Ted Cruz Wants Joe Lieberman For Defense Secretary



The junior Senator from Texas thinks he knows who Obama should pick for Secretary of Defense:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has a person in mind to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Joe Lieberman.

Cruz floated the former Connecticut independent senator as a “strong” option to succeed Hagel, who announced his resignation earlier Monday. President Barack Obama has not yet named a proposed replacement.

“One strong option would be former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a member of the president’s own party with deep experience and unshakable commitment to the security of the United States,” Cruz said. “I urge the president to give him full and fair consideration for this critical position.”

Lieberman, who retired from Congress in 2012, was known for his hawkish views on foreign policy that he shared with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The three men were dubbed the Three Amigos.

The former senator, who was the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2000, was recently announced as an honorary co-chairman at the centrist group No Labels.

Other possibilities for Hagel’s replacement include former top Pentagon officials Michèle Flournoy and Ash Carter, as well as Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). But a Reed spokesman said earlier Monday that the senator does not want to be considered for the Defense secretary slot.

The first point worth noting, of course, is that the President is unlikely to give much credibility to Ted Cruz’s advice on matters such as this to begin with. Additionally, given the relationship that Lieberman had with the Administration and his fellow Democrats during his final years in office, the idea of the President appointing him or someone like him to the position seems far-fetched indeed, Given the fact that a primary problem that plagued Hagel’s time in office appears to have been his relationship with the White House, it would seem to be unwise to say the least to appoint someone who is unlikely to have a good relationship with the White House. Additionally, to be completely frank about it, Lieberman doesn’t strike me as someone tempramentally suited to the role of Defense Secretary. Perhaps in the heat of the Gulf War he would have been an appropriate choice, although even then I would have been skeptical, but in today’s era when it’s important to have a voice of reason at the Pentagon rather than a simply a voice for further intervention appointing someone like Lieberman would strike me as a step backwards.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Pearce says:

    Hopefully by the time Cruz starts running for president, at least one good idea will have occurred to him.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “in today’s era when it’s important to have a voice of reason at the Pentagon” and unicorns that fart rose scented rainbows…

    Dog Doug, I too would love to see that, but I will die long before that happens.

  3. KM says:

    Seriously? Are we sure this isn’t Cruz’s idea of trolling?

  4. stonetools says:

    And Eduardo maintains his record of 100 per cent nonsensical positions-
    Seriously, an Ivy League education was wasted on that guy.

  5. Scott says:

    I’m continually amazed at the attention the media give to Sen Cruz. In his two years in office, he has accomplished exactly zero and has displayed a facility for publicity. And, oh by the way, he hasn’t impressed me with his vaunted so-called brillance.

    As for Lieberman, what qualities has he displayed that would lead anyone to think he can lead any organization?

  6. DC Loser says:

    Lieberman is the perfect Republican Neocon SECDEF. He’ll do whatever Bibi orders him to do.

  7. Moosebreath says:

    Because Cruz thinks we are not involved in enough pointless and unwinnable wars…?

  8. PJ says:

    Jon Stewart approves.

    Droopy for SecDef!

  9. C. Clavin says:

    I am a resident of Connecticut. I always thought Lieberman was the Junior Senator from Israel.
    Why give Netanyahoo any more power over us than he already has?

  10. al-Ameda says:

    Reality just can’t be beat.

    Ted Cruz and many evangelicals support Israel largely because they need Israel to be around for the End of Days, at which point Jesus returns, and most people will be vaporized, with the exception of all the good folks like Ted and his friends, who will go to heaven.

  11. Franklin says:

    Ted Cruz Wants Joe Lieberman For Defense Secretary

    … and he can have that wish. As soon as he’s elected President.

  12. MikeSJ says:

    I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Constitution about Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

    Seeing Holy Joe in a high visibility government position again certainly qualifies.

  13. Turgid Jacobian says:

    The only thing Senator Lieberman ever defended was his seat.

  14. Fredw says:

    It is hard to imagine just how big a disaster Lieberman would be as Defense Secretary. If this indicates the quality of Ted Cruz’s selections for his cabinet, he just lost my vote.

  15. CS says:

    @al-Ameda: Well, involving Lieberman in defence decision making certainly increases the chance of most people being vaporized.