« Slavery! | Main | Don't Get Too Comfortable on that SOFA »

July 08, 2008


Edwards did a terrible job as Kerry's running mate, and got slaughtered by Cheney in the VP debate. He has also pretty consistently shown a lack of ability to actually get very many people to vote for him. Why should we subject ourselves to him again?

Edwards as VP, Take Two?

Fnck that noise. It's either me or cleek for BOSHAMO-X's Veep!

not me, man. i'd rather eat worms than give speeches.

Obama / Ugh 08!

and Edwards as VP? meh. we tried that last time.

I suppose it's worth noting that Obama could name John S. McCain as his running mate, and suddenly the Republicans would hate HIM. Oh, wait, sorry, too late...

I think Clinton is looking better all the time.

"And Edwards does too – but he may have less problems than they do."

Fewer problems.

"Biden, for instance, is the strongest post-election pick, but doesn’t bring much to the table in the pre-election campaign phase."

Foreign policy credentials/experience.

"For instance, Clinton would be an extremely safe pick (well-vetted, no gaffes,"

I hesitate to restart any Clinton discussion, and will doubtless regret this, but: what?

That's not my memory of the past six months.

"Webb, by contrast, would be a dramatic 'change' selection, but he comes with a lot of unknowns."

That whole "under no circumstances" thing strikes me as a problem.

So what's the problem with Sebelius?

Close tag.

cleek: "and Edwards as VP? meh. we tried that last time."

Is it your sense that the ticket lost because of Edwards? Any cites on that?

I hesitate to restart any Clinton discussion, and will doubtless regret this, but: what?

Pretty sure he was being snarky there Gary.

I hope so, Ugh, but it certainly wasn't clear to me. I was about to object like Gary.

It's the accepted narrative that Democrats won't nominate the same people twice, which vibes nicely with: "and Edwards as VP? meh. we tried that last time."

But Democrats also tried Gore in 2000, and from what I gather, Democrats would love for Gore to run now.

I don't think Publius was being snarky about Clinton. I just think what he means by "safe" is rather limited.

The main argument against Edwards is that we've already tried him once as the veep nominee, and it's weird to pick the same guy again after he's been on the losing ticket once.

I think that's a pretty weak argument.

I also don't buy John's comment that Edwards got slaughtered by Cheney in the debate. He seemed to hold his own, and if I recall, the polling at the time showed a plurality thought he won it.

And (again, responding to John) if Edwards did a terrible job as Kerry's running mate, I don't see how. Did he do what he was asked to do? Did Kerry's team use him particularly well? He certainly wasn't a liability that I could tell - just not as much of an asset as one would have hoped.

I personally find the Edwards of 2007-08 to be a much stronger voice than the Edwards of 2003-04.

I think the key thing for the veepship is for Obama to pick someone he's comfortable with, and who would be suited to carry on Obama's agenda in case of emergency. But if Obama and Edwards can be in each other's comfort zones, then I think Edwards would be a great choice.

I'm lukewarm on Edwards, but I think having Elizabeth Edwards active on the campaign trail would be nice a pre-election plus as well.

So what do you all think of Brian Schweitzer?

I also don't buy John's comment that Edwards got slaughtered by Cheney in the debate. He seemed to hold his own, and if I recall, the polling at the time showed a plurality thought he won it.

Yeah, I'm going to have to go ahead and sort of ... disagree with you there. (Push-polling aside.)

I thought Edwards got creamed in the VP debate. He seemed uncomfortable most of the time, didn't really call Cheney on any of his BS, didn't take advantage of gaffes, and simply wasn't very convincing.

I discussed the debate with several friends, and the consensus seemed to be that you thought Edwards did reasonably well if you pay a lot of attention to news and politics (i.e., if you knew Cheney was lying), but to Joe six pack who only pays passive attention, Cheney seemed to slaughter him.

For better or for worse, in our electoral system, what Joe six pack thinks matters a great deal.

I do agree with GHF, however, that it's ludicrous to pin Kerry's loss on Edwards. Lack of charisma, a relatively hostile media, and the strategic blunder of not immediately countering the Swift Boat ads were all much larger contributors to Kerry's doom.

Oh, and for the record, I'm not keen on Edwards as VP. If he gets serious about it, he could make a much bigger difference outside of government, a la Gore. If he makes social justice his issue, the way Gore made global warming his, he could do a great deal.

low-tech: I think that's a pretty weak argument.

Especially as we don't even know for sure that Kerry lost.

