Two Johns, No Waiting

Sandra Bullock and Jesse James arrive at the 82nd Academy Awards Sunday, March 7, 2010, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.
Like many other hopefuls, I sat close to the phone in the wee hours Tuesday morning waiting for John Kerry to ask me to be his running mate. Since the only official duty of the vice president is to preside over the Senate, I figured if I got the position, I could still keep this job. (I actually thought Coach K had the inside track). However, Kerry named energetic, cheerful, optimistic John Edwards. Political experts often suggest that a perfect vice presidential candidate should have something that the presidential candidate doesn't have. In this case, it's true. John Edwards has a pulse.

While he doesn't guarantee a single state, Democrats hope that Edwards will infuse the campaign with energy and vitality. They hope he'll help keep people awake while Kerry speaks.

Republicans showed great speed by putting out anti-Edwards material within 3.6 seconds of the announcement. However, this isn't considered an official record because it was nastiness-aided.

The GOP chose a curious method of attack. Their main point seemed to be that John Kerry would've preferred to have John McCain as a running mate, and "John McCain supports George Bush, so ha-ha." They flooded the airwaves with McCain saying nice things about the president. However, showing McCain instead of Cheney like this might just suggest that, like Kerry, Mr. Bush wishes he could have John McCain as a running mate — but he's stuck with Cheney.

In fact, ever since Cheney uttered the unstatesmanlike words on the Senate floor, "Go BLANK yourself," we haven't seen much of the guy. Maybe he's back in his "undisclosed location."

Despite Kerry's announcement, there are still some question marks left in presidential politics. A big one is, why is Ralph Nader running? Does he shun the spotlight so much that he desperately wants us to forget all the wonderful things he did? Or is he just hoping to get the free use of a car?

But now that it's definitely a Kerry/Edwards ticket, the immediate issue for the Democrats is coming up with some good campaign slogans. They might go with, "Everyone can use another John." "He's the one who didn't go to Yale." Or a more general, "If we arrest you, we'll tell you why."

For some bizarre reason, Republicans seem to think that the public will see Edwards' lack of experience in politics as a bad thing. They imply that Edwards is "too young." I'm not sure when 51 became young, but I like it. The Democrats, on the other hand, hope that Edwards' youthful exuberance will make up for his lack of experience.

Several questions about all this remain. Will those who were born wealthy say it's not fair that Edwards rose above his humble roots? Will we hear things like, "It's not my fault I had everything handed to me. If I hadn't, I could've succeeded just like that show-off Edwards?"

During the primaries, Edwards was steadfast in his refusal to attack his opponents. Will his good manners last throughout the campaign? Will people get tired of his cheerful nature and begin to long for a scowling face?

Experts seem to think that it will lead to a very spirited vice presidential debate. The Republicans are probably a little wary about this. There is some concern that the debate could go something like this:

    John Edwards: "I welcome this debate, and hope that my opponent and I will illuminate our positions rather than resort to personal attacks."

    Dick Cheney: "Oh, go BLANK yourself."

Maybe they won't have to take that risk. Maybe they'll just send John McCain to the debate instead.

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver