Monday :: Jun 21, 2004

Newsweek Says It's Down to Gephardt and Vilsack - Nader Goes For Green Party Endorsement

by Steve

Newsweek is reporting that Kerry’s “short list” for running mate selections has narrowed to Dick Gephardt and Iowa governor Tom Vilsack. You’ll notice the name missing from that list.

Kerry sources say the choice is narrowing to Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, and that the candidate remains personally uncomfortable with Sen. John Edwards. Some say Kerry could still choose a wild card like Bill Cohen, the GOP senator who became Clinton's Defense secretary.

So if this is to be believed, Kerry is more comfortable with Bill Cohen, who was a miserable defense secretary, than he is with John Edwards? What voting blocks exactly does Bill Cohen bring to the Kerry column, northeastern GOP voters? I am troubled by the continued talk about Gephardt, like many of you, and I have already said that the Vilsack choice will cost Kerry the race. But I am noticing that there is ongoing talk from Kerry campaign “sources” about bringing aboard someone from the GOP to the ticket. First, it was McCain, then last week for a short while it was Chuck Hagel, and now we can expect the Cohen boomlet for the rest of this week. Does Team Kerry feel that it is more important to force a unity ticket on the country (that may do nothing to bring in new voters to his side,) than it is to cement his base and improve his message, like an Edwards selection would do?

As for Vilsack, I hope that his prospects this late in the process are nothing more than a “thank-you” for Iowa, because I fail to see how adding Vilsack to a national ticket post 9/11 gets you anywhere. Gephardt’s making the final cut stems from familiarity and a nod to his base-shattering vote in favor of Bush’s war resolution, plus Labor’s desire for him to be at the center of the action. But the Gephardt choice only makes sense if he helps deliver his home state and Ohio and Pennsylvania as well, where the economy and jobs will be the paramount issues this fall. If he doesn’t, and the Kerry/Gephardt pairing does nothing with swing or independent voters or puts the base to sleep, then it will be a big bust.

Obviously the Massachusetts mafia around Kerry and the candidate himself are dismissive of Edwards. This despite his fundraising and his support from Democratic senators, representatives, and candidates this fall, not to mention the energy he brings to the stump, something that a Kerry/Gephardt pairing cannot do. But does the campaign really feel that a Kerry/Gephardt, Kerry/Vilsack, or a Kerry/Cohen ticket will be more attractive to the base and swing voters than adding Edwards?

Update: As Tony mentioned in the Comments section, Nader is hooking up with Green Party leader Peter Camejo this morning to form a Green/Reform party ticket for this fall. So Nader won't be going away. Even though he won't be on all state ballots, he may now draw anywhere from 2-4% in key states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, and Oregon, thereby putting a premium on Kerry locking up his base and getting as many swing voters as possible. Neither Vilsack nor Gephardt will do that now.

Thanks Ralph once again for letting your ego get the best of you. Is your desire for the house to come crashing down so that you can pick from the ashes so strong as to override the obvious harm from another four years of Bush? Does the Green Party know what will happen to them if they contribute to getting Bush into office twice?

Steve :: 11:30 AM :: Comments (47) :: Digg It!