Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Democratic Candidate 

I just wanted to say something before the polls close, and we know who won. I previously thought that Edwards was the best shot for a Democratic win in 2004, but I've come to believe that I was totally wrong. John Kerry actually was the best choice for the Democrats.

Why did I think Edwards was the best? Well, I think if you've seen him give a stump speech, you'd know why. He's eloquent, and speaks powerfully. He looks young and energetic up there. It's exactly what you liked about Bill Clinton.

However, I never watched any of the Democratic primary debates. I'm sure what I would have seen if I had was that John Edwards is an awful debater. He's terrible at it, he falls apart completely. He looks nervous, and behaves strangely. Watching him debate Cheney wasn't a pretty sight. If John Kerry wins tonight, it will almost certainly have been due in large part to his strong and steady debate performances against Bush. Edwards debating Bush would have been a whole different game than a faceoff with Cheney, but I still can't imagine Edwards coming out on top of that one.

In fact, given his poor performance, I am led to agree that picking Edwards hasn't done much for Kerry. The Democratic governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, made the short list of potential VP choices, and probably could have delivered Iowa for Kerry. Edwards doesn't have a hope of delivering a single Southern state, so now Kerry-Edwards has had to fight for a state that might have simply been theirs.

The only other realistic Democratic nominee was Howard Dean, and while I was sympathetic to many of his positions (especially his straight-shooting position that we need to raise the retirement age for social security), he struck me as a bit too unpredictable and politically tone deaf (ie, he was laughable when talking about religion) to be a good choice to face Bush. Plus, the Deaniacs alienated the hell out of me with their whole cult thing, and I'm supposed to be on their side.

So in the end, I think John Kerry was the best choice the Democrats had to choose from. And what a sorry statement that is.

I think the Edwards pick was more about what it said about who Kerry was, rather than about Edwards himself. It was a nice sign, first of all, to join the Democratic Party by picking the guy who got second place. Second of all, it said that Kerry was the type of guy who didn't mind sharing the spotlight, and stepping back. That may have done wonders. For example, I haven't heard anyone accuse Kerry of running an "ego campaign." And then it made it seem totally natural later on when Clinton came in.
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