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JewishJournal.com

January 2, 2008

McCain-Lieberman ticket hot with the Orthodox

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/mccain_lieberman_ticket_hot_with_the_orthodox/

The Iowa caucuses tomorrow night will be followed by the primaries in New Hampshire next Tuesday, and the popularity of former Republican front-runner-turned-bottom-dweller John McCain has been surging. The NY Times’ blog The Caucus credits his duet with Sen. Joe Lieberman for some of that.

But the northeast is not the only place McCain is gaining some cred thanks to his Jewish friend. The Orthodox community is all abuzz about the prospect of a McCain-Lieberman ticket.

Radio host Michael Medved, a hardcore Republican, and political scientist David Luchins, former adviser to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), disagree on just about everything related to the presidential race.

Except the idea of John McCain.

In a campaign that they say is filled with adulterers, fundamentalists, crooks, bigots, and wildcards, the GOP senator from Arizona is the only candidate both men say they could endorse — especially if his running mate were Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Sabbath-observant Democrat-turned-Independent who crossed party lines last week to endorse the Republican war hero.

On Sunday, at the Orthodox Union’s West Coast Torah Convention in Beverly Hills, Calif., during a session titled “Should Torah Jews Vote Democratic or Republican?,” Medved and Luchins examined the campaign lineup. With about 100 people in attendance, they ruminated on which candidates deserve the support of Orthodox voters, the majority of whom bucked the overall Jewish trend and voted for President Bush in 2004.

The two men trashed one candidate after another, until a woman in the back of the room offered the final question of the day: What about a McCain-Lieberman ticket?

Heads swiveled back to enjoy what would surely be another of Medved’s sharp witticisms, as he skewered the woman’s political naïveté.

But no. Medved paused. He’d had lunch several times with McCain, he confessed. And maybe — no, he couldn’t tell about it. It was off-the-record information.

“Turn off the tape!” one man shouted at the video technician recording the session.

Smiling slightly, Medved relented: “I don’t think it’s an unthinkable possibility, and it would be a very strong ticket.”

But like the Kerry-McCain ticket floated in 2004 that the Republican hawk refused to join his dovish Democratic friend on, I don’t really see how McCain could run with a Democrat VP. Like he said in 2004 only reversing the roles:

n a series of phone conversations with McCain, Kerry offered to augment the power of the Vice-Presidency with the defense portfolio—in effect, a combined Vice-President and Secretary of Defense, according to John Weaver and Mark Salter. “Kerry was saying, ‘You can still call yourself a Republican,’ and John was saying, ‘No! I can’t just call myself a Republican,’” Salter recalled. “‘We don’t have the same philosophy. I’m a hawk, I’m for nation-building, I’m pro-life, I’m a free trader, I believe in small government. If you’re hit by a lightning bolt and I become President, the people who voted for you will feel betrayed.’”

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