Newt is Clueless on Lieberman and Barr

gingrich Newt is Clueless on Lieberman and BarrI promise I’ll let the Lieberman/V.P. angle go after this, but I can’t resist pointing out the kooky logic employed by Newt Gingrich earlier this week in an effort to shoot down the Lieberman talk. In an appearance on Hannity and Colmes, the former Speaker said:

I like Senator Lieberman a great deal. I admire him a lot. I think he’d be a great secretary of state. I think he would be terrific as an attorney general, but I think the idea of him being the Republican vice presidential nominee would split the convention, would probably mean that Bob Barr would get about 15 percent of the vote. … I think that traditional values, right-to-life conservatives would walk … out of the convention in a way that would be unmanageable by the McCain people."

I addressed most of this kind of hysterical talk in the last post, but the idea that Lieberman would send Bob Barr’s poll numbers skyrocketing is beyond absurd and deserves to be singled out.

First, Barr is struggling to attract money, press attention, and on-line interest and is on course to finish with about one percent of the vote (if that). The notion that he might reach 15 percent (or even 5 percent) is a stretch to start with. But more preposterous is Gingrich’s apparent view that social conservatives enraged by the presence of a pro-choice vice-presidential nominee on a G.O.P. ticket led by a pro-lifer would flock en masse to the Libertarian Party. In case you’ve forgotten, here is the abortion plank of the Libertarian platform adopted three months ago:

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

While it’s true that Barr calls himself a pro-life Libertarian (and that he racked up a devoutly pro-life voting record in the U.S. House), his position now seems to favor leaving the matter to the states (and perhaps encouraging them to outlaw it). Presumably, he’d appoint numerous Libertarians (many of them pro-choice) to his administration. Wouldn’t that alarm social conservatives more than just one pro-choice vice president?

Oh, and there’s this: Barr also favors decriminalizing drugs and called California’s decision to allow gay marriage “an illustration of how [the] principle of states’ powers should work.

It’s just a hunch, but something tells me that Joe Lieberman’s addition to the G.O.P. ticket would not prompt 20 million conservative voters to flock to a pro-drug, pro-gay marriage candidate whose party’s platform calls for legal abortion.