Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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More VP Gossip: Kristol Says Lieberman

Bill seems to contradict himself by reporting both that Biden is a pick that reflects weakness and is a strong and experienced leader. He’s right to say that Pawlenty will look puny (without, for example, foreign policy experience) by comparison. Billionaire, perfect hair Romney might be easy prey for the Democrats’ economic populism. And to tell the truth, McCain-Romney would be a really rich guy ticket, with God knows how many houses between them. These are points well taken.

So the "bold" pick (not so bold, in my view, given that the speculation has been there for months) is Lieberman. Pro-lifers shouldn’t worry. What difference would a pro-choice VP make is what Mac has assured us (in a church!) would be a pro-life administration? Pro-lifers, Bill advises, should learn to love this ticket.

I can’t help but think if Bill really wants this result, he shouldn’t have endorsed it. I know lots of people who will view this as "neocon" national security ticket, based on the false premise that national security alone could win the election. There are lots (can’t tell you how many) of Americans who are inclined to vote Republican despite what’s happened in Iraq (such as many Catholics and evangelicals) and others who will be moved primarily by a distinctively conservative take domestic issues--such as energy, health care, taxes, and judicial activism--this fall. Bill might be right that they’re stuck with voting McCain as better than Obama, but they have to be energized actually to vote--as they were in huge numbers in 2004. I really think the choice of Lieberman, as I said before, would compromise the hard-won gains Mac has secured on key domestic issues over the last several weeks, and it would produced a flat convention (at best) with a genuine enthusiasm gap.

Still, John Lewis is right that it would be an authentic choice, one from Mac’s heart.

Discussions - 22 Comments

Peter: You nailed it. If Lieberman is the VP choice I'll very reluctantly vote for McCain (in truth, I'll vote against Obama), and sit on my enthusiasm and my checkbook. It's a scenario that the Libertarian and Conservative parties would relish. The autodestruction of the Republican Party would enter its final stage. Cynicism from the base would crescendo...and very possibly lead to a strengthened third-party movement. What a strange political year. I'm driving through Denver later this week...and will be taking the I-470 bypass so as to avoid the Pepsi Center. Yeah, it's *that* visceral.

If we're thinking along these lines, let's go with Ahnold. Bring California in play. So what if he's not eligible to be President. Let the lawyers argue it out....

Ken--and at least he calls himself a Republican...Gary, you are the kind of guy Mac should be worried about, thanks.

Mac should just say frankly that Lieberman would make a perfect Secy. of Defense in his administration. That would enthuse me. Making him VP would crush the morale of the right, as everyone agrees.

McCain would be hard pressed to justify Joe as #2. He has lately taken such an uncompromising line on the social issues such as abortion -- see his recent radio address, for example -- that he would appear almost ridiculous to undercut his commitment that way.

Sometimes it seems that Kristol' MO as a columnist is to say something well out of the mainstream. If he's right, he gets credit; if he's wrong, no one remembers. I'm not sure how seriously to take this column.

P.S. Is Romney anything close to being a billionaire? I thought he made rather less than that--not that it's a difference that matters much to the average American.

Peter: You're right. Mac should be afraid of my ilk. I read a few minutes ago that Denver is shutting down I-25 where it passes by the Pepsi Center during Obama's acceptance speech. Are the Dems monitoring NLT....and getting nervous? Naming Lieberman as Sec/Def - perhaps with Sec. Gates as his co-Secretary - would do some good. Naming him as VP would be a disaster. My suggestion? Name Mel Gibson as VP. He's richer than Romney, has bona fides with social conservatives, and could re-capture the German vote! There'd be the *additional* positive when Obama - in obvious desperation - jettisoned Biden in favor of Danny Glover...

Apropos to #6: Now that's thinking outside the box!

Gary, Slowly move back closer to the box.


Hey, if George W. Bush can be heralded as like the comic book character 'Batman' then why not make it a Republican motif and have 'Mad Max' or 'Riggs' as vice-president? Perhaps the scholars here would parse the eloquence of Riggs' movie-dialogue as articulating neocon unilateralism in foreign policy. Gibson's movie martyr-complex would counter Obama's messiah complex.

There are three ways to blow this election:

1} Choosing Lieberman;

2} Choosing Ridge; and

3} Choosing Mitt Romney.

Anyone of those men costs you more votes than they gather to you.

And each of those men is being pushed by those who wouldn't mind seeing the issue of abortion swept off the table. Excepting that of Romney, who is being pushed by female Conservatives for various motives............

Kristol is more neo-liberal than neo-conservative. So a died-in-the-wool lefty like Lieberman is right up his ally. The fact that he's Jewish as well is just gravy on the cake. Are there any people as obsessed with their own ethnicity as the Jews?

Yes, John. Those who have a problem with Jews are just as obsessed with their own ethnicity.

