Tuesday, July 06, 2004

What Took Him So Long?


You're probably wondering why Kerry took so long to pick Edwards, who was the most obvious pick. (I had thought a few weeks back that it might be Clark, but I was clearly out of the loop).

It was well worth taking the extra time to investigate everything one can find out about a prospective VP candidate. I am old enough to remember the Eagleton fiasco in 1972. Tom Eagleton was a fine Senator, respected by all, and if McGovern hadn't picked him to be his Vice-President, he could have stayed that way. But Eagleton wanted the job too much, and because the McGovern people didn't press Eagleton sooner to disclose about his history of depression and shock therapy, they gave their candidate a blow from which McGovern never recovered. Nixon was a formidable candidate by the fall of 1972, and I suspect that McGovern would have lost even if he had started out with Sargeant Shriver, but it would probably have been a much closer race.

Kerry's people also probably reasoned that delaying the announcement until the beginning of July gives positive press coverage at a key moment three weeks before the Democratic convention, and gives the public an opportunity to refocus their attention on Kerry. Whether or not Edwards himself can deliver a particular state in November, the choice of a Vice-Presidential candidate can help Kerry increase his lead by a few percentage points at this stage of what is shaping up to be a very close race.


What does it mean to be the best? It means you have to be better than the number two guy. But what gratification is there in that? He's a loser—that’s why he's number two.
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