Lieberman Becomes The Zell Miller of 2008

The big story today is that Joe Lieberman is planning to announce an endorsement for John McCain tomorrow on the Today Show. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as Lieberman already indicated that he might endorse a Republican who shared his views on Iraq. Perhaps Lieberman can even get McCain to take back his claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

Lieberman and McCain do differ on a number of issues but supporting McCain as opposed to the other Republican candidates might make sense for a former Democrat who supports the war. McCain might be the least objectionable Republican candidate as at least he opposes torture, does not deny the problems created by climate change, has tangled with the religious right, and isn’t as xenophobic as many other Republicans on immigration.

It does show how pathetic the Republican choices are when a candidate can stand out for supporting compliance with the Geneva Conventions and not denying the consensus of scientific thought. Such characteristics should be among the minimum requirements before a candidate can be considered, not characteristics which cause one to stand out within his party.

The big question is whether Lieberman’s endorsement will help McCain any more than Zell Miller helped the Republicans in 2004. Following McCain’s endorsements from the Union Leader and Boston Globe his chances do look a little better in New Hampshire than they looked a couple of months ago. Possibly Lieberman’s endorsement will improve McCain’s standing among independents and help him achieve an upset. Should this affect a sizable number of independent votes it might also help Clinton in the Democratic primary should New Hampshire independent voters decide to vote for McCain as opposed to Obama.

I imagine that there will be a number of attacks on Lieberman in the net-roots. As an independent, I do not object to the idea of a Democrat supporting a Republican if they made the better candidate so in principle I cannot object to Lieberman’s endorsement on partisan grounds even if I disagree with his views on the war. If Arnold Vinick of The West Wing was real and running as a Republican, I might vote for him as opposed to any of the Democrats now running. The same might be true if the Republicans still had any socially liberal members who had a shot at winning the nomination.

Life long Democrats would have more reason to be upset with Lieberman for betraying their party. Under normal circumstances someone who had a long career in the Senate thanks to party support might be expected to support the party’s candidates. Once many Democrats opposed Lieberman and denied him the nomination when he last ran for reelection we cannot expect Lieberman to show partisan solidarity which was not provided to him. We can continue to object to Lieberman on the issues, especially his support for the war, but we can’t have it both ways and object to his endorsement of a Republican as a violation of party unity. However, should the Democrats win a larger majority in the Senate in 2008 they might fairly reconsider whether Lieberman is one of them when determining committee assignments.

Why The Allies Won World War II


A reader emailed in this piece of “photo-journalism” which is certainly hard to argue with.