It Is Just The Vice Presidency

The Wall Street Journal pushes back against the Joe Lieberman-induced panic rippling through the conservative base. The editors write:

Meanwhile, the Republican blogosphere is erupting over rumors that Mr. McCain might choose Mr. Lieberman as his vice president. Our email box is full of panicky reports that the Arizona Republican is giving it serious thought, and that this would doom Mr. McCain’s chances in November. Mr. Lieberman is pro-choice on abortion, he’s a liberal on this or that, and in any case isn’t there any Republican who could fill the bill? Or so goes the anticipatory outrage.

This strikes me as entirely on the mark. But I think the shift in fortunes in the race in McCain’s favor may weigh against a Lieberman pick, even if the other GOP choices are less impressive. With McCain pulling into a dead heat and Democrats in semi-meltdown mode, there is less reason for McCain to take a risky gamble and more reason to believe that he can, on his own, appeal to disaffected Democrats and independents. In the end it might just not be worth the agony and the risk of a convention blow-up just at the point at which McCain is hitting his stride.

And if the alternatives to Lieberman seem less compelling and less intellectually vibrant, one should keep in mind: it’s just the vice presidency. If McCain gets elected, there will be plenty of room in the cabinet for Lieberman (at State).