I like Edwards and would be happy if he were chosen, but thinking about how things should play out post election, you don't want someone who will take some of the spotlight. Part of the appeal of the Obama candidacy is the fact that everything gets focussed thru him, and he is the agent of change. This, more than anything else, generates the excitement and power of his candidacy. It would be quaint for Obama to suddenly begin defocussing that spotlight by choosing someone who would have an strong claim on parts of that spotlight.

None of this is a knock on Edwards personally, but in viewing the matrix that publius sets up, he envisions the possibility of a clear break between the pre-election and post election, but Bush's legacy is that we now have an eternal campaign, and Obama is probably going to have to maintain that eternal campaign because it is now a permanent feature of the US political landscape.

I certainly wouldn't object to Edwards as VP, seeing as I voted for the guy in the primaries--he certainly ran as a more progressive candidate than Obama did, and would help ease the minds of some Obama supporters who are only now seeing Obama's centrist tendencies. It could help signal a greater seriousness about universal health care and solidify the domestic side of things.

And I want to make a point here--if Obama chooses a running mate who has "strong national security cred" and who also supported the Iraq war, like a Biden for instance, then he undercuts a large part of his rationale as a candidate. People supported him because he was right about Iraq, when lots of experts weren't. National security is his strong suit, not his weakness. To bring on someone to bolster that part of his candidacy makes his Iraq decision look like a lucky break, instead of good judgment.

Did [Edwards] do what he was asked to do?

No, according to the Kerry people. He did not. He was always too concerned with his own political future to commit himself to the campaign. This article from last year goes into a fair bit of detail about it. Basically, Edwards refused to go negative because he was afraid it would make him look bad. This was apparently a constant problem throughout the 2004 election.

Obviously, there's some sour grapes here from the Kerry people. But it still seems fairly clear that Edwards was never a team player on the Kerry campaign, and always insisted on doing his own thing rather than working on pushing the message the Kerry campaign thought needed to be pushed. In particular, he was opposed to attacks on the Bush administration (which were, I think, the only way to win - you can't beat an incumbent president solely on a positive message. I don't think that has ever been done.)

No doubt Kerry was an annoying person to run with, and Edwards' complaints often make sense. But the basic issue is that a VP candidate has to do what the presidential candidate tells him to. And Edwards wouldn't do that.

I don't think he especially hurt Kerry, but he certainly didn't help him even slightly.

Is it your sense that the ticket lost because of Edwards? Any cites on that?

sorry, no cites to back up your speculation that i think the Dems lost because of Edwards.

but, Edwards doesn't really bring anything new to the table this time around - it's still the same old Edwards. and i don't see how an 04 flashback helps Obama. this is a forward-look "change" election (so i'm told). don't look back. yesterday's gone.

Tim Kaine?

sorry - just tuning in. yes, i was serious when i said clinton was "safe," but i mean safe in a narrow sense. i don't know what bill's records show, but still, clinton is a fairly known commodity. she wouldn't make any major mistakes on the road, and she's been under national scrutiny for, well, forever.

but she does completely mess up the change narrative. and, I htink she would actually make governing harder b/c of bill

Janet Napolitano is missing from your list. Did you leave her off just because you can't discuss every politician in the country and you didn't have much to say about her, or do you have a specific reason for thinking she'd be a poor choice?

When I look at the list of possibilities, one candidate stands out as having very few negatives, and a whole lot of positives. I'm not sure what your problems are with Kathleen Sebelius, but if there's a serious obstacle to her becoming the VP, I'd like to hear it. I've put a lot of imaginary "money" on her, in just about every conversation I have where someone asks me my opinion of the VP pick.

I thought Edwards got creamed in the VP debate....didn't really call Cheney on any of his BS,....Joe Six pack..

Edwards held his own with Cheney. Polling at the time did not exclude 'Joe Sixpack', and Edwards won among undecideds, and won or lost generally depending on which poll you read. Please remember that Cheney is a much tougher guy to 'debate' than practically anyone else recent you can think of - his willingness to flat out lie about things which can be easily checked is pretty hard to counter. This idea that Edwards got 'creamed' is simply wrong, but it never seems to go away. You wanted to see Edwards 'cream' Cheney and so did I, but Dick is very very hard to do that to. Edwards told Cheney that he and Bush were lying to the American People, brought up that while CEO of Halliburton, Cheney lobbied for *relaxing* sanctions with Iran, and many other very tough things. Cheney just stonewalled, saying 'No no no' and 'I've never met you before'. What would YOU have done in Edwards' place? Mooned a sitting VP? And this lingering idea that Edwards made a difference in Kerry's loss is just preposterous. Kerry was terrible candidate and lost it himself (assuming he lost). As usual, some people - the same people over and over - want to rationalize their extra-rational dislike for Edwards. I don't know why that is (maybe they supported Kerry in the primary? or Dean?).

