Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Note to John McCain

Next week the Democratic National Convention will take place. Barrack Obama will probably choose his running mate very soon.

John McCain has a little more time to decide who will join him on the Republican ticket as a running mate. There has recently been a lot of talk about a McCain-Lieberman ticket. Most recently on last night’s broadcast of the NBC Nightly News.

I am a big fan of Senator Joe Lieberman. He was the primary reason I voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election. Thankfully Al Gore lost – but that is another discussion.

I truly believe now as I did then that an observant Jew in the second highest office in the land - only a heartbeat away from being in the White House - would be a huge Kiddush HaShem. Joe Lieberman has long ago established himself as one of the most morally fit members of the senate. That an identifiable and proud Sabbath observing Jew has accomplished that is alone a Kiddush HaShem.

His star has been tarnished a bit of late in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party because of his support of the war in Iraq. But I think his moral standing remains untouched.

That said, I do not think Senator Lieberman is a good choice. Not because he wouldn’t be a great Vice President. I just don’t think McCain-Lieberman would make for a winning ticket. Joe Lieberman would not add votes to John McCain.

Joe Lieberman was elected to the senate by the Republican voters of Connecticut. Not because of his conservative political views. He was elected because of his views on Iraq which are virtually identical with conservative views on Iraq. His democratic opponent was about as anti war as could be and won the primary. Both candidates were liberal on all other issues. But Senator Lieberman was none the less rewarded by conservative voters for his support of the Iraq war and his courage in separating from his party on that issue.

But now his candidacy will be viewed as adding a more liberal tilt to a McCain Presidency. And though no conservative will vote for Senator Obama, some of them may be turned off enough to stay away from the polls altogether this fall.

John McCain cannot afford to lose his conservative base. In my view there is another Jewish candidate that would help his cause, Congressman Eric Cantor. He is a conservative Republican and a rising star in the party. He is young and attractive and a counter balance to Senator Obama's youth and attractiveness.

Of all the candidates Senator McCain is examining, Eric Cantor seems like the most exciting! And it will energize his base. The undecided independent voters that Senator McCain is looking for should still not be influenced by a conservative VP candidate on the ticket. Hopefully they will see the ‘maverick republican’ as one who is less ideologically conservative and more willing to cross the party lines to get things done.

And a Jewish VP may give Jewish voters something to look at too. I think this would be a brilliant strategic move that would energize his base. And they need energizing. Powerful and influential Conservative talk radio will be all over him in the negative for choosing a liberal Lieberman and enthusiastically all for him he chooses a conservative Cantor.

So Senator McCain, if you read Orthodox Jewish blogs and happen to read this one, heed my words. It will be a step in the ‘right’ direction.

What about Lieberman...? He will make a great Secretary of State.