Monday, March 11, 2013

Sen. Joe Lieberman Joins AEI

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) announced today (March 11) that former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is joining the conservative think tank.

He will serve as Co-Chairman of the American Internationalism Project, along with former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).  That Project aims to rebuild and reshape a bipartisan consensus around American global leadership and engagement.

Here is a statement from AEI.

The Cable, which has the headline "AEI gets Joe-mentum," notes that Lieberman is not joining AEI in a formal sense, but he will be a leader of the Project, which will be coordinated by Research Fellow Philip Lohaus.

On March 7, 2013, Sen. Kyl joined AEI as a Visiting Fellow.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch Post on that announcement.  Both Senators retired from the Senate this January.

Sen. Lieberman may also be seeking out other think tanks.  Australian think tank the Lowy Institute just hosted Sen. Lieberman during a recent visit to Austalia.  [Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently became a Nonresident Fellow at Lowy.]

It would be no surprise if Lieberman, following in the footsteps of close pal Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), started his own think tank eventually.  Last year McCain launched the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, DC.

But would he set up shop in Washington?  Or Connecticut?  Lieberman recently sold his house in Washington, but he can always buy another one if he want to use DC as a base to think tank full time.  [The US already has 1,919 think tanks, and Washington, DC has 394.  What's one more, right?]

Here is what The Atlantic Wire has to say about Lieberman's think tank annoucement:
Now, Lieberman will get to pow-wow on important foreign policy issues with AEI senior fellow John Bolton, America's U.N. representative during the Bush administration. Bolton pulls in about $190,000 in salary and benefits from the AEI, so one can assume Lieberman will make close to his $179,000 Senate salary.
But, money aside, it is hard to believe that Lieberman would find palatable a position with a conservative group. I mean, this is the man who was selected to run with Al Gore in part because he slammed Clinton over the Lewinsky affair, who supported warrantless wiretapping even before Bush came to office, who steadfastly supported the Bush administration's push into Iraq, who was literally kissed by the Republican president, who left the party in 2006 after getting demolished in the primary, who supported a guy named John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador, who advocated for a form of internet kill switch, who in 2008 endorsed John McCain, and who took McCain's side on basically every foreign policy issue that came up during his last term in office.
Nonetheless, we're optimistic. First, Lieberman's partnering with Jon Kyl will provide a real burst of birpartisanship on international issues, almost as if someone were able to convince John Kerry to work with Chuck Schumer. And, second, we've gone ahead and compiled the following list of all of the groundbreaking policy innovations and accomplishments created by former elected officials who transitioned to Washington think tanks. Feel free to suggest any we've missed.

(Note: this list does not actually exist.)

Here is a piece from the Center for American Progress (CAP) on why AEI and Lieberman are "perfect" for each other.

Here is what the National Interest has to say about Lieberman and AEI.

Here is a Muckety map showing the relationship between Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman and their connection to AEI.

Last month, AEI announced that it would be moving to 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, the current headquarters of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

AEI was recently ranked as the 7th best think tank in the US and the 20th best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania annual rankings.