- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There was much buzz about the speech from the ronin who would speak at the Republican Convention in support of John McCain, but there was barely a hum after Joe Lieberman spoke. Already tossed aside by his Democratic constituency in Connecticut and now persona non grata in national Democratic circles, Mr. Lieberman was welcomed to spit at Barack Obama and reinforce Mr. McCain’s foreign-policy credentials. But he was immediately handed his coat, hat and bags by Republican Party leaders after leaving the stage Tuesday night.

In a year when Mr. McCain is trying to capture social and religious conservatives with his selection of Sarah Palin (and defend her against Democrats, pundits and the press), where does Mr. Lieberman fit in? Having been rebuffed as a vice-presidential choice and not in any way welcomed into the Republican brotherhood, he has only two uses: promote his candidates’ national security and foreign-policy credentials and sway as many Jewish voters as possible to the McCain-Palin ticket.

Will he be camped out in Florida? Perhaps he will be deployed to Northern Virginia, where Rep. Tom Davis is retiring (and his seat likely going to a Democrat) and where Frank Wolf will be the only Republican in the increasingly blue commonwealth. But Jewish voters live everywhere in America, just like everyone else. What is Mr. McCain’s strategy to target that voting bloc in states where they can make a difference at the polls? Does he want Mr. Lieberman to shift a Democratic stronghold like Connecticut? Orthodox liberals, close cousins if not in-house stepchildren to Husky voters, view him as a traitor. It is likely that Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer will not yield to Mr. Independent, but he could reap rewards for the Republicans in states like Michigan and Ohio - both of which have free-trade bones to pick with Mr. McCain.

Eight years ago, Mr. Lieberman was a Democratic vice-presidential nominee and four years ago, he was their anointed presidential candidate until Howard Dean introduced Internet fund-raising and messaging to politics. Then John Kerry closed the deal in Iowa. Now, he is a niche-market spokesman. How will that play when the 110th Congress returns next week?

An editorial on Sunday misstated Rep. Don Young’s committee assignments. He serves on the House Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

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