All that said, I like Sibelius. She is accomplished, steady, smart (worthy of becoming president), and would fit well into the second-banana role for the campaign - wouldn't outshine Obama. I'd like to see Edwards actually BE VP, but think that KS would be good both for the campaign *and* as VP.

Edwards? Seriously?

I really don't get it. He sounds like a used car sales man, and suffers even more acutely from claims (admittedly somewhat bullshit claims, but if they work, it doesn't matter if they are legit or not) or being a liberal elite, and has already proven that even a light weight public speaker can kill him in a general election debate.

He doesn't deliver any votes that Obama isn't already going to get, not even in the south. Not to mention that twice, the democratic base has rejected him as a pick for the top slot pretty resoundingly.

He addresses NONE of the experience questions that Obama will need to deal with in the general, since all he has is a fairly mundane single term in the senate.

Sorry, I don't like to question motives of people that advocate for the less fortunate, and I do think he actually does care, but it sounds like shtick. Maybe I can't get past his accent, but he just seems so fake when he speaks.

Harsh as it is, we also have to deal with the fact that it is highly likely that Elizabeth Edwards will pass away during a first term. I don't know the Edwards, but it sure does seem that they are very much in love. I don't know how wise it is to pick a guy for the VP that we know full well will be hit with a devastating personal loss right in the middle of the job.

Sibelius is the only person I can think of that would fit the bill perfectly. She has actually run something, and ran it very well. She doesn't deliver her home state, but she should be able to deliver more votes in the mid-west. Personally, I think the party should be focusing on the mid-west over the south. Even though I do believe in the 50 State Strategy in the long term, for the 2008 general, Obama needs to target something that he can flip, and the South isn't it.

Only problem with Sibelius is sexism, and I think it is hard to judge that issue. I do believe there was a lot of sexism during the Democratic Primary, but I do wonder if people just didn't like Clinton, observed that she was female and used that as a mode of attack. In essence, "let's pick on the fact that she is a woman" and not "let's pick on her because she is a girl".

but he may have less problems than they do


*waves flag of foredoomed usage battle*

*sobs brokenly*

I think Clark, Biden, and Edwards would all be good choices. (Can't agree on Webb. We need him where he is, and the 'baggage' he brings with him because of his writings, and because of his "I'm a Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat" history would make him one of the few candidates who would hurt the ticket.)

Otoh, I see Sebelius as a great choice. I am totally confused by publius' statement that she would be stronger in the pre-election campaign than in the post-campaign. The knock on her has always been that she might be a poor campaigner -- based as far as i can tell on one speech, her response to the State of the Union address.

But her record as Governor has been outstanding -- particularly her ability to bring Republicans to her side without softening, changing, or 'triangulating' her own positions -- precisely the talent that Obama has shown as a legislator. She has a strong record -- in one of the reddest of states -- of fighting for and winning battles for pregressive stances. (Take a look at her history as the first Democratic Insurance Commissioner in a hundred years, and how she actually beat Blue Cross and Blue Shield, among other accomplishments.)

There are a lot of very good choices out there -- and only a few stinkers like Sam Nunn -- but to me she is the best of a good group.

(As for Edwards as AG, no, There is a much better choice in Sheldon Whitehouse -- and this would mean that Lincoln Chaffee could return to the Senate as a Democrat this time. Edwards was a trial lawyer -- and some of the personal problems mentioned above seem to be typical of the profession -- read Auchincloss. Whitehouse was a prosecutor, and has been truly fierce in his attacks on the Bush Administration. Give him the power, and a lot of the trials that so many of us want to see will actually happen.)

There is a much better choice [for AG] in Sheldon Whitehouse

Absolutely yes.


I get the impression that you were responding to more than just me there, because I like Edwards, and I explicitly reject the claim that he had anything to do with Kerry's loss. At the same time, I don't think he brings very much to the table as a VP candidate, and at the same time (as I said before) I think he can do a lot more good outside of public office.

As to the debate, you do make some good points, but I still felt he could have been more aggressive. If he makes an allegation and Cheney flatly denies it, implore the media and the American people to look it up -- fact check the claim. You're right, though, that Cheney's willingness to simply, flatly lie about easily-verifiable facts does make him a tough target; still, I submit that this is only because of the media's refusal to consistently call him on it, and it's why Edwards should have chided them. (I can see how that would backfire, too, though, because the media just HATES to be criticized like that, and they tend to turtle up.)

