gap and reach out to those all-important independent voters.

He comes across as his own guy with his own ideals and his own way of doing things.

Lieberman will attract some churchgoing, moral voters because of his strong family values and his moral character.

Lieberman shows a real willingness to work with Republicans on issues. He worked with conservative Republican Sen. Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania on an economic development package that favored businesses.

Lieberman is one of the few Democrats who you won’t see constantly bashing Republicans and their leadership. Contrast that with the many times we have seen the Democratic leadership stand in front of their podiums and slop down reason after reason why the Republicans are not doing a good job, all the while offering the same type of solutions — just packaged differently.

In the areas of national security and foreign affairs, Lieberman comes across as confident and informed. He feels strongly that the U.S. should focus on disarming Iraq, but rightfully shows his concern over the U.S.’s lack of action or attention toward North Korea.

The biggest obstacles that Lieberman could face will come from his own party. He has constantly been at odds with some of the more liberal members of his party. These differences could cause Lieberman’s Democratic Party nomination bid to be an uphill battle from the start.

However, if the Democratic Party wants to have a betting chance, it needs to nominate a leader, not just another Democratic poster boy.

Jeff Ganong, Lisbon Falls

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