"But regardless of Sen. Johnson's health, the president may yet be able to tip the balance. With a single stroke, he could restore control of the Senate to the Republicans, fill an embarrassing vacancy in his administration and score bipartisan points -- by appointing Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Should Lieberman be nominated and accept that position, Connecticut's Republican Gov. Jodi Rell has the constitutional authority to name a new senator.
"In many ways, Lieberman provides a perfect choice for Bush to replace John Bolton, the departing ambassador who resigned recently because the Senate wouldn't confirm him. Nominating a longtime Democrat who has endorsed many of the Bush administration's foreign policy positions, especially on the war in Iraq, would give the appearance of bipartisanship without requiring any real compromise with the opposition.
"Just this week Lieberman joined a congressional delegation to Iraq that included John McCain, R-Ariz., providing moral support to the Arizona senator's call for an escalation of the American military effort. He has repeatedly denounced the "partisanship" of Democrats who criticize the war and the White House, a favor repaid by Karl Rove with open Republican support for his reelection campaign this fall. More broadly, Lieberman shares the world outlook of the Bush White House concerning not only the Mideast and Israel but also the global "war on terror," belligerence toward Iran and Syria, and a strict embargo against Cuba. He is quite comfortable with the GOP's neoconservative wing, as evidenced by his participation in organizations such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Committee on the Present Danger.
"Although Lieberman vehemently disagrees with the president on the issue of climate change, his overall perspective wouldn't require any great adjustment to conform with administration policy. (Indeed, Lieberman cheerfully submitted to much more challenging adaptations in 2000 when he moved leftward to run as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.) He is somewhat less obnoxious personally than Bolton, but not so very different in substance."