Updated: Why Lieberman won't replace Rummy …

Like many others, when I realized what a tough confirmation Secretary of Defense nominee Robert Gates will -- or at least should -- have coming, I wondered if there wasn't an ulterior motive for the pick. And, also like many others, it occurred to me that if Gates' confirmation were killed, it would allow Bush to nominate Joe Lieberman, who might then take the job reluctantly, for the "good of the country" -- Joe's independent minded, you know, and always puts country ahead of party -- and that would give Connecticut's Republican governor Jodi Rell the opportunity to pick a replacement and swing the Senate to a 50-50 split with Darth Cheney representing the tie-breaking vote. The scenario has been a hot topic of speculation in so many of the Internet's tubes this week, including among our commenters.

But after thinking about it a bit, and discussing it behind the scenes with some of the other insightful writers around here, I think that's pretty darn unlikely for several reasons.

All of them boil down to the fact that while Holy Joe is a craven opportunist, a self-loathing Dem and a dedicated militarist, he's not stupid. He also has a big ego, and, like everyone in politics, wants as much power as possible.

The last two are why he'd never take the job -- or at least he'd need to be very stupid to do so. Consider:

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