The Times' Gail Collins gives her take on the "bipartisan" possibilities.

Published August 21, 2008 12:31PM (EDT)

The New York Times' Gail Collins tours the vice presidential landscape, working through the Democratic contenders before getting to a former Democratic contender, or rather, a contender that is a former Democrat, Joe Lieberman:

The Republicans could have an anti-choice, anti-union presidential nominee whose biggest domestic priority is cutting waste and reducing the role of government, along with a pro-choice, pro-union running mate who believes in large government programs to solve large American problems. When you have a 71-year-old presidential candidate, it's particularly important that voters be confident that he's backed up by an experienced and qualified vice president prepared to step in and do the exact opposite about everything except Iraq.

Well, I wouldn't say Lieberman is the "exact opposite" on "everything." His voting record isn't exactly, um, Pat Leahy's on non-Iraq issues. Collins redeems herself a bit in the next graph, however:

Lieberman is certainly capable of dumping everything he has ever believed in and assuring the anti-choice, anti-union, anti-government folk that he is on their team. But then the magic fades and all you’ve got is a conservative Republican who likes the environment teamed with a guy who will do anything to move up. If that's all you’re looking for, you might as well take Mitt Romney.

Certainly capable! Rim shot, please.

The thought of a McCain-Lieberman ticket is nauseating. On the other hand, I can think of at least two upsides:

  1. One, listening to Lieberman speak is about as pleasing as shaving with a cheese grater—those nasally, drawn out words; the heavy dollop of condescension; his terrible use of non-verbals. (On this last: Does he not have the phoniest fist-pump-in-the-air of any politician ever?) Lieberman speaking on Wednesday night of the Republican convention could damage McCain, especially if Joe goes Zell Miller.
  2. Second, watching Lieberman lose again in a bid to become a heartbeat away--well, that would be delicious.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

MORE FROM Thomas Schaller

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Joe Lieberman John Mccain R-ariz.