Notes on the Atrocities
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Tuesday, July 06, 2004  

Edwards!

Whew. I've tried to avoid talking veep because it seemed like Gephardt has long been the selection--I've been trying to muster energy to welcome him as a not-catastrophic choice. Let me now say it: he would have been catastrophic.

Outside Missouri, Gephardt gives you absolutely nothing. He's a droning old-guarder who inspires zero interest. He's got a record of flip-flopping and Republican appeasement a mile long (which I guess would made Kerry look solid by comparison). He brings organized labor--but Kerry's already got labor. He brings foreign policy experience--but that's Kerry's strength.

Edwards, by contrast, bolsters Kerry where he needs it--among the Wal-Mart moderates Reagan stole a generation ago. He's a populist who can go into red America and stir the hearts of those who have been losing ground for years. He consistently did well with these moderates in the primaries and may steer the Democrats away from their reputation as an "elite" party.

He complements, rather than duplicates, Kerry's strength, and rides as a clear two. In a time of terror, it's critical that the top of the ticket has the most experience in foreign policy. Gephardt's strengths are similar to Kerry's, and he doesn't have the ability to speak to red America.

Gephardt would have been far easier to attack, as well. Edwards doesn't have the decades-long resume for the Bushies to exploit. Of course, they'll exploit his inexperience, but there's not nearly the purchase there. They'll also exploit his status as a "trial" lawyer (give them success in having already negatively branded the term and pinned it on him), but this cuts both ways. It gives Edwards the opportunity to talk about the Americans he's represented, and further bolsters his populism.

All the way around, it's a fantastic development. The Dems have substantially strengthened their ticket. What a great start to the week.

posted by Jeff | 8:04 AM |
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