John Kerry for President, John Edwards for Vice President
I'm pretty pleased with Senator Kerry's pick for Vice President
, though I can't help but worry slightly what it will do to the senate line-up come fall; the last person to win a senate seat in John Edward's North Carolina was Elizabeth Dole. Senate-anxiety aside, this is one exciting ticket--a nice combination of gravitas and youthful energy, political and worldly experience, charming oratory and complex subtlety.
Edwards always struck me as a sincere guy who wants to use his intelligence and charm to do good work--the essence of what makes a good public servant. He seems to have a good record of success and competence. I've been meaning to read his book for a while now, ever since I was moved by the quotes in Chris Suellentrop's odd review of it in Slate
. There's a nice collection of Edwards quotes at the BBC
. He has a fairly clean record, according to Slate
. Some good quotes from the pundits:
"That's the most important thing Kerry revealed today: He understands that the election is about more than what he wants. Sometimes the biggest thing you can do is to accept what's bigger than you."--William Saletan, in Slate,
who despite his dislike for Kerry, by ascribing such a careful thinking process to the presidential candidate, demonstrates once again why John Kerry will be a good president.
"John Kerry makes the right call. As I see it, this is good for three reasons. One, it makes it more likely that starting in 2005, George W. Bush will no longer be in office."--Matthew Yglesias
, breathing a deep sigh of relief after weeks of bashing Gephardt.
""Never Held Elective Office, Politics Took Backseat To Legal Career." That's an odd criticism coming from people who pretend to abhor Washington insiders, even as they control most of the federal government -- but it's especially strange that Republicans would want to raise the issue of inexperience given who's on top of their ticket. John Edwards was, as anyone who heard him during the primary season knows, born to a mill worker, raised in poverty, and was the first person in his family to attend college. As a young boy, he wanted to become a lawyer to fight for working people. And he did -- a really good one. After his successful career as a trial lawyer, Edwards decided to try his hand at government. (Sounds like the up-by-the-bootstraps, private-sector-success-turned-public-servant stuff of many GOP dreams). Edwards has served a term in the Senate, where he sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-sponsored the Patients' Bill of Rights with John McCain and Ted Kennedy. But, the RNC says, he has only served about six years in the Senate, so he isn't qualified to be V.P. This is, perhaps, the definition of chutzpah." Geraldine Sealey, in Salon.com's War Room
I want to emphasize that I am positively for this ticket. I think John Kerry and John Edwards will lead a good administration in absolute, not relative terms. I think they are smart and competent men, and I think they are committed to the real principles of the Democratic party. Matthew Yglesias hit the nail on the head with a recent column
There's one party that wants the government to do more to clean the environment, to protect workers' rights, and to raise the funds necessary to spend more on health care and education while narrowing the deficit, and there's another party that's ideologically committed to doing none of these things.
Moreover, this is a ticket that has demonstrated a far greater respect for the kind of hard work and dialog that is necessary to maintain America's place in the world in a tenable fashion. Republicans obnoxiously make fun of the fact that Kerry spent much of his youth abroad, a snigger I consider to be an insult to the hard working men and women of the Foreign Service, who like Kerry's father, probably aren't thinking that serving our country now should handicap their children's ability to serve our country later. I think Kerry's diplomatic childhood is yet another badge of honor that will make him a good president: unlike the current one, Kerry soaked up the opportunities privilage gave him and ran with them even as a boy. That's why he can command the respect of a self-made man like John Edwards--and the respect of the world.
While Kerry and Edwards won't cry "War!" every time they want to buck a domestic issue, because they actually have
a constructive domestic agenda, they are more than adaquately prepared to deal with national security. Besides positively extolling their value, I can't resist but point out that it wouldn't be too tough to do a much better job than the current administration. In the last election, an unfortunately significant minority of the voters seemed to think that intelligence wasn't as important to the job of being president as factors like cultural issues and down-homeyness. I'm hoping that grappling with terrorism and war has changed at least some of their minds, and that they in principle agree that all else being equal, the smartest and most competent man available should be president.