Talking Points Can Go Stale Very Quickly

For a good laugh, compare today's effort by William Safire, Body Politic Will Reject 'Charisma Transplant', in which he attacks Kerry's choice of Edwards as safe, instead of making the courageous choice of picking that nice, boring Mr. Gephardt (whom of course the Republicans had been salivating about attacking). Apparently Cheney was a “pick of confidence” because he balanced Bush's incapacities on foreign policy. Kerry not having policy incapacities, he foolishly selects someone exciting, who helps him win an election. What a boring loser.

Now look at E.J. Dionne's column on why Edwards is The Right Choice and the Gep would have been a mistake:

Republicans were in a foul mood because Kerry's choice of Edwards as his running mate muddied up all the story lines they were itching to trot out. To understand why Edwards was the best choice for Kerry, consider what the Republicans (and, yes, the media) would have said if the nod had gone instead to Rep. Richard Gephardt, the clear runner-up in the vice presidential stakes.

Kerry would have been described as “insecure” at the prospect of standing next to the “charismatic” and “populist” Edwards. Fearing being “upstaged” by the equally ambitious Edwards, Kerry would have been accused of making the “obvious,” “uninspired” and “comfortable” choice. Gephardt's experience would have been trotted out to turn him into the “tired” face of the “old” Democratic Party. It would also have been said that Kerry, the “elitist Massachusetts liberal,” had “written off” the South and rural America.

Could it be that Safire had the Gep column all written, and then just reused as much as he could?

The Dionne column is full of good stuff, including this jem:

When you hear Republicans disparage Sen. John Edwards's lack of experience, remember the words of Sen. Orrin Hatch, spoken to George W. Bush at a debate on Dec. 6, 1999.

“You've been a great governor,” Hatch declared of his rival for the Republican presidential nomination. “My only problem with you, governor, is that you've only had four and going into your fifth year of governorship… . Frankly, I really believe that you need more experience before you become president of the United States. That's why I'm thinking of you as a vice presidential candidate.”

Which is exactly what Edwards was chosen for yesterday.

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6 Responses to Talking Points Can Go Stale Very Quickly

  1. Fresh says:

    Great observations… So much salivating that The New York Post ran with Gep on the cover.

  2. Romdinstler Jones says:

    OT, I know, but: “You have just been hauled off by Homeland Security and declared an Enemy Combatant…But, not to worry. According to a whole host of progressive human rights organizations, the Supreme Court handed Bush his hat on June 28 — an ‘historic ruling’ and a ‘strong repudiation’ of the administration, according to Steven Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘This is a major victory for the rule of law,’ claims Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, ‘and affirms the right of every person, citizen or non-citizen… to test the legality of his or her detention in a U.S. Court.’ Yup, everyone ‘can now have their day in court,’ says Jamie Fellner from Human Rights Watch.
    So now you and the rest of your fellow Enemy Combatants wait for your day in court. And wait. And wait. And wait. You wait because what the Supreme Court did was not a ‘major victory’ at all. What the Supreme Court has actually done is enshrine the concept of Enemy Combatants into our legal system, strip you of nearly all of your constitutional ‘due process’ rights, and consign you to a legal limbo that would make both Franz Kafka and George Orwell spin in their graves.”

    Someone (Professor Froomkin?) please convince me the above is not right on the money.

  3. brett says:

    If you even read Safire’s column, you missed its point, Einstein. Of course Edwards was the stronger pick for the campaign. Safire’s point is that Edwards was not the stronger pick to actually GOVERN, which is indisputable. Cheney was the opposite — a lead weight in the campaign, but someone with tons of experience in governing. Therefore Bush’s VP pick showed a lot more confidence — and showed he was focused on what he was going to do once he won the election, and not only on winning the election.

  4. Eli Rabett says:

    Well Brett, being of a practical bent, if Cheney was the stronger pick to GOVERN, then it sure was a bad pick.

  5. brett says:

    I understand that Dems would think that, but it’s the process that is Safire’s point. On what criteria did Bush pick a VP, and on what criteria did Kerry? I don’t argue with Kerry’s choice — he picked the best of a bad lot — but it is an illustrative difference.

  6. p says:

    bush needed cheney because he, bush, was (and is) a lightweight. Cheney added a bit if credibility (at the time) — he might have been a “lead weight” in the charisma department, but he had a ton of experience which is exactly what bush lacked. the lesson i think is to pick some one who will add something to the ticket. Gephardt would have added little; Edwards adds charisma.

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