Thursday, August 24, 2006

A John McCain/Joe Lieberman independent run for Pres/VP?

The Left Coaster is always a great source of information and thoughtful conjecture. Today’s piece by Steve Soto speculates that McCain and Lieberman might be contemplating joining forces for a independent run at pres and vice pres.

“It is also quite possible that McCain can read the polls and notices that Americans no longer buy the central argument that Rove was running on this fall, which was that Iraq and the war on terror are the same. McCain wants to walk away from Iraq and change the subject. And there may be a big reason for that: McCain is positioning himself for the option of running independently of not only the Bush Administration, but from the GOP itself. You'll remember that the immediate whine from Lieberman when confronted with his loss was a fallacious claim that he was the victim of Democratic overpartisanship, and that what he represented was a more righteous politics of bipartisanship, as if Lieberman hadn't been paying attention to what brand of politics Bush and Rove have been practicing these last six years. There are some Democratic operatives inside the Beltway and many pundits who want to ignore the GOP's smashmouth politics and bask in the warm embrace of a McCain-Lieberman unity ticket in 2008, where the travesties of the last six years are cemented into place as the starting point for a bipartisanship without accountability. McCain and Lieberman are sending signals that an acceptance of the Iraq debacle would be a key point in a bipartisan platform of "forgive and forget" can't-we-all-now-get-along-after-we-have-destroyed-the-country new politics. And this separation from Bush of late may very well be McCain's first attempt at mounting that white horse he envisions for himself as he tries to escape his own accountability.”

Well, that’s a pretty interesting thought. Not a very happy one, but an interesting one. I am wondering which of the major parties that might hurt more, if they do decide to make an independent run in 2008. (Personally, I am not convinced that this is in any way likely. They would have problems with finding major-league donors to keep up with the Big Two, and ever since the Bull Moose party, third parties are pretty much for show only. Or they are there just to swipe enough support away from one party to give the election to Bush. Sorry, but I am still pissed off at the utterly contemptible Ralph Nader. Anyway, George Wallace, Ross Perot, and John Anderson never had a snowball’s chance, and those were the big names in recent third party candidates!) I think that the Republican turnout, unless things really have a turnaround since now and then, will be down from their normal. Unless Hillary is the Dem nominee, of course. That would really energize their base voters. Some hardcore Dem supporters of Lieberman would vote for a third party team like that, and they would also get a large percentage of the non-affiliated, swing voters.

Call it a wash, then. But it would really be interesting to see what would happen. Although I now have some grave, grave misgivings about McCain and I really dislike what Lieberman has been doing in the run for Senator in Connecticut, it would be interesting to see if anyone is able to put together a viable third party and make it last. Ross Perot’s attempt looked like it might have legs, but the wheels came off when he left the helm. McCain and Lieberman certainly could put together a pretty respectable infrastructure for a third party, if they so desired.

Personally, I am ready to have an alternative to voting either for the Republican or Democratic ticket. It would be nice to have a viable third choice that actually stood a chance of winning, rather than just casting a throw-away vote to “make a statement”. I’m just not certain that a McCain/Lieberman team would give us that choice.

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