As for who I like for VP? I recognize that it will never happen, but I'll give you a hint: his first name is Russ.

Otoh, I see Sebelius as a great choice. I am totally confused by publius' statement that she would be stronger in the pre-election campaign than in the post-campaign. The knock on her has always been that she might be a poor campaigner -- based as far as i can tell on one speech, her response to the State of the Union address.

I agree that this is the knock on Sebelius, but I'm not sure that it's just the one speech. There's also the complete lack of any counterexamples. The lack of any time when, say, she's appeared on TV as a surrogate for Obama and anyone has said anything about how she was impressive in that role.

There's a lot of popular governors who are impressive on paper, but underwhelming when you actually see them. Sebelius seems to fit this mold. Another good example is Mark Warner. Mark Warner was a tremendously popular governor, but not because he's actually an exciting natural politician. He gave a dreadful commencement speech at UVA when I graduated in 2002. It was intensely boring, and I was astonished at all the presidential buzz surronding the guy.

Obviously, the epitome of this problem was Michael Dukakis, who we actually made the mistake of nominating for president. But the country is littered with popular governors and ex-governors who are as dull as a brick, and should probably be avoided as VP candidates. Besides Warner and Sebelius, I'd say Evan Bayh and Ted Strickland fit pretty comfortably in this category.

I get the impression that you were responding to more than just me there, because I like Edwards, and I explicitly reject the claim that he had anything to do with Kerry's loss.

I was responding to more to others than to you, although I do think it's entirely too easy for some to assume they just *know* what Edwards should've done in that debate (suuure you do). My larger point is that the true reasons lots of Democrats - particularly younger ones - didn't support Edwards, despite his being the best candidate in many ways, were based on very poor criteria, and worse than that, secretly so-based. I like the commenter above who says he didn't like Edwards' accent, his demeanor, etc., because it's at least honest. I don't think those things are necessarily the best criteria for deciding, but at least the guy was honest (as was publius, which I commend him for). What I really object to is all the elaborate excuses, eg the VP debate, his not pulling in very many rural votes (obviously, those people were not-voting for *Kerry*); the special knowledge people seem to have about Edwards refusing to help Kerry in the campaign, etc. etc. etc. They demonize/ridicule Edwards just as the Right does, and for many of the same reasons. It's very odd to see this frothing hatred for a very good man, and a talented politician. It's jaw-droppingly unfair, it's chowderheaded politics, and it's all done to hide the fact that what they really didn't like were some rather superficial things: his earnestness (hip people *hate* that), his accent, his being rather declasse, and his trial lawyer style. I accept (but don't quite agree with) an honest argument that those latter things would've been an electoral detriment, but that kind of argument is not what I'm talking about.

What I object to is the Democratic party being the party of 'hipness' and/or Identity rather than the party of the demos - particularly the middle class, poor people, labor. The former buys into the very right wing conception of politics-as-life. Politics *isn't* life, does not give the lives of normal healthy people meaning. Politics/government is itself and nothing more; it's a way to get things done so that people can decide for themselves what their lives will be - a very liberal and enlightened conception, IMO. Politicians try to translate politics/gov into a very broad sort of poetry when they run for office, which is as it must be, but it IS a translation.

I was not married to Edwards, as it were. I had to think about it before I decided to support him over BO this time. But I think his marginalization by both the press, the Right (of course) and much of the 'progressive' left is an object lesson in what's wrong with our party. We don't seem to remember who we are ideologically or how to be a real opposition party. I'm fine with BO - more than fine, actually. I think he's an extraordiarily fine leader in a managerial sense, but not nearly as much so in the broader sense of the term 'leader'. I gather one reason Edwards didn't get anywhere this time - aside from the historic nature of his opponents' candidacies, obviously! - is that he made the Dem caucuses in congress more than a bit uneasy. Frankly, I saw that as a good sign. Congressional Democrats (as a whole) are the locus of the deepest problems of the party. Merely getting a large or larger majority in '08 is not going to ameliorate those problems. It will be better than the alternative, of course! But many of those congress. dems have a real mindset problem: short term-tactical, cowardly, a little too comfortable with their powerlessness, and therefore lack of responsibility, a little too accomdating to both Republicans and Blue Dogs... Being a Democrat doesn't really mean much of anything other than 'not a Republican'. Hardly adequate.

The comments to this entry are closed.