June 15, 2004


TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD VEEP CHOICE (Jim Geraghty, 06/15/04, National Review)

Bob Novak wrote last week that "the current buzz in the national capital's high-level Democratic circles has projected that Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, previously considered a dark horse as John Kerry's running mate, is now the leading prospect."

Only Vilsack, Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina are known to be on the Kerry short list, subject to background checks that look deeper than a colonoscopy. One of Vilsack's aides confided to the Los Angeles Times that he thought that the selection had narrowed to his boss and Edwards. [...]

But it's tough to get around the fact that of all the Democrats Kerry could pick as his running mate, Vilsack does the least to help him. In fact, his anonymity hurts Kerry. Here are seven reasons Vilsack is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad choice. (And thus, Bush backers should be hoping he's the man.) [...]

Iowa. Seven electoral votes. Gore won them, 638,517 to 634,373, so let's give Vilsack credit for being a selection that would probably prevent a light blue state from turning light red. Of course, that's not a guarantee. According to a Survey USA poll in the state, Kerry leads Bush in Iowa right now 48 to 45. But when asked whether they prefer the Republican ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to a Democratic ticket of John Kerry and Tom Vilsack, the numbers reverse and Bush wins, 48 to 45.

It's not as if Edwards would help him carry NC though.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2004 9:48 AM

Two points: what does it mean to Kerry that his better choices (Rendell, etc.) all are saying no? And what happened to Jane Harman?

Gephardt is an old shirt - he won't even help win MO. Edwards is a pretty boy, but you are right - Bush will win NC regardless. I also think Edwards would rather not be on a losing ticket. His only hope for the future is to be seen 100% as a 'winner'. If Kerry wants Midwestern stability, why not pick Kent Conrad or Byron Dorgan?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 15, 2004 10:31 AM

Why not Gephardt?

I don't think Kerry can win Missouri (obviously), but Kit Bond is vulnerable, and the additional voters Gephardt might turn out could be enough to make the difference.

Posted by: kevin whited at June 15, 2004 10:31 AM

Would you experts explain to me how Kerry can lead in Iowa 48-45 and then in the next breath lose 45-48?

Is Cheney so overwhelmingly more attractive in comparison to Vilsack or are the Iowa voters like the Florida voters therefore "clueless"

Posted by: h-man at June 15, 2004 11:00 AM

What happened to Bill Richardson?

Posted by: Jason Johnson at June 15, 2004 11:07 AM

Kevin - Bond is always considered vulnerable but manages to win. The Dems don't have a top tier candidate against him and Bush will help carry him over even with Gephardt on the Dem ticket.
H-man - I think Vilsack was reelected in 2002 but was for a while considered vulnerable due to budget problems, etc. The Iowa voters may not be happy with him and it reflects in the poll.
Jason - good question.
Final note - the more multiple names come up and Kerry is rejected/changes his mind the more the image of indecisiveness will gel around Kerry.

Posted by: AWW at June 15, 2004 11:24 AM

It's demographics (white middle class males, the group the Democrats have the most problem getting votes from), not geography.

Gephardt skews too far to the union/blue-collar, plus I believe that some one pointed out that Gephardt served in the NG during Vietnam. Better to have no military service at all.

Edwards doesn't make sense from several angles. I think Kerry wants a 'Dan Quayle' pick, a protege, so he only has to be plausible, not qualified. Edwards has too much credibility from his run for the nomination. Republicans would love to highlight all the votes the last 6 years where Kerry and Edwards split. Same for Dorgan and Conrad. Another sticky issue - now TWO democrats should resign from the Senate.

Vilsack would contrast pretty well with Cheney (being a devils advocate here) - youth and vigor vs age and experience. Bensten vs Quayle again but Vilsack has more cred that Quayle did. There's also a minor benefit to keep pushing the point that Bush is a sock puppet for Cheney et al.

Richardson, Edwards, and others could very well trigger another round of buyers remorse in the Democrats (Bentsen/Dukakis?). Vilsack won't do that. He might not help the ticket but he probably won't hurt it either.

The change in the vote - Vilsack isn't overwhelming popular in Iowa is all I can think.

Posted by: Chris B at June 15, 2004 11:43 AM

Wonder how Vilsack would do against Condi.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 15, 2004 12:23 PM

If you go back and look, before July 1988, Dan Quayle was considered a bit of a "wonderboy", well informed on defense and international issues, and not the doofus that appeared at the GOP Convention. He was also extremely popular in Indiana. If he really wanted to get back into politics, he should have run for Indiana Gov. in 1992, because he probably would have won because the rube image was always resented in his home state. So to compare Vilsack to Quayle is to overly compliment Vilsack.

While the Dems may feel a need to shore up their middle-class white guy vote, the various constituencies within the party are going to exert considerable pressure to name someone identified with a core victim group.So I too have to ask, "What about Richardson?"

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2004 12:42 PM

What about Evan Bayh, in the off chance that Kerry actually wants to win?

Posted by: pj at June 15, 2004 1:04 PM

Will someone tell the National Review to shut up!? First they lost us Dean, now they're going to lose us Vilsack. Seriously guys, be quiet!

Posted by: Timothy at June 15, 2004 1:09 PM


Pro-abortion groups overuled him. They'd still not carry IN. And they'd lose his Senate seat for sure--could lose it anyway in a replay of his Dad getting landslided out.

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2004 1:12 PM

"...a replay of his Dad getting landslided out."

That was Dan Quayle, by the way, one of the few of the class of '80 who got himself reelected in '86.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2004 2:33 PM

Wasn't Edwards positioning himself for a Veep place on NPR recently?

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at June 15, 2004 3:31 PM

Like watching the ski patrol guys position themselves out of they way of the comming avalanche. Kerry/Gephardt. They will be able do surgery on folks at the rallies.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 15, 2004 10:21 PM