The Case For Lieberman

Bill Kristol makes the case for Sen. Joe Lieberman as McCain’s VP:

Lieberman could hold his own against Biden in a debate. He would reinforce McCain’s overall message of foreign policy experience and hawkishness. He’s a strong and disciplined candidate.

But he is pro-abortion rights, and having been a Democrat all his life, he has a moderately liberal voting record on lots of issues.

Now as a matter of governance, there’s no reason to think this would much matter. McCain has made clear his will be a pro-life administration. And as a one-off, quasi-national-unity ticket, with Lieberman renouncing any further ambition to run for the presidency, a McCain-Lieberman administration wouldn’t threaten the continuance of the G.O.P. as a pro-life party. In other areas, no one seriously thinks the policies of a McCain-Lieberman administration would be appreciably different from those, say, of a McCain-Pawlenty administration.

What Kristol doesn’t seem to understand is that the pro-life position of evangelical and Catholic voters is not a political one. It’s a moral position. They believe as a first principle that the termination of an innocent human life is morally unconscionable and government should not sanction such atrocities. A stridently pro-abortion candidate is going to be a non-starter, or at the very least will have a very tough sell.

Sen. Lieberman is a brave man and a patriot. He was right on the war, and his steadfastness is greatly appreciated. However, he is a doctrinaire liberal on nearly every other issue, and in a close Senate it is possible that he could break a tie vote. He should have a seat in a McCain administration, but not as the number two man.