Is Lieberman Lobbying McCain for VP Slot?
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I know I can't be the only one nervous about Joe Lieberman pimping for John McCain:
As President, John McCain will bring America together again. He will inspire a new American unity and a new American patriotism. He will push all of us to work together to solve our biggest problems, and defeat our most dangerous enemies.
But to nobody's surprise save for the unduly credulous, Lieberman helps McCain not with Independents, but Republicans:
According to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released last week, Lieberman's endorsement makes only 15% of independents more likely to vote for McCain, yet it persuades 25% of Republicans.
Which makes perfect sense, because when Republicans hear the word "bipartisan" they know it's code for "give the GOP everything it wants." If someone suggested it mean giving in to the Democrats on anything, they'd all be screeching like a pack of howler monkeys.
But here's the danger:
It's not Lieberman the maverick or moderate who helps McCain the most; it's Lieberman the moralist.
The Connecticut senator - who, besides his hawkish stance on foreign policy, continues to caucus with Democrats - has for several years now been a regular fixture on conservative talk radio. In 1998, he became a hero to the right wing for openly denouncing Bill Clinton's misconduct. Just as Lieberman's obvious comfort talking about religious faith irritates many on the left, it endears him to evangelical Christians, as does his campaign against violence and sex in movies and video games.
Why is this distinction - Lieberman's appeal to conservatives more than independents - so important now? Because McCain has a famously rocky relationship with the Christian right. If he doesn't start smoothing it out now, he cannot win the nomination. If, on the other hand, he does start to repair the rift, he can string together a broad Republican coalition and continue his improbable comeback. ....