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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Veepstakes Galore

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry nominated North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his pick for vice president. The John-John team should pose quite a threat to the Bush-Cheney juggernaut that has either rallied support or hatred among Americans the last four years. The Democrats, always the party that constantly does all it can to deflate its own image and appear just out of touch with Americans (though the majority of the country is registered with this party, go no farther than the 2000 Gore campaign if you need an example) need a shot in the arm with IMAGE. Here, Edwards is the wisest choice for Kerry. He's "young" at 50 but carries that youthful exuberance that voters look for, he's only served one term which keeps him out of "establishment" circles, and most importantly, he's from the South. Why does that matter? Because the South needs to be wrapped up by the Democrats in order to pose a viable threat to the GOP. The solid South is a tough nut to crack; religious conservatives, anti-Castro sentiment, and state's righters are all banes to the Democrats. Kerry's own image as being the antithesis of these three groups as well as the "average American" doesn't help. This will be Edwards' job. Kerry also needs to do all he can to chip away at the swing states that have small numbers of electoral votes. Bush swept the Midwest and while CA, NY, PA, and other big states appeared to carry Gore to Washington, those pesky lil' states like Wyoming with four people and three electoral votes really added up (don't get me started on how the electoral college is about as undemocratic as the Senate). Edwards' pizzazz, as attested to by just about everyone who's seen him speak in person, will be this ticket's biggest asset. Kerry's experience, "wish-washy"ness or image aren't the issue here; heck, Lyndon Johnson would still be in Texas if he had to run a modern campaign today. Kerry, toe-to-toe, has what it takes to lead the country. He just needs to convince voters that he's the man that the voters can trust. People like myself don't just want to vote for an "ABB" - "Anyone But Bush" but a candidate that's qualified and capable. My enthusiasm and bright-eyed naivete about politicians saving the country dried up years ago, but there's still a part of me that does want to be excited about the candidate I'm voting for. Maybe because I want to be a part of a team that not only stands for change but change for the right reasons. The dramatic neoconservative revolution that has been underway in this country for the last ten years may be popular with segments of the population, but it's going to kill the nation. The neocon platform on taxes, the environment, government secrecy and control, guns, civil rights and liberties, health care, defense, foreign policy, and its "religiosity" has polarized Americans and has driven this country down the wrong end of a one-way street. The neocons have painted the government into a corner that it can't get out of and therefore needs the people to remind them that they're no longer wanted. Let's just hope that John Edwards, the newly-announced Dem. Veep can help bring more voters not only away from Bush/Cheney but into the Democratic fold.