Thursday, November 13, 2008

McCain Wanted Lieberman as VP

From Newsweek:

"McCain had initially wanted Joe Lieberman. The two senators were fellow romantics, deeply imbued with a sense of righteousness and honor. In mid-August, when NEWSWEEK's editor Jon Meacham was interviewing McCain aboard the campaign plane, the discussion turned to "The Winds of War," Herman Wouk's mega-bestseller about World War II. The main character, a naval commander named Pug Henry, was a favorite of McCain's. As it turned out, Lieberman—sitting just across the aisle and listening in on the NEWSWEEK interview—was a friend of Herman Wouk. "Let's go see Herman!" Lieberman piped up. "Yes!" exclaimed McCain. The two began planning a road trip out to Wouk's California home. "We can shake the money tree," McCain cackled (Wouk lives among the wealthy in Palm Springs, Calif.).

McCain loved to travel with Lieberman, a fellow maverick who had stood fast on Iraq, nearly at the cost of his Senate seat in liberal Connecticut. McCain's other traveling buddy, Lindsey Graham, urged McCain to pick Lieberman, still a nominal Democrat, as a way to show that McCain put country over party and as a way to answer the Democrats' choice of the first African-American presidential nominee. "We've got to match history with history," Graham declared." But when McCain brought Lieberman's name at a secret high-level meeting held in Sedona, Ariz., to consider veep choices on Sunday, Aug. 24th brought up Lieberman, his top aides balked."

Interesting. First, McCain wanted a liberal democrat as his VP and only backed off because it was political suicide. Secondly, why did McCain wait until August 24th to start selecting his VP? The Key seems to be "McCain had initially wanted Joe Lieberman." which indicates McCain had always planned on selecting Lieberman as early as February 2008 and was hoping a late announcement would allow him to ram through Lieberman before the base could react. That, of course, turned out to be wrong - and it led the last minute selection of Palin.

This also explains Kristol's column of late August about what a "great choice" Lieberman would be. Along with J Pods, Rubin's Dick Morris, the WSJ ed page. And also Novak column about Rove calling Lieberman requesting him to decline any VP offer by McCain. Looking back, Goldberg was OK with Leiberman on May 23, 2008 and later in August *** and so was Lowry. York was neutral. Frum supported Rudi for VP and then attacked Palin as "unqualified". No record of his opposing Joe lieberman.

Finally, I find it interesting that no one has really criticized McCain for waiting so long and giving Palin no chance to prepare. There's no reason why Palin could not have been offered the VP in early August and then secretly prepped for a late August roll out.

*** This was Goldberg take on a Lieberman VP Slot on August 12, 2008

MG: Let’s talk a little bit about the latest rumor mill about VP choices. Joe Lieberman keeps coming up for John McCain. Is that a good Vice Presidential running mate, a good pick for Senator McCain?

JG: Here’s the problem for McCain, first of all, is he needs a Vice President to do like ten different things, and none of the potential candidates can do more than five. You know, he needs someone who can placate the base, win over independents, neutralize the age issue, I mean, a whole list of long things. Barack Obama just needs a safe white guy. And so McCain’s got a really tough pick to make. I think there are a lot of good arguments for Lieberman, but there are also a lot of bad arguments for Lieberman. I think there are a lot of conservatives who are just going to think that’s a bridge too far. I mean, whenever I talk to my fellow conservative friends about it, they always say well look, it would be nice if we just had one conservative on the ticket.

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