The story… and the real story


Sen. Joe Lieberman, (i-Connecticut) lit up the crowd, according to the crowd, at the Xcel Energy Center last night. A rootin’ tootin’ former Democrat was the GOP’s best pal during his speech on Tuesday evening because he’s for their guy.

“Lieberman makes the case to Hillary Democrats…and plain old for the man not the party,” tweeted Michigan party boss Saul Anuzis.

So why isn’t the guy John McCain wanted as his running mate on the ticket?

Because, according to Charlie Cook (who has more contacts on the inside than just about anybody), Republicans don’t like the guy.

“From the folks I talked to, Sen. McCain wanted desperately to pick Sen. Lieberman but then too many party leaders said ‘at best, you’ll have a walkout, at worst they’ll burn the building down if you pick Lieberman.’ He was so committed to making a pick that would shake things up that if you can’t pick Lieberman or Tom Ridge, Gov. Palin was the next choice.”

Angered that he couldn’t choose his own running mate, according to Cook, McCain Lieberman “gave the (party) establishment the finger instead.”

  • A friend of mine has a theory that Palin was chosen because the Republican Party didn’t want to waste a real VP candidate in an election that they don’t think they will actually win. Seems sound to me. Plus did you notice that Palin is a girl? See, the Republicans can be ground breaking too. See.

  • Joel

    It may be that I’m just dense, but I don’t get it. Because McCain “couldn’t” pick the VP he wanted, Lieberman “gave the (Democratic party) establishment the finger”?

  • Bob Collins

    Good catch, Joel. See corrected item.

  • Joel

    Sorry, Bob, but I still don’t get it. It was the Republican party that scorned McCain’s desire to pick a Democrat, or even middle of the road Republican. How does it fit that as a result, McCain gives the finger to the Democrats? I mean, he is giving the finger to the Dems, is he not?

    On a side note, how can anyone claim that McCain is a “maverick” when he has fallen in line lock step behind the far right on nearly every issue?

    I think I need a V-8 today.

  • bsimon

    Joel, the argument is that McCain spurned the GOP party leaders, not the Dems.

    Whether that is true or not, the pick was only a ‘success’ in that it immediately stole the spotlight that had been on Obama Thurs night & Fri morning. But I’m thinking they didn’t expect to be in damage control mode this week. Between Gustav & getting to know Gov Palin, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time spent on, you know, what a McCain administration would do for America.

  • Bob Collins

    //I mean, he is giving the finger to the Dems, is he not?

    He gave the finger to his own party, Cook says.

  • Joel

    Except, by picking Palin, he rallied the party’s base. That hardly seems like railing against the party establishment. He may have WANTED to spurn his party by picking Lieberman, but that’s not what happened. So I think Cook’s argument rings false.

  • bsimon

    Joel, here’s Bob quoting Cook from the liveblog yesterday:

    Cook: “I think if you wanted to woo Hillary votes, you (McCain) would have gone somewhere else.” Says the Plain pick was just intended to do something “out of the box and give the finger to the establishment.”

    The ‘finger’ is in picking Palin rather than the safer Romney or Pawlenty, with whom party insiders would be much more comfortable.

    Some speculate that the ‘finger’ is meant to imply “if you’re going to take me down, I’m going to take you down with me,” by picking someone who will end up being extremely controversial. Personally, I don’t buy that theory.

  • Joel

    Exactly. Nor do I, as stated in my last post.

  • Bob Collins

    Romney was NOT a safe pick. He’s a Mormon and he has a spotty record on abortion. Ridge was the other pick but he, too, does not pass the litmus test.

    The only one who did… was Gov. Pawlenty. THAT was the safe choice (it was also, looking back, the best choice).

    That McCain didn’t go with Pawlenty testifies, I think, to Cook’s probably accurate account of wanting to play the maverick.

    Of course, left unsaid in all of this is being a maverick means picking Lieberman in spite of your party.

    Charlie Cook is pretty well connected.