Lieberman moves closer to attending Republican National Convention
Senator Joseph Lieberman, the former Democrat of Connecticut who endorsed the Republican presidential candidacy of Senator John McCain, is moving closer to attending the Republican National Convention in September.
"Aides to Lieberman, who was in Germany and unavailable for comment, said it is 'quite possible' that the self-described independent Democrat will be headed to the Twin Cities for the GOP convention," reported the Stamford Advocate's Neil Vigdor on Monday.
Since Lieberman lost the Democratic primary to challenger Ned Lamont in Connecticut's 2006 Congressional election, the former Al Gore running mate's support for Democratic Party causes has drifted. While Lieberman at one time declared his intention to help elect a Democratic president in 2008, he endorsed John McCain's candidacy in December and has campaigned heavily by his side.
Speculation emerged in some news reports that Lieberman might seek to join McCain's ticket. But the Connecticut senator quashed those rumors at the end of January when he suggested that if McCain asked him to run as vice president, he'd say, "'Thanks, John, I've been there, I've done that. You can find much better," according to the AP.
At the same time, Lieberman began hinting that he'd "be more welcome" at the Republican National Convention than at the Democrats' August nominating confab. And moves this past week might have pushed him over the edge.
Last week, Lieberman was stripped of his "superdelegate" status, which granted him a guaranteed vote for a Democratic candidate in Denver. Under the so-called "Zell Miller" rule, named for the Georgia senator who spoke out against John Kerry and his fellow Democrats at the 2004 RNC, Lieberman's endorsement of a Republican candidate makes him ineligible to vote at the DNC.
Conservative thinkers are already looking at Lieberman as an asset. An editorial on the Wall Street Journal's opinion pages Monday speculated that he could help McCain's efforts to win Electoral College votes in the general election.
"Mr. McCain could even make a foray into the Northeast, where his support from Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party's 2000 vice presidential candidate, could put Connecticut in contention," columnist John Fund suggested.