Dennis Hans: The Ideal Kerry Running Mate
The Ideal Kerry Running Mate
By Dennis Hans
Now that John McCain has said ''No!'' to John Kerry enough times for it to finally sink in, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee must act quickly to secure an even better running mate.
Kerry is a centrist who is perceived in some quarters to be liberal, and to undercut that perception he prefers a conservative or conservative-leaning running mate. If the man or woman is a southerner who might be able to deliver a battleground state, all the better. That’s why Kerry wanted Arizona’s McCain, and it’s why he has given serious consideration to two center-right geezers: Florida senator Bob Graham and former Georgia senator Sam Nunn.
Either Graham or Nunn would be a decent choice, but both men share the same drawbacks: they’re short on charisma and long on affiliation with the Democratic Party. As we all know, in these perilous times the ideal Democratic ticket would be a bipartisan, national-unity duo — a Democrat at the top, a Republican as second banana.
That’s why North Carolina’s John Edwards — a southern Democrat with a charisma to burn and a populist message that resonates with grassroots Dems — is all wrong for 2004. He should, however, be ideal for 2016, the year that party leaders are projected to overcome their fear of appearing too “Democratic.”
What Kerry needs in 2004 is a big-name, highly respected, swing-state Republican with Edwards’ youth, vitality and charm, but with McCain’s staunchly conservative positions on most of the major social, civil-rights, economic and foreign-policy issues.
Pick up the phone, Senator Kerry. Call the ideal running mate, the one man who can guarantee you the state of Florida and the presidency. Call Jeb Bush.
©2004 by Dennis Hans
Bio: Dennis is a freelance writer, basketball shooting instructor, former adjunct professor and proud Nose-Holding Democrat. He can be reached at HANS_D@popmail.firn.edu