Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | May 29, 2002

Edwards playing for real

There has been some speculation in the media lately that Sen. John Edwards of N.C. is not a serious presidential candidate. The thinking goes something like this:

  1. Edwards is a political novice, with just a single senatorial campaign under his belt.
  2. He wants to be president, but probably needs to bone up his credentials a bit.
  3. Being VP is the preferred path to the presidency.
  4. To be chosen VP, he has to prove his mettle as a campaigner.
  5. To be chosen VP, he has to prove he can attract votes.
  6. Therefore, he is running for president to prove 3 and 4.
Thus, as the argument goes, Edwards will stay in the race just long enough to ingratiate himself to whoever eventually wins the nomination.

I'm skeptical. First of all, I am highly impressed with Edwards as the potential democratic nominee. True, it's early, and true, he's unpolished. But he brings a level of charisma reminiscent of Pres. Clinton, he is a true southerner (unlike Gore) who can compete in the South. He is not the liberal Sen. Kerry is, but after Bush, I am far more pragmatic than I might otherwise be. And Edwards doesn't offend me where it matters. If he's pro-gun, that only means more votes in southern states. The gun issue is a loser for Democrats. It's not worth it (more on that some other day).

Edwards would not do well in either Iowa or New Hampshire, but he wouldn't have to. He would probably skip those two contests and focus his firepower in the first southern primary, South Carolina (which is the second primary, after the Iowa caucuses and NH). He would do well there, and continue to do well across the south. Is that enough to win the nomination? Who knows. There are far too many intangibles this far before the campaign. But I really don't believe Edwards is aiming for the VP.

Aside from that, I truly believe the Dems need to nominate a female VP this next election cycle. I am extremely gung-ho on Maryland's Kathleen Townsend Kennedy, though she is currently locked in a tight primary battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. California's Feinstein would also be a great choice. The Dems cannot continue fielding all-white, all-male presidential tickets, if it hopes to keep the party's increasingly diverse base motivated.

Posted May 29, 2002 06:00 PM | Comments (0)


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