Monday, December 22, 2003

Dean/Graham?

The Democratic veepstakes guessing games continue. Assuming that the Democratic nominee is Howard Dean, so far it’s been Dean/Richardson as in Bill Richardson, former congressman, ambassador to the UN, Secretary of Energy, and now governor of New Mexico. Then we had speculation about Dean/Clark as in Gen. Wesley Clark, but based on his interview with ABC on Sunday, it’s Dean/Clark. Today it’s Dean/Graham as in Bob Graham, the senator from Florida who folded his presidential bid after polling lower than everybody else.

At first glance, it sounds like a good ticket. Graham has been very popular here in Florida during all of his political life, including three terms in the Senate and two as the governor. He would probably deliver Florida to the Democratic ticket, which would be sweet revenge for 2000, and Graham’s stint on the Senate intelligence committee would give a Dean administration a good cover on foreign policy and intelligence knowledge, much as Cheney did for Bush in 2000.

There are some downsides, however. Graham’s presidential campaign never got off the ground even here in Florida thanks to his late entry after heart surgery last winter, and he couldn’t raise enough money to buy a pizza. And then there are those notebooks – Graham’s habit of recording everything he does in a daily diary – which made him a punchline on late-night talk shows. A perception of quirkiness is not what you want in a VP candidate – ask George McGovern.

With any luck, the Democratic ticket will reflect not only electoral reality but also the future of the country. I’m not sure Bob Graham is it.