JOHN SQUARED. So it's John Edwards, probably the best of some not-great choices. Edwards proved himself to be by far the most engaging public personality in the Democratic presidential primaries. His biggest problem, of course, was that he couldn't get anybody actually to vote for him. Also, is he going to be willing to rough up his vaunted Mr. Nice Guy image by playing the attack-dog role normally filled by running mates?
- I know people fell into a catatonic state whenever Dick Gephardt's name came up, but Gephardt might have at least brought Missouri into the Blue Zone. Can Edwards help Kerry win his home state of North Carolina? Probably not.
- Does anyone think the Bush campaign was really worried about running against a trial lawyer last winter? Get ready for a barrage of accusations about how Edwards made his fortune. Before the Edwards campaign fell apart, there were already some websites out there claiming that he got rich with a combination of junk science and courtroom histrionics. Are the Kerry people ready to fire back?
- The most telling criticism that Kerry had supposedly murmured about Edwards was that the guy simply isn't experienced or knowledgeable enough to be president. Now, Edwards is no Dan Quayle, but he's no Al Gore, either. How is this going to play in a post-9/11 world?
That said, Kerry did okay. His dalliance with John McCain already proved he was willing to run with someone more charismatic than he. Edwards will be an asset to his campaign, and help cast him in a more centrist light.