Lieberman for GOP VP?

Bill Kristol is so enamored of Joe Lieberman’s speeches on fighting the Islamist threat that he’s proposing a wild idea:

What the heck–offer him the vice presidency. (Rudy, you might try State or Defense, since you’ll need a pro-life running mate.) But McCain-Lieberman, Thompson-Lieberman, Romney-Lieberman, Huckabee-Lieberman–those sound like winning tickets to us. It’s true, given the behavior of the congressional Democrats, the GOP nominee might well win with a more conventional running mate. But why settle for a victory if you can have a realignment?

The Corner‘s Peter Wehner enthusiastically agrees.

Given that I have no idea which of the four leading contenders will win the Republican nomination, I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to whom he’ll pick as his running mate. I can say with supreme confidence, however, that it won’t be Joe Lieberman.

The idea, frankly, is baffling. Yes, Lieberman is a foreign policy hawk. He’s probably even a neocon. Even to the extent that out-of-favor agenda is somehow the path to retaining the White House, however, it makes no sense to chose a backup quarterback who would install an entirely different domestic policy game plan were the starter to go out.

Lieberman is a moderate liberal who won the Democratic party’s vice presidential nod in 2000. He became anathema to his old party within a few years almost solely on the single issue of the Iraq War. Why on earth would a conservative Republican want him on the ticket?

It would make far, far more sense to pick a young, up-and-coming Republican governor for the number two spot. Surely, it wouldn’t be hard to find one who shares the nominee’s basic vision on foreign and domestic policy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Someone ought to make Bill Kristol lie down. A few weeks ago he was feeling confident about GOP prospects in 2008. Don’t forget the story about documents that said Sadaam training thousands of terrorists in the days leading up to the Iraq invasion. Where have those documents been seen of late? I think the Bush administration would have produced them long ago.

    Kristol lives in some conservative fantasyland. The sad part is, people pay for and belive his tahe.

  2. Derrick says:

    Someone ought to make Bill Kristol lie down. A few weeks ago he was feeling confident about GOP prospects in 2008.

    Feeling confidant? Kristol sounded like he was willing to wager his first born. He really is kind of a lunatic despite his lofty positions.

    I think Dems would absolutely LOVE to see Lieberman as a VP candidate. Joe did a better job than Lynne Cheney in making Dick look warm & cuddly. And I’m sure his “War all of the time” philosophy would go over real well with the general public.

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    I suppose there are four groups you need to look at when picking a VP (aside from the issue of the VP replacing you if you get the ultimate pink slip).

    Group 1 is those who will stay home because of the VP pick. They won’t vote for your opponent, but they won’t vote for you. Note that this could be they were going to vote for your opponent, but now go neutral. Most likely this is people who you could have had.

    Group 2 is those who will vote for you because of your VP pick. This is the theory behind the regional or special interest choice of VP.

    Group 3 is those who will not vote for you whomever your VP pick is.

    Group 4 is those who will vote for you whomever your VP pick is.

    You ignore group 3 and 4. You compare the size of group 2 to the group 1 and make your decision.

    Cheney jokes about doing his job on the ticket and delivering Wyoming for Bush. I suspect that when all is said and done, Cheney was a wash in 2000 and 2004. He didn’t add many votes and didn’t lose many votes. The really virulent Cheney haters have BDS such that they wouldn’t have voted for Bush anyway.

    So that was a “safe choice” aka a ‘do no harm’ choice.

    Lieberman would be a poor choice because he wouldn’t add many votes (could he turn CT?) but would likely turn off as many republicans because of Lieberman’s liberal-ness in all but the war.

    The republicans and democrats chose their conventions as ‘offensive’ weapons. Going to places that they don’t normally win but have a chance of turning. I suspect that the VP pick will be the same for the GOP except for Rudy. Rudy will likely pick a combination regional/special interest candidate to shore up the GOP wing while he himself goes after the middle. The rest of the GOP pack would likely do the opposite and pick a candidate who could turn a state (e.g. Wisconsin or Ohio) that would be worthwhile to turn (aka not Wyoming) and doable (e.g. Not Texas or Mass.) CT’s 7 EV isn’t a big enough prize and isn’t ‘doable’ enough to pick Lieberman.

  4. Andy says:

    yetanotherjohn, that is way more thought (and a good post) than Kristol put into this silly idea. I’m pretty sure he started with “Lieberman wants to kill as many brown people as I do,” and left it at that.