Saturday, November 06, 2004

There won't be Two Americas in 2008, either

I have read some articles saying that John Edwards is in a good position to compete for his party's nomination in the 2008 Presidential election.

I couldn't disagree more.

First of all, Edwards proved to be an amateur in every facet of national politicking. His inability to tone down his court-room demeanor made him come across as smug and elitist (notice to politicians: "average" people don't like lawyers who act. . .like lawyers); his "message" (the populist "Two Americas" blarney) went AWOL after the DNC; and he never effectively participated in the "attacks" that are expected to be part of a VP-candidate's repetoire. It is arguable if he added ANYTHING to the Dem ticket this year. This is not a textbook example of "taking advantage" of your first exposure to the national stage.

Secondly, his major weakness--that being his political inexperience--is not going to be strengthened anytime soon. He is a one-term Senator who spent the last two years of his only term campaigning nationally rather than doing his job in DC. The "Senator Gone" monicker that Vice President Cheney strung around his neck during the VP debate is not going to go away in the next 4 years. While I have no doubt that he will find gainful employment as a political operative until the next election, I do not think that he will find anything that will help wipe out the gaping holes in his political resume.

And lastly: VP candidates from unsuccessful campaigns don't normally have a large political future on the national stage. Look at the list: since 1960, Joseph Lieberman (who unfortunately never stood a chance within his own party this year), Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle, Lloyd Benson, Geraldine Ferraro, Thomas Eagleton, Edmund Muskie, William E. Miller, and Henry Cabot Lodge were the #2 people on the losing ticket--and none had a successful (or even MILDLY successful) future in national politics. Only Bob Dole and Walter Mondale were unsuccessful VP candidates who went on to garner their party's Presidential nomination in the future--and only Mondale got that nomination the race after his unsuccesful VP bid (and THAT came after a four-year stint as the country's VP under Carter).

I am not discounting Edwards' political future on the national stage--he's young, he has good rhetorical skills, he is bright and now he is a known quantity (or at least "known"). But I do not believe that 2008 will be his year.


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