28 August 2008

McCain + ??? The Suspense Builds

Senator McCain is supposed to name his running mate tomorrow. Early reports indicate that Gov. Pawlenty of Minnesota has cancelled appointments for that day, which some analysts take as a sign that McCain has summoned him for anointment. Meanwhile, Hobbyfan sends me a news item suggesting that a battle behind the scenes may not yet have ended. According to this account, Karl Rove has been waging a desperate fight against McCain's inclination to tap Senator Lieberman. Friends of the Connecticut senator say that Rove personally appealed to Lieberman to tell McCain to take him out of consideration, and that Lieberman flatly refused. Lieberman also denies a story from Robert Novak that had him telling McCain that their partnership would be "unrealistic."

Rove is reportedly a partisan of Mitt Romney, which means he's lost anyway if the rumors about Pawlenty are correct. More interesting is Lieberman's position at this late hour. We can read the statements from his camp in different ways. One way would be: all this talk about him still being under consideration and needing to be dissuaded is just silly. In this version, Rove's intervention is just silly and superfluous. The other version is: Lieberman is still under consideration, and still wants to be considered. This is a detail that hasn't been emphasized much, if true. There's been much talk, of course, about McCain's desire to choose Lieberman. There's been much less about Lieberman actually soliciting the choice. It's all an eerie echo of the legendary negotiations four years earlier between McCain and Senator Kerry, when the Arizona apparently considered joining Kerry's ticket.

McCain makes you wonder about the future of the American Bipolarchy. While small armies try to break it down from without, he might do more from within than all of them to subvert the structure by refusing to take it seriously.

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