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October 25, 2003
Lieberman would tap McCain for administration

He later claimed he was joking, and John McCain laughed it off, but this only makes Lieberman look more attractive than any of the other defeatist Democrats:

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman said Friday that if elected president, he would tap Republican Sen. John McCain as defense secretary.

Doing little to dispel the criticism that he's a closet Republican, Lieberman told Don Imus' syndicated radio program that he would want the Arizona senator, a colleague and a friend, for the Pentagon post.

Such a move would attract centrist voters who want to remain strong on defense but feel that the Bush Administration have gone off the rails on other issues. In fact, despite what the White House leaks about being "scared" of Gephardt, Lieberman is the only Democrat who could seriously challenge Bush for the centrists in 2004, and the center will be critical. What this announcement will repel are extremists who believe that the projection of American power is at the root of all evil in the world and that McCain is likely to be as bad as Rumsfeld, or perhaps a mild improvement in PR only.

Unfortunately, because of the primary system in the US, the extremists are what win primaries, which is why Lieberman is the only candidate running to the center. Despite his association with Al Gore, Lieberman is normally a straightforward person, as his courageous appearance before a hostile Arab-American political action group proved last week. His run to the center is not a Clintonian calculation; it's a trustworthy position for Lieberman, which is why he is the one Democrat who wouldn't keep me awake at night if he was elected. And that's the reason the candidate the Bush administration "fears" most is Joe Lieberman. With a recovering economy and a stabilized Iraq, Bush easily beats any of the rest who are trying to outrace each other to the fringe.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 25, 2003 8:26 AM

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