Q&A Friday #64: Will Lieberman Switch Parties?

Question: “Will Joe Lieberman jump to the Republicans?” — n_obrain

Answer: It’s possible, but I really tend to doubt it. Look at it from Lieberman’s perspective.

He’s in a leftward leaning state, where it’s going to be easier to win as an independent or Democrat than as a Republican. In addition, if he were to switch to the GOP, he’d be “RINO” Joe, the most liberal Republican member of the Senate. Why switch and turn off all the Democrats who like him (and there are still plenty that do outside of the netroots) while simultaneously irritating his Republican fan base who think he’s great for a Democrat, but would look at him as a mediocre Republican?

Moreover, even though Joe sounds good on national security, he’d be just another face in the crowd in the GOP because most Republicans are tough on national security. But, in the Democratic Party, he stands out because he’s the only Dem in the Senate with credibility on foreign policy issues and because anyone who criticizes his own party gets noticed more.

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Also, the threat that he might switch and the fact that he can honestly say, “If you don’t like what I’m saying, too bad, because you sold me out during the 2006 elections, not vice-versa” is a powerful combination because the Democrats have to pay attention to him and yet they know, deep in their hearts, that they have no one to blame but themselves when he goes off message.

PS: You know what’s incredibly ironic? If Joe Lieberman had not lost the primary to Ned Lamont and he were officially running under the Democrat Party banner right now, he probably could not afford to be anywhere near as vocal about the war. So, if you think about it, that means Kos and Company are responsible for creating the most effective critic of the Democrats on the war.

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