Saturday, November 25, 2006

The End of the Democratic Agenda?

Joe Lieberman recently hired Marshall Wittman, a high-powered and well connected aid with strong ties to John McCain, leading to speculation that Lieberman may be considering running as McCain's VP on a fusion ticket. Hard to tell how this might play out in '08, but everyone seems to be overlooking the fact that that in the shorter term this could determine the success or failure of the entire Democratic agenda.

Control of the Senate depends on Joe Lieberman. He's refused to rule out changing parties and becoming a Republican, and doing so would take control of the Senate away from the Democrats. But Lieberman knows that Democrats are likely to pick up additional Senate seats in '08, regardless of overall political trends, because Republicans will be defending 21 seats, many of them freshman, verses only 12 for Democrats. If Lieberman defected, or just stirred up a lot of trouble, he'd pay the price in two years.

But if Lieberman is thinking of being McCain's VP all bets are off. The constraints are gone, or at least vastly different. My guess is that he would remain a Dem, because a fusion ticket needs members from both main parties, but that he would constantly try to screw up the Democratic agenda in order to prove his "independence".

And there won't be a damn thing Democrats can do about it.

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