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The Collective
Monday, December 17, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

As was widely discussed in the ‘Sphere yesterday afternoon Senator Lieberman has endorsed McCain for the presidency. This move will, no doubt, further anger any number of Democrats, as Lieberman, despite his loss in the Democratic primary and his subsequent general election win as an “Independent Democrat” status, still caucuses with the Democrats. As such, this will be seen, as The Nation puts its, the Lieberman’s New Kiss of Death. Further, as the piece points out, it is a reversal of Lieberman’s previous position on the 2008 contest:

During his 2006 reelection campaign, Lieberman emphasized that he would support Democratic candidates in 2008. “I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008,” he said during a televised debate in July. Lieberman promptly backtracked after his reelection, announcing this January that he was “open” to supporting a Republican or Democrat for president, depending “on a whole range of issues.” By not even waiting to see who the Democrats nominate, now Lieberman is revealing that the issues aren’t important to him, either.

And, for what it is worth, I think that Lieberman is endorsing McCain for more than just Iraq, although that is clearly part of it. I think it is the broader approach to the war on terror that the two men seem to share. At a minimum, anti-terrorism policy has seemed to be Lieberman’s guiding issue since 9/11.

Now, ultimately, the reaction of Democrats isn’t the issue here, but how this endorsement affects Republican primary voters and independents. Normally I find endorsements to be of little consequence, but I think that Lieberman’s support, along with other recent key press endorsements, could help McCain in a crowded and somewhat confused field. If anything, it has sent some free publicity his way, and will probably do so for a few days.

At a minimum, the timing is good to get voters in New Hampshire in particular, to take a second look. Further, this endorsement may enhance the view that McCain is electable, which will be a key factor as the GOP sorts out its field.

Despite his standing in the polls at the moment, I continue to think that McCain has a real chance to win the nomination, given the nature of the field. Consider the following: if Romney is too Mormon, too plastic and/or too flip-floppy, Rudy too socially liberal, odd and/or authoritarian, Huckabee too steeped in religion/Sunday School foreign policy and/or too fiscally liberal, and Thompson too lazy and/or empty, then does that make McCain the leftover alternative, even with his baggage within the party?

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Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |

8 Comments

  1. That’s pretty much where I am with McCain, too. He’s not my ideal candidate but I think he’s the best of the available alternatives.

    Comment by James Joyner — Monday, December 17, 2007 @ 9:27 am

  2. McCain and Lieberman

    No matter how much McCain may be within the mainstream of his party on most issues (something that, by the way, can also be said about Lieberman and Democrats), John McCain has staked out so many visible positions in recent years against his party̵…

    Trackback by Fruits and Votes — Monday, December 17, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

  3. Reading your summary of the alternatives in the Republican Party, I just want to put in my two cents that as a Republican I think the problem isn’t finding a good candidate, but choosing among some great alternatives. At the moment, I’m pulling for Romney (all pettiness and electibility issues aside, it’s hard to argue that from a Republican standpoint, Romney would make a great president). But I’d be excited to vote for McCain, Giuliani, or even Huckabee.

    Interestingly, I believe the Democrats are in the same position, in high contrast to four years ago, when they were faced with dismal choices.

    Comment by David H. — Tuesday, December 18, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  4. [...] Cross-posted from PoliBlog [...]

    Pingback by Political Mavens » McCain: The Leftover Alternative? — Wednesday, December 19, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

  5. We are a family which does not think of McCain as a “leftover”. We voted for him in the last election and shall vote for him again in this one.
    It is not that we agree with him on all issues, we do not, but we are determined to state that what one needs in a leader is CHARACTER. Our leaders have been woefully lacking in same for far too long. Voting for an “electable” candidate is not enough. Voting for the one who most closely embodies one’s best ideals is the correct policy.
    JJC

    Comment by Jetta J. Cooper — Thursday, December 20, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

  6. For what it is worth: I am not using “leftover” in a derogatory sense. Rather, I think it is possible that he will be the last one standing when in all is said and done, making him the one left over from the group.

    Also: I am not trying to explain why any particular person might vote for McCain (e.g., like the reasons you give for yourself), but rather how things might play out in the aggregate.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, December 20, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  7. [...] When all this started, I thought that McCain would eventually be the nominee, and then it seemed like that was highly unlikely. Still, as I argued in brief the other day, I think that McCain may well be the last man standing on the GOP side when all is said and done. Part it is that I simply have a hard time seeing any of the other candidates actually winning the nomination, aside from McCain. However, we shall see. [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » New New Hampshire Polls-McCain Surges, Obama 2 Points up on Clinton — Sunday, December 23, 2007 @ 11:03 am

  8. [...] When all this started, I thought that McCain would eventually be the nominee, and then it seemed like that was highly unlikely. Still, as I argued in brief the other day, I think that McCain may well be the last man standing on the GOP side when all is said and done. Part it is that I simply have a hard time seeing any of the other candidates actually winning the nomination, aside from McCain. However, we shall see. [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » New New Hampshire Polls-McCain Surges, Obama 2 Points up on Clinton — Sunday, December 23, 2007 @ 11:03 am

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