Thursday, June 03, 2004

More Veeping: Above all, I don't understand why Kerry's campaign is kicking around the coals-to-Newcastle name of Wesley Clark. For one thing, Kerry has so unrelentingly emphasized his military experience that attempting a gravitas transplant in that department could show Kerry as the emperor without clothes. The other uncomfortable thing about Clark would be the jarring cognitive dissonance it would require Democrats to suffer. Clark's military record makes Kerry look like George W. Bush. Plus, Kerry came home from Vietnam, after a brief tour of duty, and protested the war; Clark, on the other hand, became a career officer. In other words, Clark is exactly what Kerry was rejecting and protesting against.

The Bill Richardson boomlet appears to have ended, mostly by Richardson's own hand. But did anyone ever really know that he was (part) Hispanic anyway? Maybe some latinos in New Mexico, but they're in the bag for Kerry anyway. A Democrat won't pick a latino running mate to pick up the latino vote, but to pick up the white, suburban vote. (As the papers trumpet, "Look how inclusive John Kerry is!" Note that this kind of framing never comes along for Bush, who has put four blacks [one of them a woman], two Asians [one of them a woman], and several Hispanics in cabinet or quasi-cabinet positions. If this were John Kerry's cabinet, the press would be falling all over themselves to pat him on the back for it.)

And what about John Edwards? I'm on record saying that I think he's got it locked up. Kerry desperately needs some Q-rating on his ticket, and it's for damn sure Kerry himself won't provide it. A young, handsome southern senator who gives good stump in an aw-shucksy accent reminiscent of Clinton, but less unctuous, is pretty much the picture on the page in Webster's when you look up "ticket-balancing." Now, it may, in fact, be possible that Kerry despises Edwards. It's beyond possible, hovering between likely and settled. (It's not reported as such in the papers, but it has been implied pretty clearly.) That should have little actual effect. The truth is, Edwards has been a bust as a senator, and he needs a political patron. He needs to run with Kerry; otherwise he'll likely slip into obscurity or end up running for governor of North Carolina -- similar fates, in fact. (I bet Flyer, even though he lives there, can barely come up with the current NC governor's name.)

Edwards may not get Kerry across the finish line; but if you're going to put a honky and a honky on the ticket, make sure that honky number 2 adds something honky number 1 doesn't have. Like charm.


Razor said...

My comment to your earlier VP post says that Edwards may not want it. If he runs with Kerry and loses, he's got that baggage to lug around. If he runs and wins, he's subordinate to Kerry for 4-8 years. By remaining solo, he can say whatever he wants about Kerry if he loses, and if Kerry wins, he can be buddy-buddy with him as a Senator.

I think we should get the Nova Scotian view on this.

enobarbus said...

Yes, I see your point. But if Edwards doesn't want it, why didn't he bother to fight Kerry for the nomination. Edwards ran as though he were really seeking the #2 slot, deferential and uncritical of the top dog -- when it was Kerry as well as when it was Dean.

I'm convinced he was rolling the dice on getting a big boy to put him on the ticket. Not that he would've turned down the nomination had lightening struck. But his senate careeer was going nowhere and he needed a new job.