Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More Lieberman

Just a followup on last night's live blogging, trying to explain the frustration with Lieberman.

When word leaked that Lieberman was seriously being considered as McCain's VP, the far right went beserk, and for fairly good reasons. On taxes, health care, social security, global warming, abortion, gay rights, energy policy, etc, he is solidly in line with the mainstream Democratic party. It's only on national security, and more generally foreign policy, that he sides with the Republicans. Now, you could reasonably make the argument that national security is just so important that it overrides all those other issues, but Lieberman isn't making that argument. In fact, he's said pretty explicitly that all those other issues are the reason he still self-identifies as a Democrat, and not a Republican. But that just doesn't make sense; the party you identify with is the one that reflects the views on the issues that you hold to be most important. So what Lieberman is saying is that when it comes to electing a president national security is so important to him that it means making all those other reasons secondary, but when it comes to self-identification it's all those other reasons that are most important, and national-security is secondary.

And on TOP of that, there's Lieberman's play to the press during all this. The media loves prominent politicians of one party endorsing a candidate of the other party, and so loves to cover Lieberman ... and Lieberman loves to be covered. There's a big difference between endorsing a candidate of the opposing party, and endorsing a candidate of the opposing party during a prime-time address at their national convention. And while he talks in great detail about the single issue that's causing him to endorse McCain, he never talks about any of the multitude of issues where he strongly disagrees with McCain, never talks about why he still considers himself a Democrat, which is what makes the media cover the story in the first place.

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