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Posted by on Aug 19, 2008 in Politics | 13 comments

Will McCain’s “Game Changing” Vice Presidential Pick Be Lieberman?


Will Republican presumptive Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s Vice Presidential pick be independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman? Several reports have suggested over the past few weeks that it could be — including this latest one. And each report is stronger than the last…

Given the number of stories about Al Gore’s 2000 running mate being in serious consideration for a McCain nod, this could be several things: a political feeler, political misdirection or a series of reports with solid reporting that strongly suggest Lieberman could wind up McCain’s Veep. Lieberman would make history several ways: first Jewish-American to run for Veep in 2000, first Jewish-American to run for Veep on the Democratic ticket, first Jewish-American to run as Veep on the GOP ticket and the first man to run as Vice President on both major party tickets. (And, possibly, the first American to lose as a Vice Presidential candidate on both tickets).

But would it be game changing?

The argument is that Lieberman is someone who reaches across the aisle, and he isn’t a Republican, so his selection would show McCain is a true bipartisan Senator. But Lieberman over the past year has sided with the Republicans on a variety of issues and is increasingly aggressive in his attacks on his former party. Many Democrats don’t even consider him a Democrat anymore — even though he has sided with his old party on a host of important other issues. So if he’s on the ticket McCain can’t count on Lieberman attracting a host of votes from Democrats. There are no signs that today’s Joe Lieberman is a Democratic voter magnet.

Additionally, polls show that independent voters are up for grabs in this election. But independents are also split on the war. Those who oppose the war are unlikely to vote for Lieberman. So it is not a “given” that Lieberman would deliver the independent vote even though his official label is “independent.” Also: many independent voters don’t like seeing politicians question the patriotism of other politicians…as Lieberman recently did with Obama.

Most likely: if Lieberman’s on the ticket it would particularly please some Republicans since Lieberman had been the Republicans’ favorite Democrat — and now he is the Republicans’ favorite independent and bipartisan. Who is no longer considered bipartisan by many Democratic voters.

Another factor: Lieberman on the ticket it would likely energize many Democrats on the left and even center-left who have not been happy with Lieberman’s siding with the administration on war and civil liberties issues to make sure they vote against a McCain-Lieberman ticket.

Some other hitches:

The National Review’s Rich Lowery argues that from a Republican standpoint, choosing Lieberman would require the tacking on of special conditions and prove a risky choice.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s True Emperor has given his thumbs down…

Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party’s Ultimate Unofficial Superdelegate, has made it clear that he thinks both Lieberman and former (also pro-choice) Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge are conservative-credential and acceptability challenged (i.e., stink as choices) for Veep, ABC reports:

[Limbaugh said:] “This is crap. What is this about picking a liberal Democrat or a liberal Republican? McCain has already seen to it that he can walk across the aisle that he’s the top of the ticket. If anybody is going to attract moderates it’s going to be the top of the ticket guy. He’s not going to help himself any additional way, he’s going to hurt himself by putting a liberal or a liberal Republican on this ticket, particularly pro-choice. If they do that, if the McCain camp does that, they will have effectively destroyed the Republican party and pushed the conservative movement into the bleachers.”

Or perhaps some folks to Libertarian candidate Bob Barr?

Game-changing? Unlikely.

Attention getting? Most-assuredly yes…

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • SteveK

    Oh dear God I hope so!

  • Ricorun

    Other than the fact that Lieberman and McCain are in many ways two peas in a pod, and good friends, I don’t see any other logic in this choice. He won’t carry CT, or anywhere else in New England. He might help in FL a little, but probably not that much. He’d put a few southern states in play for the Dems, and probably wouldn’t help the GOP in the west. Additionally, my opinion is that McCain’s grip on his far right is still tenuous. A Lieberman pick could spell the death knell on that. So again, I don’t see the logic.

  • AustinRoth

    Dick Cheney.

  • Would anyone ever want Lieberman to be one heart beat away from being president? Will this neocon nightmare ever end?!

  • elrod

    Lieberman would be a terrible pick for McCain. He would deflate the Right because of his abortion views, and he would energize the Left even more. And Independents, including in Connecticut, don’t like him anymore.

    Tim Pawlenty is McCain’s best option.

  • StockBoySF

    “Tim Pawlenty is McCain’s best option.”

    Yup, elrod- I agree with you on that one.

    If Obama picks a Republican like Hagel, then McCain will probably pick Lieberman. That would be an interesting race. I would like to know if McCain’s decision will be based on Obama’s….

  • pacatrue

    Hagel will be offered a Cabinet post. I can’t see him being the VP choice as much as I respect him.

  • superdestroyer

    Talk of Lieberman just demonstrates that the Repubican Party is in full collapse Nominating a neo-con like Lieberman would signal to social conservatvies, fiscal conservatives, and liebertarians Republicans that they are no longer welcome in the Republican Party.

    I assume that the advisors promoting Lieberman believe that the Republican party needs to move to the left and become some sort of bigger government, compassionate conservative party.

  • Kathryn

    John McCain is running away from his maverick past as fast as a Jamaican sprinter. El Rushbo said no to Joe and that is that (could you imagine John Stewart having a similiar veto over the Democrat pick?). His Rove directed campaign will never cross Rush. I saw someone mention that this is just a way to make Mormon Mitt more acceptable to the hard core Dobson crowd. Sounds like that could be the reason to me.

  • RevDave

    oh please no – this country cannot survive listening to old Joe’s constant whine for the next couple of months – but he will help Gramps McCain with his daily prune intake.

  • christoofar

    LIEberman pro-choice? I will never forget an interview I saw with him & his wife,during the 2000 election, when asked about his position in regards to a woman’s reproductive choices. I’ve never seen a more uncomfortable look on a politician’s face before or since, & the resulting rambling non-answer out of his mouth convinced me he was full of bat guano. He later hoodwinked both Planned Parenthood & NARAL into supporting him for re-election, only for him to vote to seat Sam Alito in the Supreme Court.

  • DLS

    What I find amusing is that so much criticism of Lieberman by libs and Dems at this very time is what McCain has been rightfully criticized for, for ages — defying the “party faithful” and the more ideologically true, while seeking attention.

    Given that criticism in particular, Lieberman is probably the most compatible VP possible this year for McCain, but it wouldn’t do anything positive for McCain’s campaign. McCain needs a real conservative as a VP choice in order not to keep losing people. (They may vote for Obama in protest or just stay home, not vote.)

  • DLS

    “I assume that the advisors promoting Lieberman believe that the Republican party needs to move to the left and become some sort of bigger government, compassionate conservative party.”

    A.k.a., “moderate” [rolling eyes]

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