It pains me to hear talk of Gephardt being chosen as the Vice-Presidential candidate
. Why? I guess because I see Kerry up there with his wooden 'George and Dick will have to carpool together' sound bites, and, I think, Dick Gephardt is what John Kerry needs least
I don't mean to flippantly dismiss Dick Gephardt. He's a committed legislator who had moments of great eloquence--like when he implored Bob Livingston not to resign as Speaker of the House over an old affair. But that is not the eloquence that we need right now. Kerry seems wooden and unable to articulate the quick, positive reasons to make him President--the affirmative, elevator pitch of his candidacy.
Kerry should look to what George W. Bush did in a related situation in 2000. Governor Bush had the political, campaigning side of the equation down--but it was the governance, head-of-state, leader of the free world stature that he seemed to lack. So he chose Cheney as his vice-presidential candidate. And regardless of who Cheney really is and what he has done since, at the time he seemed like an experienced set of hands that even to liberals communicated an addition of gravitas to the ticket.
John Kerry will never have the magical political charisma that so many now ascribe to President Clinton nor the ability to quickly show people the positive, brighter future that his election might engender. However, this doesn't mean he can't get elected or be a good leader.
What I think it means is that he should choose John Edwards as his running mate as soon as possible. John Edwards has a proven ability to connect with voters and articulate the brighter future that a Democratic administration would bring to this nation. We shouldn't idly speculate on the possible appeal of other, untested candidates.
John Edwards allows John Kerry to put forth his dignified, commander-in-chief image that John Kerry is so good at. And in so doing answering that central of voter questions, "Is this a safe pair of hands to entrust the Presidency with?" At the same time allowing John Edwards to campaign prominently for the Democratic ticket gives voters the chance to see repeatedly the positive, warm fuzzy reasons that they want to have for voting for their candidates when they step into the polling booth.
Making this choice, and early, would not be a sign of weakness or incompleteness on Kerry's part as some might say but a bold, interesting step that subtly communicates a candidate's wisdom about his own, human limitations.
John Kerry may be able to go it alone--and bore people to death as a safe pair of ABB hands--and possibly squeak into office. But doesn't doing that unnecessarily risk another four years of the Bush Administration and seem to let winning depend more on his opponent's losing the election than your own clearly winning it.