Wednesday, July 07, 2004

We Got Spirit Yes We Do, We Got Spirit How 'Bout You
I know I thought it last summer and fall, but I apparently never said it in this blog--that John Edwards was running for the vice-presidency all along. So you'll have to trust me when I say that I called it correctly. That I have pronounced myself "relatively satisfied" with the choice shows me how far we've come in a year. Remember that Edwards, along with Joe Lieberman, was one of the DLC's darlings last summer--and as such, anathema to a Deaniac such as myself, and the embodiment of Bush-Lite surrender. But by the end of the primary season, with Dean a smoking wreck and Kerry, no better than my fifth choice among the 10 contenders, about to wrap up the nom, Edwards looked a little better to me, mostly because he started sounding like he Got It. By that I mean he was beginning to understand and articulate the stakes of 2004, and the need to do more than change nameplates on the Oval Office door. (If I were Kerry, I'd dump my economic plan and adopt Edwards' Two Americas thing wholesale.) And if the election shakes down to economics, Edwards is a better pick than my guy, Wesley Clark, would have been. (Harold Meyerson of the Prospect says he can't remember the party rank-and-file ever getting behind a VP candidate the way people did for Edwards this year, even before the presidential nominee made up his mind.)

Except we know that the fall campaign is going to be all terror, all the time, and Bush fired the first shot today, questioning Edwards' experience and whether he's qualified to be president, what with the country being at war against evil and all. Well, Harry Truman was an obscure senator; FDR was a one-term governor of New York and widely considered a dilettante. And our current Maximum Leader was the 1 1/2-term governor of a state where the lieutenant governor has more Constitutional power, and even after taking office he's had to ask the vice-president for the washroom keys. In politics, experience is one of those things that matters to you if you have it and doesn't if you don't.

So here I am, a few days more than one year since attending my first Howard Dean Meetup, ready to vote for a ticket that is pretty close to everything I didn't want to have to vote for last summer. But politics is the art of the possible, and you gotta take what you can get and hope for the best. So: Kerry/Edwards, they the man, if they can't do it, no one can. Yay, team!

Recommended Reading: Interesting column by E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post last week (just found it today) with my former representative, Jim Leach of Iowa, and another moderate Republican, senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, discussing how and whether whoever wins the election will be able to govern after the inauguration.

Speaking of all terror, all the time, I'm almost certain you'll be able to play a drinking game with Bush's rhetoric this fall: whenever he says "They hate us because they hate freedom," everybody drink. Journalist Gwynne Dyer says it's damn well time we stopped carrying on like it's our values under attack and understand that just as war is politics by other means, so is terrorism, and to talk about it in other terms is a retreat from reality.

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