The Veepstakes: Finalists
And then there were four, at least according to The Boston Globe:
"John F. Kerry spent yesterday in isolation at his wife's 90-acre suburban farm, working on his convention acceptance speech amid signs that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee may announce his choice of a running mate here as early as next Tuesday.
"Kerry's public campaign schedule has been disclosed only through Monday, the day after he wraps up a Fourth of July bus tour through the Midwest and then flies back to Pittsburgh. His staff has assembled the telephone numbers and schedules next week for potential running mates, said a top adviser to one of the candidates. Kerry has asked a select few of his closest supporters to reserve Tuesday and Wednesday to travel with the campaign, which would allow for a barnstorming tour by the Democratic duo in advance of a gala fund-raiser next Thursday in New York City.
"'We're hearing it's going to be Tuesday,' said the adviser, who spoke on the condition that neither he nor his boss be identified.
"Speculation has focused on three candidates -- Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, US Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina -- but Kerry has limited all concrete information about his search to a tight circle that includes his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and James A. Johnson, the Washington banker heading his search committee. In recent days, Vilsack has been the focus of a media boomlet, but Kerry aides say other candidates including US Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and former senator Sam Nunn of Georgia remain possible choices."
Okay, first of all, it will not be Tom Vilsack. You can be sure that when you wake up on Tuesday, the media will not be all Vilsack all the time. Kerry owes Vilsack big time, and that is why he keeps his name on the short list, pumping up his name recognition -- a freebie. If Vilsack and his wife, Christy, hadn't gone out of their way in endorsing Kerry, he would not have won Iowa and slingshotted (Ka-Pow!) into New Hampshire.
Sam Nunn is too dark a choice. Nunn fairly reeks of gunpowder. He would be a fine choice to get moderates and swing voters, but he is way too fucking conservative; his whole life has been around military aircraft and weaponry and the defense industry. Although that may make people sleep soundly in, oh, say, bumfuck Kentucky, this is the Democratic Party we are talking about, a party that will be struggling with Nader votes. And Nunn has been on the head of rather dodgy Boards of Directors, swimming in the trough of special interest backwash. So, while he projects a very "defense industry competent" Dick Cheney-esque vibe, he probably wouldn't even win his own home state Georgia for Kerry. Plus he is boring as watching a plant produce oxygen. A debate with Dick Cheney (I know, I know, he will declare heart problems in about a month only to be replaced by either McCain, Giuliani or Powell) would induce a deep, deep slumber throughout the nation.
And Joe Biden is a very smug guy. He's been in the Senate so long that he has developed an off-putting and rather annoying sense of entitlement. He argues with a smile, but there are daggers in his eye. And it all sounds so phony. His temperament is not equipped for the job. Plus he has the worst comb-over on K Street.
Here's what I have said in the past of the others (I think it goes down to Geph or Edwards):
Ever since NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, a graduate student in power, the wife of Fed Reserve Chief Allan Greenspan, suggested that Hillary Clinton wants the veep slot, it has been hers to lose.
"The problem with Hillary, and there are quite a few, but let me distill the argument against her, is that she doesn't bring much to the ticket and she polarizes her opposition like no one on the radar. Of course, she is also a genuine celebrity beloved like a goddess among African-American, Latino and Asian women. And she's a two-fer: get her and her husband comes along cheap. But Kerry already does well with women; he married a tough one, and that attracts the ladies -- a man unafraid of a strong woman -- like nothing in this world. Women like men who like alpha-women, just look at Bill Clinton's numbers among women even after he cheated.
Kerry will win New York. Kerry will win the Northeast (although New Jersey, surprisingly, is looking like it is in play, thanks to the charismatically challenged Governor, McGreevey). In a sense, Hillary would have been much more useful to the ticket had she run for the Senate seat in Arkansas, where a Southern base would mark her head and shoulders above the sunny and optimistic bright Senator John Edwards, which, quite frankly, she is not. The problem with Hillary is that she was too tepid, she didn't run; Edwards did -- and thus, among many, he should get the nod, it's his turn; Edwards took the risk. But mark my words: If Hillary had won a Senate seat in the less tony and prestigious Arkansas, she would already be Kerry's Veep pick, cric crossing the nation, playing the heavy, being the pit bull to Kerry's "Presidential"-toned listening tour.
John Edwards: The likely pick. Pro: Electoral College votes; he has em. A bombshell convention speech in Prime time to show off his looks, his charm, his charisma. All about taking back the South. Will Kerry go for the Southern strategy, or the Midwestern (read: Gephardt), that is the question. A player in the party to come. 50-50 Plus, apropos of nothing, Edwards is a Gemini, and a Gemini along with a Sagittarius Kerry, would be spectacular (okay, now you can discount all my other analysis because I mentioned astrology)
Max Cleland. The Corsair believes that he is the likely choice for a running mate. Pros: From Georgia, brings the South back into the mix ... former Senator ... triple amutee war hero would make a strong veterans campaign with Kerry -- and Vets are likely Republican voters ... Expert on Homeland Security (big plus, as national security is a Republican stronghold) which Bill Clinton in a closed door meeting warned that the nominee must be strong on ... Strong on health care ... Could humiliate chicken hawk Cheney in a debate
Cons: Health might be an issue. (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: it's a fucking long ass sojourn through the country for a Veep, from Labor Day till the election -- can Cleland do it? I think so. Odds on favorite)
Gary Hart This is not going to happen, but bear with me I just like Hart and want to rant and rave for a bit. Pros: Vast intellect, PhD, Oxford, Political Philosophy ... Wise from his time out in the political wilderness ... Strong in the Southwest ... Devastating debater Cons: Old adultery charge may still stick in the Bible Belt ... May be more useful to the Democratic Party in a Senate bid against the very weak Ben Knighthorse Campbell (note: Campbell will not seek reelection) ... Possible Secretary of State, a la his hero, Jefferson (ed note: Feb 14, 2004)
Bill Richardson He's dropped off the radar screen. Pros: Governor of ultra-crucial New Mexico ... Latino ... former UN Ambassador and seasoned diplomat would give international cooperation credit points to ticket
Cons: None. He's hot like salsa, but I don't see the Southwestern strategy as being tenable as it is quite possible Bush can cockblock Kerry by picking McCain to replace a "heart sick" Cheney. Then Kerry's royally fucked in the Southwest. Too risky.
Wesley Clark Never, ever going to happen. Pros: Longshot, but if he wins big in Oklahoma and the conservative Southwest he could be in the cut ... General would give strong military backing to ticket ... would humiliate chickenhawk Cheney in a debate ... strong with African-Americans
Cons: Too closely tied to Bill Clinton, who wants Hillary '08, which may be an issue. (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: Wes is bitter as the Clintonistas dumped his ass as soon as he started looking like yesterday's donuts. Could be Sec of Defense in a Kerry White House. An effective military attack dog. Will work well with a Cleland Veep)
Dick Gephardt Pros: Outside of Cleland and Edwards, the most likely running mate ... most popular pol in pivotal swing state Missouri ... would be perfect for a Kerry-Gephardt Northern labor-veterans strategy against a Bush South ... comes with the backing of labor, a Democratic must needs ... A truly good guy who dropped out and endorsed Kerry early: he did the right thing
Cons: Wooden on the stump, charismatically challenged (ed note: Feb 14, 2004: this ticket may be too damn Northern top heavy. Could be the greatest and most powerful Sec of Labor in US history in a Kerry White House)
So, in the end, Edwards or Geph, I think Edwards, but Max Cleland would be an incredible choice.
No blog tomorrow because of work commitments. Sorry.