It occurred to me yesterday that, while the primary reason for Barack Obama to intervene on Joe Lieberman's behalf was clear enough--he wants to keep that vote on his side--a corollary benefit was that it serves as a kid of peace offering to John McCain, a sign that there are no hard feelings and that Obama is serious about working with the "other" side. McCain is never going to be the leader of the congressional opposition to Obama, after all, so his best bet to remain relevant is probably to refashion himself again as a moderate Republican who can work with Democrats--a role he seems to prefer to to partisan diehard in any case. Assuming he's on the list of Republicans with at least occasionally "gettable" votes on Obama's priorities (along with Snowe, Collins, etc.) what better way to get him (and in some cases, perhaps even Lindsey Graham, too?) than to use his pal Joe as a goodwill ambassador?
The news that Obama may have chosen Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to run the Department of Homeland Security struck me similarly. Obviously, the main reason for Obama's choice (if the reports are accurate) is that he likes and trusts Napolitano--one of his early, steadfast supporters--and thinks she would do a good job. But, again, if a secondary priority is wooing McCain, you could hardly think of a better way to do it. McCain said this week that he intends to run for reelection in 2010, and by far the largest obvious obstacle for him was Napolitano, whose term-limited tenure as governor is up the same year, whom many had speculated might challenge McCain for his seat, and who even led him in one (very) early poll. If you're John McCain, Obama's finding something else for Napolitano to do with her time probably looks like a pretty big favor.