Sunday, January 27, 2008


It occurs to me, as I watch Sen. John McCain at his latest campaign appearance in Florida, that Sen. Joe Lieberman is bucking for a second go round as the vice presidential nominee. Lieberman is standing shoulder to shoulder with McCain touting bi-partisanship and the ability of McCain to work with people on both sides of the aisle effectively. As a neoconservative, Lieberman continues to cling to whatever Democratic wake is drifting along behind him in his past. You might have to look very hard, as Lieberman hasn't been anything close to a Democrat for the better part of the last decade.

It's politically convenient for Lieberman to call himself a Democrat, as it affords him the ability to seem middle of the road. In fact, Lieberman is a conservative and in many ways a neocon. He belongs in the company of Bush, Cheney, and William Kristol. He's a closet member of the Project for the New American Century.

The interesting thing to me, at this point, is whether or not he is bucking for the VP nomination alongside "Maverick" McCain. Whatever chance McCain has at victory in the general election, should he move ahead to win the GOP nomination, would quickly evaporate with Lieberman as his running mate. Any appeal that McCain would have with independent voters would be compromised by Lieberman. Yes, Joe is technically an Independent (with a capital "I") and, yes, he might attract some support from conservative North Easterners, but think about it this way. Two white-haired Senators with no attachment to the South would be facing either the first female candidate or the first "African-American" candidate and the prospect of a pairing with a Southern democrat. Two white-haired cranks, symbolic of the Bush administration's failed war campaign, against a duo of Democrats, more youthful in appearance and promising a message of change.

As a Democrat, I welcome any McCain/Lieberman ticket. As an American, I pray that John McCain is smarter than that. I pray that he is smart enough to take the endorsement, make his appearance, and send Joe on his way. If this presidential campaign is going to be the most dynamic and spirited campaign in generations, it will require that each nominee choose their running mate very carefully. McCain needs a young, vibrant candidate with ties to the South. In the GOP that might mean finding a lesser known member of the party with the potential for a more inspirational image. Actually, as McCain is weak with the religious Right block, as well as the Southern block, he might be wise to take on Mike Huckabee as his running mate. Huckabee won Iowa and has the potential to do very well in the Southern primaries.

Whatever he does, Joe Lieberman would be a mistake. As an election strategy it would be a mistake, and as the right thing to do it would be a mistake.

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