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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Panic Time for Conservatives?

Speculation continues that John McCain is seriously considering Joe Lieberman and/or Tom Ridge for his running-mate, fueling panic and anger on the Right, particularly among anti-abortion activists.
The Politico has a lengthy story on the possibility of a “Lieberman surprise,” including assessment of possible conservative “blowback,” up to and including a floor challenge to his nomination. The internal campaign argument for risking conservative fury and going with Lieberman is said to be the usefulness of a theoretically “bipartisan” ticket in reinforcing McCain’s “putting country first” message. Ross Douthat (who generally thinks the “McLieberman” ticket’s a terrible idea) suggests that Lieberman should actually be less offensive to right-to-lifers than Ridge, since he’s not a plausible 2012 or 2016 candidate.
All of the talk about Lieberman, of course, could be a head-fake designed to make conservatives more amenable to a Ridge choice, or to stimulate the Right to paroxyms of joy if the Veep is a conventional conservative like Pawlenty.
One thing is for sure: if the McCain-Lieberman ticket somehow does materialize, the happiest camper in the world will be Lieberman Communications Director Marshall Wittmann, the longtime McCain disciple who’s wandered all over the political spectrum over the course of his career, landing with Lieberman as sort of a port of last resort.

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