April 30, 2008

Lieberman for Veep?

By: Sonny Bunch

I know and respect Stu Rothenberg a great deal–he has a keen political mind and the Rothenberg Political Report (which he produces with an assist from Nathan Gonzales) is a must-read. I have to admit to some puzzlement though, when, in yesterday’s Roll Call, he suggests that Joseph Lieberman is the only “perfect candidate for veep.”

Now, there’s no doubt that the two get along swimmingly and share the same mind on the most important issues of the day, namely the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat of a nuclear Iran. And adding Lieberman to the ticket would provide a veneer of bipartisanship, I suppose (though you’d have to discount the fact that Lieberman isn’t, strictly speaking, a Democrat any more). But the only perfect choice? Might I suggest a few of the problems with this choice? Don’t mind if I do.

–McCain doesn’t need to play up the bipartisan angle any more than he already has. He polls well among Dems and Independents, and he’s not going to pick off any stragglers by adding a hawk to the team. (I’d also add that I don’t think the Democratic rank and file have any special love for Lieberman right now anyway…)
–Rather, McCain needs to shore up his base. Elections are won and lost by turning out your base…the crossover vote is nice, but if pro-lifers stay home McCain is finished. Lieberman sure isn’t going to help bring them to the polls.
–Lieberman adds nothing in terms of electoral-college-math. This is an overrated effect (Cheney added nothing to Bush, after all, and Edwards failed to pick up North Carolina in ’04 for Kerry), but it’s still something to consider. Considering the way he’s polling in Connecticut at the moment, he probably wouldn’t even bring Connecticut back into the GOP fold.*

I like Lieberman, and I think he’d make an amazing SecDef in a potential McCain administration, but I don’t think he’s a particularly logical choice for the Veep slot…Sorry, Stu. (Fortunately, Mr. Rothenberg will never see this…he despises bloggers. Never reads ’em.)

*By the way, does anyone else find it kind of bizarre that ‘Kos is paying for a poll in 2008 asking if people would vote for Lamont over Lieberman if there was a do-over? Talk about living in the past. Give it up, man!