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December 14, 2004
Lieberman Says No

CNN reports that the Bush administration has made at least two overtures to Senator Joe Lieberman to join the Cabinet -- but Lieberman has passed on both occasions:

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman has twice in recent days said "no" when approached about the possibility of a major job in the second Bush administration, CNN has learned.

The Cabinet vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security was the subject of the latest overture, according to congressional and other government sources. Those sources said the earlier overture was to see whether Lieberman might be interested in becoming the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

I'm not sure why the White House would have considered Lieberman for the DHS post, except for Lieberman's role in creating the department. Senators do not make great executives, for the most part, which is one of the reasons why none have been elected directly from the Senate to the presidency since 1960. The UN position would have been a better fit for Lieberman, whose credibility there and his tough stance on American security here could have helped melt some diplomatic ice between Turtle Bay and Washington DC.

CNN has no speculation on Lieberman's reluctance to represent Democrats in the second Bush term. It's possible that Lieberman simply likes being in the Senate. If he's contemplating another run at the presidency in 2008 -- he could have won this election if Democrats had been smart enough to nominate him -- joining Bush's cabinet would probably be too damaging in the primaries.

Bush could have demonstrated a great deal of bipartisanship if Lieberman had agreed, but he also would have lost one of the more moderate Senate Democrats to approach for deals and advice. Since Bush already won his last election opportunity, that transaction would have been a net loss, especially since it looks like Harry Reid intends on being every bit as instransigent as Tom Daschle in working with the White House. Lieberman may be doing Bush a favor.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 14, 2004 11:25 PM

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