March 03, 2004

Kerry's VP

Ryan Lizza argues for and against the wisdom of Kerry selecting his sidekick early. On the bright side, Kerry would grab some much-needed attention just as the media seems poised to focus on the beginning of Bush's counter-campaign. Plus, the VP could help Kerry campaign in a big way.

On the downside, Lizza points out that Kerry's political needs could change drastically between now and September. This seems about right. No one knows whether the economy or national security or gay marriage will dominate the headlines (and the debates) this fall. Kerry will probably want to maximize the value of his running-mate. If jobs are still a big issue, Gephardt might get the nod in order to rally out union support-- remember, Bush did snag a worrisome 43% of union voters in 2000. Likewise, a smart foreign policy hawk like Bob Graham or former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn might help if terrorism pops up again (although Kerry needs to do a better job of talking about terrorism right now). I don't know who would help Kerry out most if the much-prophecized gay-marriage culture war ends up materializing.

...come to think of it, I really do wonder how much a vice-president can help on matters like these. Could a popular Florida Senator like Bob Graham or Don Nelson really deliver Florida? I just can't see it. Who are these swing voters that go pull the lever for Kerry instead of Bush simply because there's a Florida ex-Senator on the ticket? The names 'Graham' and 'Nelson' will only strike a positive chord with people who follow politics reasonably closely, and you would think that those people would base their votes on other, better reasons. The logic of the 'vote-delivering VP' really boggles...
-- Brad Plumer 8:37 PM || ||