Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The Edwards Pick

As the following couple of posts illustrate, the Republicans appear to be slightly panic-stricken by Kerry’s choice of John Edwards as his running mate. Watching David Brooks on Jim Lehrer last night was a study in seeing a conservative commentator have the flop-sweats on national television. Brooks conceded that the Edwards pick was a good choice for Kerry, and even as he tried to push the lack-of-experience line, he had to acknowledge Mark Shields’s instant response with Bush’s own political career track.

As the New York Times editorial points out, it takes a certain maturity and self-confidence for a presidential candidate to choose someone who could potentially upstage him but get the ticket elected. Wow – placing your ego on hold in order to win an election. What a concept.

It’s one thing to choose a running mate for geographic balance or special expertise. It’s another to admit that you’re short on charm. Mr. Edwards, a terrific orator with a Clintonian empathy, may make Mr. Kerry look even more wooden by comparison. But if he’d picked Richard Gephardt, Mr. Kerry would have been the life of the party in Boston.

Look at it that way, and this selection says something very important about Mr. Kerry. He has the confidence, and the good sense, to share the spotlight with someone who can make his campaign better.

No wonder the Republicans are freaking out; they don’t know how to deal with an honest opponent.