As if to prove Stacy’s point that conservatives are better off when Bill Kristol gives advice to Democrats rather than Republicans, Kristol is back with another op-ed urging John McCain to pick Joe Lieberman for vice president. The usual points obtain: Social conservatives don’t trust McCain enough for him to name a pro-choice running mate; having Lieberman as his first personnel choice would undermine his promise to these conservatives on judges; this would give the Republicans a ticket of two candidates who opposed the Bush tax cuts but supported amnesty for illegal immigrants, campaign finance reform, and cap and trade.
But there are two larger issues conservatives should consider. First, for all its post-partisan appeal a McCain-Lieberman ticket would still double down on an issue (the war) that is at best problematic for Republicans even with Obama’s lack of commander-in-chief cred and after the surge. The failure to see this bespeaks a conservative echo chamber that could blind McCain to political reality as much as liberal media bias has blinded Obama. The second issue is the near-total subordination the conservative domestic agenda to foreign policy. Reducing the issues of taxes, guns, and babies to boob bait for the bubbas while foreign policy trumps all will have lasting implications for the conservative coalition.