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Tuesday, July 6, 2004
So, It’s Edwards

By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 am

No big surprise: Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate. Not a bad choice, but I am not sure that it was the best choice.

Some thoughts:

1) The “Bringing a State” Test. Yes, this is an over-rated category, but since it is fairly clear that Edwards was unlikely to be re-elected to the Senate from NC, his electoral impact will be small. And one can throw out the idea that he will help in the South to the degree to which he could swing a Bush state to Kerry.

2) The “Read to Govern” Test: A scant six years (almost) in elected office isn’t really suffcient to pass this test-and while he is a better looking man thatn Cheney, and more energetic looking, I don’t think he will compare favorably in the debates. To the small degree to which some swing voters may look at the veeps as potential presidents in a time of war, I would think that Cheney would win that comparison.

3) Senator + Senator: While hardly a death-blow, it seems odd to me to have two Senators on the ticket who have, between them, zero hours of chief executive experience (although, granted, Kerry was Lt. Gov. of Mass under Dukakis).

4) The “He Adds Energy to the Ticket” Argument: First, whatever energy infusion that Kerry will get will only last through the initial media-fest over the nomination, and second, the excitement over the possibility of some excitement bespeaks poorly about the head of the ticket. LIke the GOP excitement over Jack Kemp in 1996, this situation serves to underscore how un-exciting the nominee is.

I still think that Gephardt would have been a better choice: a chance at tippping MIssouri to Kerry, a ton of governmental experience, and less discussion about him being chosen for “energy.” Although, granted, there was still a lack of executive experience there.

The selection does follow the same pattern as that other JFK, i.e., Senator+Senator (and Northeastern+Southerner)-except that LBJ had a ton of experience and could bring Texas, and the top of the ticket had the charisma and energy.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign
  • Outside the Beltway linked with Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate
  • Phlegma weblog linked with Kerry chooses Edwards
  • Outside the Beltway linked with Kerry Picks Edwards as Running Mate
  • The American Mind linked with Ketchup and Mustard
  • Priorities & Frivolities linked with John Edwards
  • Signifying Nothing linked with Signified Elsewhere
  • The Moderate Voice linked with John Edwards As Democratic Veep: Expert Larry Sabato On Pluses And Minuses
  • One Fine Jay linked with Slick Johnny

Click here to go to the main page.

4 Comments»

  1. I don’t see how the lack of elective office experience can be wielded against Edwards when George Bush had no more, and arguably less, exeperience in 2000.

    Comment by Harry — Tuesday, July 6, 2004 @ 9:54 am

  2. A valid point-however, traditionally experience in executive office has counted far more in these kinds of situations than legislative experience. So that in handicapping such things, having been governor of a major state for a full term, and then having been re-elected, woul score higher than an incomplete Senate term. Now, whether that is appropriate scoring or not is another question, but given the way voters have judged such candidates in the past, it seems that such is the way candidates are perceived.

    Plus, Bush was running in the “peace and prosperity” era, while this is at worst a war era, and at best one of serious international conflict-which also affects perceptions of the importance of experience.

    Comment by Steven — Tuesday, July 6, 2004 @ 10:10 am

  3. If you’re interested, here’s the press release:

    In just a few minutes, I will announce that Senator John Edwards will join me as my running-mate on the Democratic ticket as a candidate for vice president of the United States. Teresa and I could not be more excited that John and Elizabeth Edwards will be our partners in our journey to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

    You are the heart and soul of our campaign. You’ve shattered records and expectations every step of the way. Every time someone said you couldn’t do it, you proved them wrong. Because of your incredible grassroots energy and commitment, I wanted to make the first official announcement of my decision to you - more than one million online supporters at johnkerry.com.

    I want you to know why I’m excited about running for president with John Edwards by my side. John understands and defends the values of America. He has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and those struggling to reach the middle class. In the Senate, he worked to reform our intelligence, to combat bioterrorism, and keep our military strong. John reaches across party lines and speaks to the heart of America - hope and optimism. Throughout his own campaign for President, John spoke about the great divide in this country - the “Two Americas” - that exists between those who are doing well today and those who are struggling to make it from day to day. And I am so proud that we’re going to build one America together.

    In the next 120 days and in the administration that follows, John Edwards and I will be fighting for the America we love. We’ll be fighting to give the middle class a voice by providing good paying jobs and affordable health care. We’ll be fighting to make America energy independent. We’ll be fighting to build a strong military and lead strong alliances, so young Americans are never put in harm’s way because we insisted on going it alone.

    I can’t tell you how proud I am to have John Edwards on my team, or how eager I am for the day this fall when he stands up for our vision and goes toe-to-toe with Dick Cheney.

    This is the most important election of our lifetime, and a defining moment in our history. With you by our side every day of this campaign, John and I will lead the most spirited presidential campaign America has ever seen, and fight to lead our nation in a new and better direction.

    Thank you

    Comment by ericl — Tuesday, July 6, 2004 @ 10:16 am

  4. from Juan Cole:

    One thing that hadn’t been clear to me before was Edwards’ antipathy to Halliburton and his critique of “unbid contracts.” Edwards as a trial lawyer who helped consumers get their due from rich corporations that had harmed them would be ideally placed to take on the whole issue of Halliburton and the ways in which the Bush administration has mishandled Iraq by funneling huge amounts of money into expensive contracts that did not even employ many Iraqis. That is to say, Edwards may be the Anti-Cheney in ways that could be important to the campaign. Cheney’s use of foul language on the Senate floor and increasing testiness suggest that he feels vulnerable on the Halliburton issue. One of the scandals that has been reported but hasn’t really broken yet is the way in which Halliburton gained contracts to provide services to US troops in an emergency but has been unable actually to provide those services. The summer of 2003 was hell on the troops because they had no quonset huts or air conditioning. Their shaving cream cans were exploding in the desert. Why didn’t the army just build them quonset huts? Because that task had been contracted out to civilians. And why didn’t civilians do the job? Because civilians cannot be ordered into a war zon, and Halliburton and KBR often simply could not put enough civilian personnel into the field to do the jobs contracted for in a timely manner. Who suffered? The US troops. Why? Because the Bush administration gave a soldier’s job to wealthy civilian corporations unequipped to handle it. Edwards is well placed to make hay with this sort of thing if he is canny about it.

    Comment by Stephen — Tuesday, July 6, 2004 @ 1:31 pm

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