The Washington Post is running a multi-part story about the 2008 presidential election. The reporting is adapted from a book by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson.
Today’s report covers the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate. It seems that Joe Lieberman was the leading contender until very late in the day. According to Balz and Johnson:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Lieberman’s main advocates, hurt Lierberman’s chances by talking openly about his possible selection allowing conservative opposition to intensify. “Lindsey was out talking to people before he should have and the story got ahead of us,” one McCain adviser said.
So Graham (1) backed a liberal for the vice presidency and (2) couldn’t keep his mouth shut. That tells you everything you need to about Lindsey Graham.
On the other, by unwittingly hurting Lieberman’s chances of being selected, Graham for once did conservatives a favor.
UPDATE: In the comments section, William Porter suggests that conservatives would have been better off with Lieberman on the ticket because, he believes, the McCain-Lieberman ticket “would have picked up more votes in the center than it lost on the far right.” It’s a fair point and one that I should have addressed.
It’s certainly possible that McCain would have run a stronger race with Lieberman on the ticket. But given the margin by which McCain lost, I’m pretty sure McCain still would have lost.
If that’s true, then Graham did conservatives a favor by making their vote for McCain easier to cast than it would have been with an out-and-out domestic liberal on the ticket If, on the other hand, McCain would have been elected with Liebeman on the ticket, then Graham once again did conservatives a major disservice. For Mr. Porter is surely correct that conservatives, and the country as a whole, would be better off with McCain as president and Lieberman as vice president than we are with Obama as president and Biden as vice president.