Man Without Qualities

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Running For Empty

The most recent Zogby Poll says that North Carolina Senator John Edwards is drawing less than 3% of likely Democratic primary voters, who favor former Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean (16%), Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (13%), Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman (12%), and Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt (8%).

Yet, confirming his senior aides' bizarre aside to the New York Times, Senator Edwards on Sunday sent a letter to North Carolina state Democratic Party chairwoman Barbara Allen announcing his decision (recounted by state party executive director Scott Falmlen): "I ... decided that I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate in order to devote all of my energy to running for president."

Why does Senator Edwards not think this kind of decision is something he needs to share directly with the people of North Carolina?

In any event, one might consider:

No Senate run. Drawing less than 3% in the Presidential polls - but chooses that route. Why?

John Edwards has two things going for him: He is from the South and he is young, and therefore Democratic vice-presidential timber! If the Democrats nominate any of Dean, Kerry or Lieberman, they will need a southerner to balance the ticket.

And now, on that note, how about Florida's Sen. Bob Graham?

Two "contenders" running for vice-president sub rosa? Can anyone do that and preserve one's dignity?

MORE: Some people have suggested that Richard Gephardt is also running for Vice President, which would make the line up of Democratic contenders even more peculiar.

Further, how does Hillary Clinton figure into all this? Of course, there is the persistent question of her entering the 2004 run for the presidency, but it's getting late. Would the polymorphous but arguably-Arkansan New York (and ultra-liberal but arguably "moderate") Senator Clinton have any "balancing" qualities on the Democratic 2004 as a vice presidental candidate with a New Englander heading the ticket - even if she were willing to accept second billing? The calculus would hardly be standard.

If John Edwards were to be become the vice president in 2004, he would automatically become a huge obstruction to anything that remained of Senator Clinton's presidential aspirations, since he would likely be first in line for the 2012 Democratic nomination - and he's young enough to wait that out.

Will Hillary Clinton become Florida's Sen. Bob Graham biggest buddy in promoting him for the 2004 vice presidential slot?

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