FOR LIEBERMAN, HOPE IS A PLAN…. Joe Lieberman’s speech to the Republican National Convention was provocative enough, but it was even more striking to hear the former Democrat chat with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell backstage.

Mitchell asked a pretty reasonable question, which has come up more than a few times lately: “Do you feel that Sarah Palin is qualified to be commander in chief if, God forbid, something should happen to John McCain?”

Lieberman eventually, grudgingly, half-heartedly said he thought Palin would be ready, but before he got there, he argued that we shouldn’t even worry about the possibility.

“Well, you know, let’s assume the best,” Lieberman said. “John’s in great shape, he’s going to be the president, and let’s assume that nothing bad will happen. Why should we?”

Maybe because McCain is 72 and has a history of health problems? Because unexpected crises occur, and capable leaders need to be ready to step up?

“Let’s assume the best”? “Let’s assume that nothing bad will happen”? What kind of attitude is that? The underlying admission here is that Lieberman isn’t confident in Palin’s ability to lead the nation in the event of a crisis, but he’s willing to gamble the country’s future anyway. What’s more, he wants Americans to cross their fingers and hope real hard that everything will work out.

As Gerry Canavan put it, “The rest of us know after eight years of Bush that hope is not a plan.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.