Since Jeb Bush isn't a political possibility for VP, I second the opinion expressed below (by slick?) that Fred would be a good choice--that is, if he can resolve to appear at least moderately interested in the campaign. Peter raised the question of age, but Lieberman is actually slightly older than Thompson (though he doesn't look it). Thompson's conservative credentials are solid, if not unimpeachable; he would help satisfy-perhaps even mobilize-the party base without alienating too many of the independents already drawn to McCain.

With '12/'16 in mind, Palin should be given a prominent speaking role at the Convention.

Thanks, Kate.

We have to understand where Kristol is coming from in his boosting of Lieberman (and it ain't ethinic/religous pride). Kristol believies that with near certain Democrat gains in Congress, a conservative domestic reform policy just is not going to happen in the near future. He said as much in his article "The Thin Man" (it was linked by Peter Lawler). For Kristol, the best that conservatives can hope for on domestic policy is a President who defeats or moderates congressional liberalism. Kristol's analysis assumes that conservatives accept this.

For Kristol this is first and foremost a war election and McCain/Lieberman would be a war ticket - and since they hail from different parties it would also be a unity ticket of two men who have been totally brave and consistent on winning the war.

The problem (or maybe just one problem) with Kristol's analysis is that for many Americans (not just conservatives) it isn't JUST a war election. A McCain/Lieberman ticket would be utterly incoherent on the whole range of domestic policy. It would be the clearest possible signal from McCain that all his work on domestic policy is boob bait designed to get him elected so he can take on the REAL work of winning the war. And it wouldn't just hurt him with conservatives. Persuadable voters who rank their economic concerns at the top of their worries would have no reason to trust that McCain recognizes the importance of reformism.

pete, that's right. sara h., i don't think fred is in the running, but he actually might be a bold (not to mention risky) choice.

All McCain has to do now in order to win the election is not screw up. Play good defense. Avoid making a big mistake. Barack v. Hillary has worked out beautifully for McCain. He'll get enough angry Hillary voters and other swing voters (pulling for the "maverick") to win.

Therefore, all he has to do is not piss anyone off. Don't go over the line with the attack ads. And do reasonably well in the debates (keep the anger in check). But this IS John McCain afterall, so it would not surprise me if he just doesn't get it.

Liberman is exactly the mistake that would cause him to lose the election. If McCain is stupid enough to go with Liberman, he DESERVES to lose, and will have nobody to blame but himself. All he needs to do is pick someone who doesn't offend. An invisible man or woman. Let Biden win the debates - who cares? The vote is for POTUS not VP. I think the main factor is that the choice has political (not just business) EXPERIENCE, because that's the main knock against Obama. People have to know that if McCain dies, there's someone with a steady hand to step in.

Let's go through the list...Romney offends (too rich and slick), Liberman offends (not GOP/too liberal), Huckabee offends (bible thumper - there go the Hillary votes), Whitman (no political experience), Palin (too little political experience). I'm not that familiar with Ridge, but I think his connection to Bush makes him a BIG mistake. So who does that leave us with? As I said before - Fred doesn't really offend anyone. Would make conservatives happy, but doesn't really turn off the independents and crossover voters. Sure, two old white men don't look great, but who else is there? Is there a politically experienced, relatively neutral woman who people would trust in case McCain died? Kay Bailey Hutchison has been mentioned. Not sure about her. How about Elizabeth Dole?

Interesting that you mention Elizabeth Dole. That would keep the streak alive. Since 1976, every GOP ticket has featued a Bush or a Dole.

Palin for VP, who, by the way, has more government experience than George Washington did when he came to office!

What, you mean that means nothing since it was over 200 years ago and today is different?

Same argument can be used against the Constitution and our Founder's intent and reasoning!

Once past the convention, Lieberman is a reasonable choice. For everyone like Gary Seaton, or me for that matter, who finds him an uncomfortable choice, there are a dozen less conservatively principled voters who will appreciate the non-partisan nature of the ticket. It is just the sort of thing to create buzz in the media and McCain needs that sort of buzz for the electorate at large. What the heck would Lieberman as VP do to the economy or anything else? McCain can give him something relatively harmless to do once in office and retire him in four years with honor and pick some rising Republican star for the next campaign.

However, getting Lieberman through the convention is another matter and I will be amazed if it happens.

First Santorum is suggested as a VP, and now 'Frederick of Hollywood'? I suggest a McCain-Thompson ad in which they are both working to 'shrink government' the way some movie-set builder is trying to 'shrink the prostate'.

Stert-man, I gotta admit I chuckled.

There you are Stertinius, ------------ you're getting your props.

There's a perfect example of the unfailing fair-mindedness of an American Conservative. Not likely to see the equivalent over at the Daily Kos, that's for damn sure.

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