View Full Version : A Kerry-McCain ticket? How about Bush-Lieberman?

05-26-2004, 12:09 AM
Are you tired of all the speculation about a Kerry-McCain presidential ticket?

If you are, that’s too bad — you’re going to keep hearing about it until John Kerry actually chooses a Democratic running mate sometime around the time of his party’s convention — or non-convention — in July.

But remember, Kerry’s choice is not the only vice-presidential question in the race. While most people have focused on the Democrats, there’s been a lot of whispering — and some talking out loud — about the notion that George W. Bush will dump Vice President Dick Cheney from the Republican ticket.

It’s just talk. In reality, the possibility of that seems close to absolute zero. Maybe it is absolute zero.

But as long as the pundits are swooning over the idea of a cross-party ticket, maybe it’s time to start a new rumor: Bush-Lieberman.

Say the president does decide to throw Cheney over the side. He then looks around for a new running mate.

More than anything else, the new candidate would have to be a stalwart supporter of a strong national-security policy. Beyond that, the only real requirement would be that the candidate appeal to independent, and even some Democratic, voters.

That person could even be a Democrat — and who better than Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.)?

What a bold, bipartisan move for a president who once pledged to be a uniter, not a divider — to choose the man he ran against in 2000!

The press could gush about how Lieberman has driven some in his party crazy with his maverick positions.

Take, for example, Lieberman’s remarks during Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Senate testimony on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. When other Democrats — Republicans, too — were lining up to beat their breasts over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, Lieberman, while noting that the behavior of some Americans was “immoral, intolerable and un-American” and “deserves the apology” that Rumsfeld offered, went on to add: “I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, never apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security have never apologized. And those who murdered and burned and humiliated four Americans in Fallujah a while ago never [apologized].”

Political analysts could spend hours praising Lieberman for speaking truth to power inside the Democratic Party, as he did during the primary campaign when some of his fellow candidates claimed that the removal of Saddam Hussein had not made the world safer. Lieberman answered, “I don’t know how anybody could say that we’re not safer with a homicidal maniac, a brutal dictator, an enemy of the United States, a supporter of terrorism, a murderer of hundreds of thousands of his own people, in prison instead of in power.”

Lieberman also said a U.S. success in Iraq would send a message “to all other terrorists and tinhorn dictators.”

Now, which presidential candidate, Bush or Kerry, does that sound like?

The truth is, Bush is much closer to Lieberman on national security issues than Kerry is to McCain.

Of course, the problem with all this speculation is that the non-candidate himself might throw some cold water on it.

What if Lieberman flatly declared, “I’ve said, categorically — categorically — I will not be vice president of the United States. I will not be a candidate. And I mean that. I’m happy in the Senate. I’d like to maintain my role. I am a loyal Democrat. I am supporting Senator Kerry’s election. I am campaigning for it.”

Would that stop the speculation? Of course not — it would only feed the fire.

But in the end, that fire would go out, and the pundits would have to accept that the Bush-Lieberman dream was too good to be true.

“The Liebermans of this world are increasingly rare birds,” The New York Times might editorialize, “and therein lies the strongest reason why he should resist the siren call of presidential politics and remain where he is and who he is. The gradual disappearance of moderates from the Democratic landscape has helped neither the party nor the country. Mr. Lieberman’s voice is more than a voice of bipartisan good sense. In time, it could lead the Democratic Party back to where it once was and where it ought to be now.”

In case you didn’t notice, that is an exact quote from a May 24 Times editorial, with “McCain” changed to “Lieberman” and “Republican” changed to “Democratic.”

And the “categorically” statement quoted just above is McCain’s promise that he would not join the Kerry ticket, with “Republican” changed to “Democrat” and “Bush” changed to “Kerry.”

Perhaps that shows you how crazy all this Kerry-McCain talk really is.