Friday, August 15, 2008

"The Argument for Lieberman"?

John Podhoretz has written a piece titled “The Argument for Lieberman.” In it, he writes:
"McCain's most dramatic possible play would be the selection of Lieberman -- a Democrat who was only eight years earlier his party's nominee for vice president and, after losing his own party's line in a Senate reelection bid in 2006 and winning instead as an independent, now calls himself an Independent Democrat. In selecting Lieberman, McCain would be doubling down on the central bet of his candidacy -- that aexperience, gravitas, and a willingness to buck the leaders of his own party out of a sense of integrity and what the American people need will trump youth-dynamism-charisma. In choosing Lieberman, McCain can credibly say that he is the candidate of change in 2008 -- a candidate of political change, willing to throw out partisan categories in pursuit of two specific goals."

In a world where McCain did not have to consider a VP based on his geographic or ideological weaknesses, I believe he would pick Lieberman. I also think he may have picked him if Obama selected Chuck Hagel (which seems less likely now than it was a few weeks ago). But as it stands, Lieberman doesn’t give McCain any votes; they have very similar foreign policy positions, and even though Lieberman leans to the left on social and domestic issues, the activist base of the Democratic Party hates the man with a red hot passion. Taking a stroll through Daily Kos and the Huffington Post any day of the week will reassure you of that; these folks are not going to be pulled to his campaign because he has someone on the ticket that supports Democratic initiatives.

John feels that having Lieberman on the ticket will confirm McCain’s willingness to cross political divides to win the war, and this is the strongest case for having Joe on the ticket. Like a lot of us who still fit somewhere on the left, and yet have supported candidates on the right who we generally disagree with on cultural and social issues, to have McCain choose a candidate at odds with his party’s conservative and religious base would speak volumes for his commitment to making the fight we are in a bipartisan effort. It will also piss off that base to no end, and the votes he may lose from having Lieberman on the ticket would likely outweigh those he gains.


TNC said...

We've had this conversation before.

This is exactly the sort of wishful thinking I engage in from time to time. But you are correct in pointing out that Lieberman will not bring in many votes, at least not in most places that will make a difference. Sure, he'll get some California, NY, NJ and IL Jews to vote Republican but all of those states are solidly Blue.

Where it might make a difference is Florida. Certainly an important state but I have a feeling the number of Jews living in Fl. who will vote for McCain will not dramtically increase if he picked Lieberman. There might be a slight bump but not much.

As we both know, he needs to pick a social conservative Christian as VP if he wants to win. I wish this was not the case but it is. The main elements of the Republican base are:

1) social conservatives
2) defense Hawks (once called anti-communists)
3) fiscal conservatives

you could also add:

4) libertarians
5) nativists

But they are wild-cards this election cycle. Many of the libertarians will likely vote for Barr or Paul and McCain isn't xenophobic enough for the nativists.

Thankfully, McKinney won the Green Party nomination and Nader is the Peace and Freedom candidate so hopefully they will peel some votes away from Obama, especially given his flip-flops on FISA and other issues they care so much about.

NeoConstant said...

I like Lieberman, and I think it would be both a bold, refreshing move as well as a foolish, suicidal one to add him to the ticket.

I see Lieberman filling a Cabinet role, however.

Who do you think the VP's will be? We should know any minute!

Roland Dodds said...

McCain and Obama need to just announce their picks already, so folks like me can stop speculating. The suspense is starting to get to me.
I agree NC, Lieberman simply doesn’t give him any votes and he so he won’t be the pick. The fact that Lieberman is speaking at the RNC convention, and not on the day the VP would, also puts to rest the idea that he is the pick. As long as it’s an individual I have no opinion of, I would not mind it being a social conservative if it means a McCain victory. Although I would prefer it be someone socially liberal, I know I am not in the mainstream of the Republican Party in this regard.

Neo: I can see Lieberman having a role in McCain’s government, which is a much more likely position. As for whom I think the VP will be, I really don’t know at this point; I’ll just have to wait a week to see who picks.

Peter Stanton said...

That would be nice to think of McCain as crossing partisan boundaries, but that was what the McCain of several years ago did. The current McCain is a solid Republican and he needs another to back him up as VP- preferably one who's not as new to being fully conservative.