The name of former Sen. Joe Lieberman has risen to the top of the list for a new FBI Director according to a number of reports. The notion seems to run counter to the conventional wisdom among political observers that President Donald Trump should choose someone who is a non-politician with heavy law enforcement experience. Lieberman, though a life-long Democrat, is pretty much hated by the base of that party. Ironically he is very popular among Republican senators.

Lieberman was a Democrat whose party left him

Joe Lieberman started his political life running Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign in Connecticut.

He was elected to the Connecticut state House in 1970 and served there for ten years before being defeated in the Reagan landslide in 1980. Lieberman was Attorney General of his state from 1983 to 1989 before being elected to the United States Senate. He served for three more terms, the last as an independent. He was Al Gore’s vice-presidential candidate in 2000 and ran for president in 2004.

Lieberman’s problem, from the point of view of his own party, was that he was a centrist, a hawk on foreign policy and national defense, who refused to change as the Democrats lurched left. He criticized then President Bill Clinton as he was caught up in the Lewinsky scandal. He supported President George W.

Bush’s war on terror, including the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the Iraq War. He was defeated for his Senate seat in the Democratic Primary in 2006 but went on to win the general election as an independent. He supported his friend Sen John McCain for president in 2008 over Barack Obama.

Why would Donald Trump choose a former Democratic senator as FBI Director?

By all accounts, Trump seems to have been taken with Lieberman personally. Lieberman has a well-deserved reputation for propriety and a willingness to buck his own party if he feels that the issue is the right one. His experience as a state attorney general does give him some law enforcement cache.

His chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security gives him some counter-terrorism experience which will serve him in good stead.

The main reason that Trump may choose Lieberman as FBI Director is that he would constitute a middle finger directed at Senate Democrats, some of whom have been his harshest critics and obstructionists. Since Lieberman served most of his political career as a Democrat, he would seem to be a bi-partisan choice. But since the Democratic Party is now far to the left of Lieberman, most of that party’s Senate caucus will likely vote against him, not because of his qualifications, but because they hate him personally. Such an outcome would suit Trump’s political purposes just fine.