My theory about Lieberman

I’ve been trying to understand Joe Lieberman’s behavior — and not quite getting it. What’s the point of opposing positions he’s long supported publicly (Medicare buy-in) using a tool (the filibuster) that he’s long been against?

My theory sets Lieberman aside at first and starts here: it says that John McCain has a theory.

John McCain’s theory (my theory says) is that he lost to Obama because he listened to Bill Kristol and picked Sarah Palin, and she’s responsible for his electoral loss. John McCain wanted to pick Joe Lieberman, but was persuaded not to.

John McCain thinks (I think) that he would have won with Lieberman.

My theory continues with these speculations: Lieberman agrees with McCain. And McCain has told Lieberman he will run in 2012. And McCain has told Lieberman he’ll do it right this time.

So Lieberman knows he has a couple years to make himself palatable to the country’s Republicans. But he can’t just become one, because he’d lose his (very important to his credentials) Homeland Security Committee chairmanship.

Consider that McCain would run on national security and fiscal prudence. Lieberman would fit that story, and he’d bring some demographic balance: suburban pro-choice voters might be able to vote for McCain if his running-mate is more socially liberal. Or so says my theory of McCain’s theory. (And Lieberman really is more socially liberal than just about every Republican in Congress. But I don’t believe he’d actually help expand the pool of McCain voters.)

And my theory extends to this: Lieberman thinks McCain may be right, that a McCain/Lieberman ticket could win in 2012. And, well, Lieberman wouldn’t mind being vice-president — especially with an older president and with the precedence of Dick Cheney to show what kind of power a vice-president can actually wield.

So that’s my theory: McCain/Lieberman 2012 is the plan. Whether spoken or not, agreed-to out loud or not, Lieberman is preparing.

Or... or... I dunno. I have no other explanation.

Update 9:35 PM: I should have made this more clear: my theory assumes that both McCain and Lieberman are delusional.

14 Dec 2009