Writing on Tapped, Mark Schmitt is the latest pundit to succumb to pointless third-party speculation, writing that it's "quite obvious" that McCain and Lieberman will mount a third-party presidential campaign:
It's tempting to make fun of Marshall Wittmann's newest guise, as Lieberman's communications director, as if it were just another twist in one of the oddest careers in Washington. The New York Times has some fun with that theme today.
However, it's quite obvious where this is going. John McCain will fail to win the Republican nomination, and he and Lieberman will turn up as a third party presidential ticket. They will have a great shtick: "We were each rejected by the ideological extremists in our parties, therefore we represent the true forgotten center of American politics." The Broders of the world will salivate over the possibility.
Except, of course, it will not be a centrist party. It will be the Neoconservative party, with Lieberman having taken that angry turn and McCain already there. And both are rank opportunists, for whom "straight talk" is an empty slogan.
There are many ways this could go wrong, but be aware: someone is certainly thinking about it.
Understatement of the year: "There are many ways this could go wrong." No kidding. For instance, McCain would have to not win the GOP nomination and he and Lieberman would both have to give up any allegiance to their parties, which would cast them out as traitors. More importantly, they would have to decide to run despite the near-impossible obstacles posed by the public's partisan loyalties, the structure of the Electoral College, the need to raise tens of millions of dollars to mount a plausible campaign, and their lack of any voter mobilization infrastructure. Other than that, it's "quite obvious" that they'll run! (For more, see my previous posts on unrealistic third party speculation.)