Shoeless Joe

Yesterday we talked about why Dick Gephardt‘s presidential campaign is losing steam. Today, a reader asks me why Joe Lieberman hasn’t gained any traction with the money men, or (if polls are to be believed this early) with the voters.


OK, I’m game.

Let’s get the silly reasons out of the way first. I’ve heard some folks (mostly conservatives) complain here that when Lieberman was tapped to be Al Gore’s running mate in Naught-Naught, that he reversed himself on some of his more conservative positions. That’s a bogus complaint, and people who read this site frequently should know better.

The Veep’s main job, other than maintaining a pulse at least slightly longer than his boss does, is to stump for him. Whenever the Prez says A, the Veep has to say A, too. Saying B sows discord and confuses the voters. Remember that in 1980, George H. W. Bush called Reagan’s proposed tax cuts “voodoo economics.” Then he lost the nomination and got the nod to be Veep, and suddenly voodoo econ sounded like a pretty damn fine program to him.

That’s just the way the game is played, so there’s no sense in hammering Lieberman for playing by its twisted rules. Besides, playing second fiddle to Al Gore should help Lieberman with Democratic primary voters


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