POLITICS: Kerry Veeps

Fund, John H.

OHN KERRY WILL LIKELY PICK his vice-presidential running mate in May, two months before the Democratic convention opens in Boston. The downside is that an early decision will eliminate the one...

...Bob Kerrey has largely been out of the public eye,running the New School University in New York, since his retirement in 2000...
...But the pairing of two Vietnam vets would certainly bring pizzazz to the ticket...
...In that vein, the show-stopper as far as the Clintons are concerned would be Kerrey's famous summation of President Clinton's character: "Clinton is an unusually good liar...
...She has her eye set on running in 2008 should Kerry lose, as still appears likely...
...It 0 would be strange to have a ticket with such a familial ring to it: Kerry-Kerrey...
...man widely credited by Wall Street with promoting economic growth during the late 1990s, Rubin also had the savvy to leave office at the height of the boom in 1999...
...But most inattentive moderate voters don't think of Brokaw as a polarizing, ideological figure, thus enhancing his possible value to the ticket...
...Another possible choice who has never run for office before but would certainly be no rookie when it comes to media savvy would be retiring NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw...
...Should Kerry pick his running-mate early, say in May, the two men would face the prospect of an unprecedentedly long six-month campaign for president that will probably also become the nastiest ever...
...John H Fund is a columnist for OpinionJoumal.com, the website of the Wall Street Journal editorial page...
...Why the heck should she want the VP job...
...His only major liability is the spate of stories in 2002 that accused him of committing atrocities in Vietnam before he was grievously wounded and shipped home with a Medal of Honor...
...Kerrey also served on the bipartisan Medicare commission where he proposed a bipartisan reform package that ended up being more conservative than the Medicare bill passed by the GOP Congress last year...
...As one Democratic insider told UPI: "She was copresident for two terms...
...The South Dakota audience that people in the Heartland liked Ronald Reagan because they shared a simplistic "Reader's Digest view of the world...
...He also has a special bond with veterans, having sold 4.1 million copies of a book extolling World War II combatants, The Greatest Generation...
...Rubin, now a top executive at the financial giant Citigroup, is a lugubrious public speaker at best and has zero charisma...
...The downside is that an early decision will eliminate the one element of suspense that could keep people interested in the convention...
...Rubin could lambaste President Bush and the GOP Congress for turning a surplus into a growing deficit (conveniently ignoring the business cycle...
...As Tod Lindberg pointed out in the Washington Times, "a Democratic ticket consisting of a marriage of war hero and Wall Street could be formidable...
...He scored points with Democrats by threatening to resign from the commission over the White House's insistence that President Bush only be questioned for one hour by commission members...
...Who better to do that than former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin...
...But there is also the chance that Kerry will pick someone truly "outside the box," as Walter Mondale did in elevating the unknown Geraldine Ferraro to his ticket in 1984 or George H.W...
...He also has never run for public office before and would certainly be prone to rookie mistakes more experienced candidates would not be...
...NE IS FORMER SENATOR BOB KERREY of Nebraska...
...George Will once wrote that Kerrey has "a flair for public-spirited impudence, uttering indiscreet facts...
...The deciding factor weighing against a Kerry-Kerrey ticket may be that he is not a favorite of the Clintons, still the dominant force in the party...
...A Democratic member of the South Dakota legislature told me that Brokaw's biggest advantage would be that while he would be a good ideological fit for Kerry he does not have the reputation of being a liberal...
...That's a stretch, as anyone who has seen Brokaw's snide comments about Republicans during his late-sessions on the couches of comics Jay Leno and David Letterman can attest...
...0 UT THERE ARE OBSTACLES...
...Unusually good...
...Kerrey's biggest liability is that he may be too moderate to run on a ticket with John Kerry, the man that National Journal called "the most liberal Senator" after studying his 2003 roll call votes...
...In early March, the administration relented and removed the restrictions...
...In 1995, Kerrey co-chaired a commission that recommended cutting federal spending on entitlements...
...Pundits reaching for something slightly more exotic extol the virtues of Florida Senator Bob Graham or New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is Latino...
...Bush did in picking the obscure Dan Quayle in 1988...
...The conventional wisdom has him choosing either North Carolina Senator John Edwards or former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt...
...He once told a...
...But that is outweighed by Kerry having a partner to spread his Bush-bashing message in battleground states and raising money for TV commercials...
...The 64-year-old South Dakotan comes across as thoughtful and unassuming, and his newscast has been the most popular of the Big Three networks for years...
...Few people ever turn down the opportunity to be vice presidentóBill Bennett wisely deflected Bob Dole's offer in 1996óbut this year's special circumstances might prompt one or more of the people on John Kerry's short list to just say no...
...Another bold choice for John Kerry would be to reach back into the past and try to stoke nostalgia for the good times of the Clinton era...
...It sounds like a Japanese war cry...
...Even people with cast-iron political stomachs may not be up for this year's rumble...
...Dick Morris continues to push his theory that Hillary Rodham Clinton will agree to take the second banana slot...
...So who will Kerry pick...
...If that model holds this year, here are three intriguing candidates I know John Kerry's vetters are looking at...
...But that's unlikely...
...He has supported raising the retirement age to 70 and allowing workers to invest 2 percent of their Social Security payroll taxes in personal investment accounts...
...But the former war hero effectively rebutted the most scandalous charges and is today serving on the commission investigating the government's response to the 9/11 terrorism attack...
...Rubin could bring to the ticket what Dick Cheney did for George W. Bush: instant credibility and a huge independent fundraising potential...
...They could tour NASCAR rallies and debate which of them had killed more Commies," says one Democratic consultant...

Vol. 37 • April 2004 • No. 3


 
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