Senator Joseph I. Lieberman announced Tuesday that he had hired a new spokesman, which is not in itself that noteworthy, except that the said spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, is one of the great career vagabonds, ideological contortionists and political pontificators ever to inflict himself on a city full of them.
To say that Mr. Wittmann defies classification is like saying Paris Hilton defies modesty. But in his peripatetic soul, he is a Washington Original, a man without a political country going to work for a senator without a political party.
Mr. Lieberman, a longtime Democrat of Connecticut who was re-elected as an independent and calls himself an “Independent Democrat,” has not ruled out becoming a Republican.
Mr. Wittmann, meanwhile, is a Trotskyite turned Zionist turned Reaganite turned bipartisan irritant turned pretty much everything in between — including chief lobbyist for the Christian Coalition, the only Jew who has ever held that position.
There are of course plenty of political people who have undergone philosophical evolutions over the years. But Mr. Wittmann, 53, has zigzagged in the extreme, from stints in left-leaning unions to right-wing policy shops. He describes his career as “eclectic,” saying he has always been drawn to independent thinkers. “The good lord has made me a contrarian,” Mr. Wittmann said.
I suppose that's one word for it.
More on this entirely unsurprising development from Mark Schmitt:
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.
Wittman should fit right in.