Monday, May 17, 2004

The VP Valse

Right now there are many calls for McCain to be picked as Kerry's running mate in the US presidential elections. Ken Bode, DePauw's Distinguished Professor of Journalism (and former CNN political analyst), has been trumpeting this call in his weekly op-ed pieces for the Indianapolis Star. In his latest article, Bode claims that Kerry views McCain as the surefire way of winning the election. This is the prevalent motif for the McCain theme, that having a respected Republican national security maven on the ticket will gain Kerry enough voters to ensure the election. The other motif that can be heard, more subtle in nature, is that Democrats are not knowledgeable or trustworthy about the military and national defense. This is why Clinton "needed" Cohen for his Secretary of Defense, and why McCain has a "better" reputation for defense than Kerry, even though both are veterans and members of appropriate Senate committees (Armed Forces for McCain, Foreign Relations for Kerry).

Atrios has called for an end to the McCain speculation, on grounds that it would sabotage the party's platform. I agree, that having McCain on the ticket would discourage more Democrats/liberals from voting than it would gain from Republicans and swing voters. McCain would not be willing to stump for House and Senate Democrat candidates, and any interview with him would be highlighting the differences between Republicans and Democrats, rather than talks of bipartisanship.

Here in Indiana, the other talk has been of Evan Bayh, though the local pundits don't think he will end up as the nominee for VP. A negative is that Bayh is running for re-election, and we saw how well that went over in 2000 with Liebermann. All I want is someone who is a good campaigner, trustworthy to take over the presidency if necessary, and who doesn't have excess political baggage. There seem to be many possibilities, gone over in Pandagon and other places. I'd rather not think geographically or demographically, but rather about qualifications in leadership. Nail the leadership issue, that is the climax.

2 comments:

Steve Spiegelberg said...

I agree that McCain is not necessary for the ticket, but I don't feel his presence on the Kerry ticket would lose Democrats. Bush has done too good of a job splitting this country that the chasm is too large for Democrats to jump. Kerry's VP choice should be one that brings in one key swing state, and one who can handle themselves in the VP debates. Cheney has given us a fair amount of ammo in the past 3 years to present at these debates, and a VP candidate who speaks well should be able to blow him out of the water.

Scott Spiegelberg said...

While I agree that Bush has been extremely polarizing, there are those around the anti-Bush pole that could be scared over to Nader by the presence of a Republican on Kerry's ticket. It would be used by Naderites to trumpet the "Republicrat" cry, that there is no real difference between the parties. This is bull, of course. Imagine what Gore would have done for these last four years and you know that there is a real difference.