The Plank

What A Giuliani-lieberman Ticket Would Mean

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Marty asks whether I think the Republicans would be smart to nominate a Giuliani-Lieberman ticket. As a purely descriptive matter, which is how he is asking the question, I think the answer is yes. Giuliani is probably the strongest potential Republican candidate, as he is the one best positioned to distance himself from the national Republican agenda. However, as I was maintaining last week, I don't think he has much of a chance of obtaining the nomination.

Lieberman strikes me as both a shrewd choice for Veep and a likely candidate to get it. Republicans have been largely discredited, so their best chance is to persuade the public that the Democrats are not a legitimate alternative. Lieberman, as a nominal Democrat, would have the best chance of making the case that his party has been taken over by a left-wing fringe. Indeed, that's pretty much what he's saying now. In fact, I think he's trying to set himself up to run on the GOP ticket in 2008.

Another tissue joining Giuliani and Lieberman is, obviously, their staunch support for President Bush's foreign policy. Both Giuliani and Lieberman have in common a tendency to understand foreign policy in general, and Iraq in particular, entirely at the level of abstraction. As a way of forming sound policies I think this is often disastrous, but politically it can work.

--Jonathan Chait

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