Kerry, Edwards…and Hillary – Oh My!

So we’ve finally gotten to the end of the most anti-climactic vice-presidential selection process in recent memory. Sen. John Edwards, the man with a lot of charm (and a lot of money) has been selected. Time to move forward.
Kudos are due to the folks at who started promoting the idea of a Kerry/Edwards ticket back in December 2003, and event went live with a website at the time of the Superbowl (ironically between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots) for being so far-sighted.
Kudos also for getting so many people on board the campaign, and getting those stickers out, even out here in Venice Beach!
People have been asking me “who’s it gonna be?” for some time now, and I always responded with two answers: realistic – he’ll most likely pick Edwards, for the reasons the echo chamber has stated for months now; and curious – he’ll pick someone we’ve not heard much about that will surprise us all.
Pressed, I always said Edwards, despite my own early misgivings about him, solely based on the fact that even in the hyper-short primary season, he never seemed to win many states and that his campaign seemed to mostly say that he looked good, had a lot of money, and spent a lot of time raising money, and oh yeah, he’s from the South. Not exactly a lot there to read. That said, now that we’ve seen him be a good sport and campaign for Kerry for so long I am sure he’ll do fine. What do I know, right?
As for the “experience issue” – while I am sure this will be raised, I’ll simply play my “reverse the names” game on this quotable notable, not unlike the way Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne did this morning with this trip via the Campaign Wayback Machine:
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.

I am sure that will drive the “My Guy Right or Wrong” crowd will try to toss this down the Memory Hole, but such is the way of things these days. Still, it’s an interesting point to remember.
My favorite non-news “buzz” surrounding the selection process, and the selection of Edwards himself, has been the revival, one more time ,of the “Hillary Clinton Presidential Conspiracy Sweepstakes,” with lots of wild-eyed talk about alleged scenarios about how this year’s process is being somehow manipulated to Get Hillary Elected President. Now we have to hear that somehow Edwards and Ms. Clinton are locked in some bitter rivalry to the death now and in the future as a result of Mr. Edwards’ selection.
Surely you remember these theories, back when General Wesley Clark was running for president. Clark, was a stalking horse for Sen. Clinton’s devious plot to take the nomination at the summer convention. Read any right-wing (and even some left-wing) blogs and columns from Fall 2003, and you see what nonsense this really was/is.  
Now, most people haven’t heard the term ‘stalking horse’ much less know what it means, and in the era of the staged convention and rules designed to keep crazy things from embarassing anyone at a major party conveniton, this was one of the most unlikely scenarios Campaign 2004 was going to face.
In fact, I’d say these kinds of punditocratic scenarios are about as likely as likely as, say, Monica Bellucci spontaneously coming over to the Waterfront Cafe to buy me a Bitburger during said Democratic Convention this summer. *
No, when it comes to Hillary, put aside the logic – the Clinton Conspiracists need to weasel their way in and have their day. If they can make a buck off it, even better. Today was no different – many stories about Edwards’ pick included commentary about how he’s somehow automatically become a rival to Sen. Clinton should Kerry lose in 2004, or win and serve two terms to 2012.
Now far be it from me to join the Hillary Bashing Society of America – I don’t know her, have never met her, but from what I read she’s no more outrageous a Senator than any one of a number of folks on the other side of the aisle. The hysterical squealing of luminaries like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly have made bashing this woman a money-making industry for 12 years now, and I fail to take them seriously as anything but people who have to hawk more stickers, tapes, and books.
Put the echo chamber assessments about the alleged now and future rivalries of Edwards and Ms. Clinton aside, for a moment. Let’s all take a nice dose of Reality Juice, and think for a moment about this.
We haven’t even finished this election, and already, we’re trying to pick who’s going to run in not one, but two elections, both of which assume different outcomes to the one we haven’t finished yet. We’re also supposed to make assumptions and pronouncements about such, not based on any facts, but based on emotion, and whatever sells our latest books or blog. Makes for exciting copy, but really will have little to do with events in the future.
More importantly, one has to ask a hard question – just how realistic is a Hillary candidacy/presidency these days anyway? After 12+ years of relentless bashing, coupled with her own accomplishments and missteps, is it realistic to think that if Ms. Clinton were to run that she’d be a viable candidate? In an era of Faux News, 24-hour scandal mongering and professional PR hit men (and women), is it even possible such a candidacy would be viable past a few primaries?
Unfortunately, unless something major changes in this country, I’m afraid the answer is no. I am sure she’s a nice person and all, but after seeing what the media did to Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, who didn’t have the defenses a Clinton would, it’s hard to see how this would shake out any differently, ex-First Lady or not. It’s unfortunate that’s one of the realities of our system, and it’s unfair, but it is what it is.
So when you hear more of these conspiracy theories, just remember it’s one of those things political junkies and pros love to talk about, and the “Land of What If” is a fun place to play. Unfortunately for us, it clouds the news coverage, and we end up talking about some professional mouth’s latest vacation in that magical land, instead of trying to assess what’s happening right now, in the real world.
*Message to the talented Ms. Bellucci – You can still come by and visit me here in Venice Beach if you want.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Leave a Reply