While walking my dog Daisy this morning I entertained an unusual fantasy. I considered for a moment the political free-fall of John McCain in his quest for the Republican nomination for the office of President. I considered the political marginalization of Joe Liebermann, a Democrat who ran for the office of Vice President alongside Al Gore in 2000 and who, in 2006, was forced to run as an “Independent” to retain his Senate seat after being tossed aside by members of his own party in favor of someone else.
Neither man meets my criteria for a perfect candidate for the Presidency or Vice Presidency of the United States. Yet I admire them both and believe that they have much to offer us as a nation currently more divided than we ought to be . . . at least among our representative leaders in national government.
As I pondered this matter I wondered what would happen if these two men joined together in running together as Independents for the office of President (John McCain) and Vice President (Joe Lieberman) of the United States.
Would I endorse such a candidacy? No, I don’t think I would.
Would I consider such a candidacy to be a good thing for the United States and the upcoming Presidential campaign? Yes . . . most certainly, Yes!
To my mind it would force the major candidates towards the middle ground. If done well it could raise the level of conversation to a higher level of respect and substance than we have seen in many years.
Could a McCain/Lieberman ticket win? Once again my answer is, No, I don’t think it would even come close. But I believe that they could draw far more votes away from both parties than Ross Perot did in 1992. And certainly more than Nader in 2000.
I’d still like to see it happen! What about you?
What follows is my fantasy as to what their public announcement to run together might look like. In my fantasy the paragraphs would be spoken responsively between the two men.
I invite you to read what I have written and consider whether you can imagine these two men sharing these words together before a national audience.
Location: South steps of the U. S. Capitol Building
We are two United States Senators, John McCain, a Republican, and Joe Lieberman, a Democrat, who are divided by our party affiliation but united in our love for the United States of America.
We believe that the best interests of America have for too long been sacrificed to the agendas of those who represent the far-right and the far-left of our nation’s politics.
We believe that the flames of this national division, between progressives and conservatives have been fanned and fueled by those whose personal agendas benefit from keeping Americans as divided and as angry as each other as possible.
We believe that this way of doing politics is not in our best interests either as a nation or as individual citizens with a common stake in our common future.
While the two of us differ on many issues we find that we are agreed on those issues that are most important to us all.
Together we affirm the need for our nation to be safe and secure.
Together we affirm the need for our nation to be economically strong.
Together we affirm the need for our federal government to be fiscally responsible.
Together we affirm the need for our nation to be more selfless in its response to the needs of our weakest and most vulnerable citizens.
Together we affirm the need for our nation to rediscover and to reaffirm that we are indeed, “One people, under God, indivisible.” That the high ideals of "freedom and justice for all" transcend any one political party and that it vital that we find common ground and unshakable unity in our support and affirmation of these central truths that lie behind the goodness of our national character.
Together we will try to bridge the vast political chasm that has opened up, effectively separating us as individuals and as elected representatives serving in Washington on your behalf.
Together we pledge to speak openly and honestly and respectfully with each other concerning the issues that confront us all.
Together we pledge to affirm and articulate our common ground on these matters as well as to publicly share our debate on those issues on which we differ.
Together we pledge to work with the members of the United States Congress in discovering ways that we can begin to speak with one another across political and party lines.
Together we hope to bring our national leaders together in common cause to find solutions to our pressing needs for national security, fiscal responsibility, economic stability and the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
Together we hope to re-instill a common faith in our national virtues of goodness, self-sacrifice, respect and tolerance.
Together we believe that we can find a better way to move forward into the future as a great nation and a leader among the nations of the world.
Together we believe that we can best do this when we are together and united in the things that matter the most rather than being so divided that we are no longer willing to even talk with each other.
(Lieberman) As a Democrat I have often stood with many Republicans in my support of a strong national defense and in a firm and determined stand in support of our troops and their mission in Iraq, Afghanistan and in many other places throughout the world.
(McCain) As a Republican I have often reached across the aisle to find common ground with Democrats as we have tried to pursue shared interest in campaign finance reform and to create a less hostile environment in which the legislative process of government can take place.
Together, with the wisdom of hindsight, we admit that we have at times erred in both our personal and private lives.
But, together, we affirm to you that our efforts have always been motivated by a desire to serve all the people of the United States and not just those of one social or political special interest group.
Together we profess to be men who value honor and character.
Together we promise to stand before you, the people of the United States, as friends . . . of each other . . . and as friends of yours.
Together we will seek out a “middle way” that will bring us closer together as a nation rather than drive us farther apart.
We believe that we can achieve all this and more as a nation. But only if we work and stand together.
Our national motto, E Pluribus Unum affirms that, “Out of many” we are "One."
Or, as Abraham Lincoln once put it, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
So, today as we announce our candidacy for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States, we stand together. And we invite you, each of you and all of you, to stand together alongisde us in the coming campaign.
God Bless America!