Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Kerry Picks Edwards

So Kerry plumped for John Edwards in the end. For some strange reason, I'm less than surprised by this choice, and I have to say that I'm less than moved by it either, neither to paroxyms of joy nor to feelings of anguish. I don't like John Edwards' populist protectionist rhetoric, but he's only a VP candidate, and with the notable exception of the present administration, most vice presidents aren't in much of a position to do a great deal of damage on their own initiative.

Now, looking at this from the political horserace angle, John Edwards does have quite a few things going for him. To begin with, he isn't obviously a fool, and having been a successful trial lawyer, he's clearly far from tongue-tied. It's also clear that Edwards doesn't have that Nixonian nastiness about him that many a politician reveals under pressure or aggressive questioning, and, perhaps most important of all, despite its superficiality, Edwards is far better looking than both Dick Cheney and his own lugubrious-looking running-mate. In fact, of all the four most prominent names that will be on the ballot in November, Edwards is by far the "prettiest" of the bunch, which is bound to count for something with a disturbingly large number of voters - "why not pull the lever for a Vice President who looks like Hollywood's conception of what a Veep ought to look like?", I'm sure they'll be tempted to think.

In any other time than the present one, John Edwards would have made a far better (as in electorally stronger) candidate for the Democrats than John Kerry, having as he does that JFK-esque look and his Southern drawl; unfortunately for Edwards, he doesn't have the military background of a JFK, which is why John Kerry got top billing, and why Howard Dean would have been such a disastrous choice: Kerry's military bonafides make it easy for him to go after Bush for his National Guard service record, an option that simply wouldn't have been available to a guy like Dean who spent a whole year being a ski bum after getting a draft exemption for a bad back.