The Weekly Standard is reporting that Sen. Joe Lieberman will endorse John McCain tomorrow morning. No doubt this will throw the Democrats into paroxysms. Then again, the way they treated Lieberman, it’s unlikely that he would endorse anyone on the Democratic side.
The big question is what this means for McCain. He has the backing of the Des Moines Register and the New Hampshire Union-Leader—which may help him, but it also tends to remind Republicans that he’s the media’s favorite Republican. That doesn’t help him all that much.
Still, McCain was widely seen as out of the race this summer, and now he’s in a position to surprise us all. The best position to be in is the “anyone-but-Huck” camp, and Romney, McCain and Thompson are all in the running for that position. (The other big story is the collapse of Rudy Giuliani’s campaign—although it’s far too early to call him done.) When it comes to the war, McCain is one of the strongest advocates for victory and can claim that he was right about the failures of the Rumsfeld era. When it comes to economic issues, McCain is one of the strongest fiscal conservatives and one of the best position candidates on pork. On social issues, McCain has a solidly pro-life record.
The albatross around McCain’s neck is immigration, but if he can push forward a plan that makes anything looking like amnesty as a distant second to securing the borders that may help him. Indeed, that’s exactly the strategy that McCain has been pushing for a while now.
This race is wide open right now. McCain could be one of the beneficiaries of a race in which any candidate could have an opening. The fact that he can get things pushed through a hostile Congress may work to his advantage, especially in the general election.
In 2003, the Democrats went with “electability” as their mantra. While Kerry was a weak candidate, McCain is not. McCain has the benefit of giving the GOP a real shot at picking up a sizable percentage of independent voters, and he’s right on most of the key issues, and persuadable on the others. McCain has some real momentum behind him now, and as 2003 demonstrated, the guy who’s languishing in the single digits can become the frontrunner overnight…