The New Republican: "Edwards for Vice-President!" - TNR

Hey, guys, whatever works.

Unable to come up with a single solid reason for supporting John Kerry as a candidate for President, the editors of The New Republic have taken to extolling the virtues of a putative Vice President Edwards. Peter Beinart (July 19, 2004 print issue, p. 6) opines that Kerry's choice of Edwards shows "a trait rare among politicians: true self-confidence". In passing over lesser-known candidates, Kerry shows courage: "If Gephardt and Vilsack would have obscured Kerry's deficiencies, Edwards exposes them: He's a better speaker than Kerry; he's got a more compelling life story; he has a more powerful critique of the president. Unlike Gephardt, he clearly would use the vice presidency as a stepping stone. Unlike Vilsack, he enjoys an independent base in the party."

Edwards is a better speaker than Kerry ... hmmm, that's not saying much. Heck, Kerry is a better speaker than GWB, but Bush is funnier. Of course, maybe it's time someone took the spotlight off Kerry's own "compelling life story", especially as we find out that more and more of it is just that - a story.

But Beinart has to admit that Kerry's "confident" choice was really born of necessity: every poll indicated that Edwards as a running-mate represented Kerry's ONLY hope of launching a viable opposition to the incumbent George W. Bush. So in a sense, the Democratic Party is running Kerry and Kerry is running Edwards. Hence, "it is Kerry who is shifting his message in response to Edwards". This, according to Beinart, is further evidence of Kerry's invaluable "flexibility".

But the fact remains that the Democrats picked Kerry, not Edwards, to represent them in the contest for the highest office in the land; and in the coming general election, it is Kerry, not Edwards, whom the American electorate will be weighing against President Bush. The picture Beinart gives us isn't one of a strong yet broad-minded candidate who prides himself on an inclusive decision-making style; rather, it's one of a cynical attempt by a desperate Democratic Party to wrest political power away from its ever-more-restless rabble. As the gap between the DNC intelligentsia and the DU mob grows wider, the relevance of a Kerry-Edwards ticket will dwindle. A great vice-presidential candidate does not necessarily create a great presidential candidate - or a successful one.

Beinart ends with the curious claim that Bush's "vision of national security didn't change, even after September 11". Huh? That must be why all the political commentators have noted GWB's dramatic shift away from isolationist policy. As Big Pharaoh wrote, "I don't care about the past. Bush was born on September 11, 2001."