Secure the endorsement of an Orthodox Jew…
That’s kind of, sort of what James (Jamie) Kirchick implied in a recent oped piece in the New York Daily News about Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman’s endorsement of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain:
The Connecticut senator – who, besides his hawkish stance on foreign policy, continues to caucus with Democrats – has for several years now been a regular fixture on conservative talk radio. In 1998, he became a hero to the right wing for openly denouncing Bill Clinton’s misconduct. Just as Lieberman’s obvious comfort talking about religious faith irritates many on the left, it endears him to evangelical Christians, as does his campaign against violence and sex in movies and video games.
Why is this distinction – Lieberman’s appeal to conservatives more than independents – so important now? Because McCain has a famously rocky relationship with the Christian right. If he doesn’t start smoothing it out now, he cannot win the nomination. If, on the other hand, he does start to repair the rift, he can string together a broad Republican coalition and continue his improbable comeback.
Lieberman’s endorsement was meant to help McCain get more votes from independents, but in the long run, an improved stature with religious conservatives is going to be more productive. Frankly, the likelihood of a Republican being the next President seems very low to me. The whole Giuliani/McCain/Romney/Huckabee thing strikes me as uninteresting because none of them have a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting elected. But what is instructive is how this can be applied more broadly.