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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Veep Thoughts

Now that Edwards has denied any interest in being vice president, I'm left to wonder: why do we need to speculate about this so much that we drive candidates into a corner to issue such firm declarations? Recall that Clark made a similar statement after being pressed by Tim Russert a few weeks back. Perhaps Edwards would be a good VP (I'm agnostic on this--depends on who the president is) and perhaps he would consider taking the job too, but of course he's never going to say as much now. If he had, he would've pissed off his supporters and discouraged donors who would've lost faith that he's in it to win it. Now that he's been forced to deny any designs on the VP job, it will make it extra-awkward for Edwards to pull an about-face in the event he gets tapped by Kerry or someone else (he would make a bad pick for Dean, and an unlikely one given their friction anyway).

Furthermore, why is speculation so rampant about which combination of two of the four leading Dems makes for the best ticket? I can't remember the last such unity ticket a party has had comprising two opponents from the primary season--I want to say Reagan and Bush in 1980(?). The point is that I think people are making a mistake by forgetting that the more standard procedure in recent presidential politics has been for the nominee to pick from among a group of VP options that don't include someone who ran in the primaries. There are plenty of other good possibilities out there, you know, and I don't want Edwards put on the ticket just in the hope that he might help garner some southern votes either.

Plus, what must make this all extra galling for Edwards is that he still has a decent shot at winning this thing, better than Dean now in the minds of a lot of pundits. So let's lay off the VP talk for now (remember how the blogs were all discussing Dean's VP choices after the Gore endorsement came down?)--there will be planty of time to speculate on that later.