“We know what’s going on in the country better than they do,” is the rallying cry of the new Kerry-Edwards ticket, and you know something? I think they may be right.
Let’s face it, the Edwards pick for vice president is the best that Kerry could have done. The New York Post’s fantastic announcing of Gephardt as the candidate was just that — a conservative pipe dream. Gephardt would have been a perfect foil — a stolid, colorless liberal who would bring along the votes of twelve labor leaders. Kerry would have proven he was afraid of Edwards’ charisma and the Republicans could coast through November.
But this is different. For all the GOP sneers about Edwards’ inexperience, this guy has exactly what the Republican ticket lacks — youth, charisma, sex appeal. If Republicans go back into their shell and complain about press coverage, this whole campaign is going to go up in smoke. (Remember, Bush has yet to win the popular vote.)
All of a sudden it’s starting to feel like 1992 again. The administration has done an absolutely terrific job — even better than Bush, Sr.’s winning the Gulf War. W. has responded heroically to September 11th. He has embarked on a daring expedition into Iraq that looks like it might pay off big-time. He’s done a magnificent job of pulling the economy out of a major slump. You couldn’t ask anything more.
Yet the Administration is still in danger of blowing this election because it can’t communicate. It has a tin ear. The day after the Edwards is nominated you pick up the paper and find that Bush has just turned down an invitation to speak at the NAACP’s annual convention. What is the matter with these people? Why not just kick a dog on the street and call in CNN to videotape the whole event? I’m sure there’s some obscure rationale about how the NAACP did something to Bush somewhere and this is just payback, but who cares? The important thing is 200 million Americans will get the message, “Bush doesn’t like African Americans.” African Americans don’t care — they’re going to vote 90 percent Democratic anyway. It’s all those good-hearted people in the middle who don’t really care one way or the other but just want to see people play fair — they’re the ones who will be affected. Bush doesn’t like black people. That’s not nice. I think I’ll vote Democratic.
Even Maureen Dowd is starting to feel sorry for Bush. In a marvelous column Thursday where she finally started getting sick of Teresa Heinz’s European snobbery, Dowd was forlornly offering Bush advice:
This is the way it’s going to be until November. Nobody on the Bush team has the slightest capability of dealing with the press. Edwards gets 91 percent favorable coverage from reporters — the highest figure ever and it will probably get better. Kerry and Edwards are beginning to key into that great Entertainment Central. Rock ‘n’ roll concerts in Radio City, Michael Moore, the Howard Stern stuff — Republicans may turn up their noses at all this, but it will add up. This is just what doomed George Bush, Sr. Bill Clinton played his saxophone on MTV while President George Bush had trouble comprehending a scanner in a checkout line. Clinton and Gore managed to cast themselves as a couple of hip new guys with something interesting to say. It wasn’t true but it worked. Now Kerry and Edwards are doing the same thing.
So here’s the deal. Let’s take Al D’Amato’s advice and relieve Dick Cheney of his responsibilities, putting John McCain on the ticket in his place. Oh, I know Republicans are supposed to be loyal and not screw their buddies, but this is hardball. Jack Welsh didn’t make GE into the greatest company in the world by sticking with failing executives for sentimental reasons. Party insiders will say we’re panicking and this will only make things worse, but that’s what they said in 1992 about replacing Dan Quayle — who was always a drag on the ticket — and look what happened.
SO HERE ARE HALF a dozen good reasons for replacing Cheney:
1) Cheney’s standard expression is the crooked smile of a bank president telling you that, even though he’s known you for 40 years, he’s not going to lend you any money. People may respect him but they don’t like him. His negative ratings are now above 40 percent, probably the worst of any vice president in history.
2) “Cheney is qualified to be President.” So what? So are a lot of people. And Cheney isn’t that qualified. His main strength is in sound advice and the ability to maneuver behind the scenes. That isn’t what a President does. Thrust into office, he’d probably lose the public in five days. He’s much better qualified to be secretary of defense. Why not move him into that position if it’s necessary to keep his councils?
3) Cheney isn’t really that fit to be President. How many heart attacks has he had? And what about his disposition? Dowd reports: “When he was stopped by applause at a campaign stop in Altoona, Pa., on Sunday, he asked, ‘You guys want to hear this speech or not?’” And this guy is a politician?
4) Cheney bears the entire burden of the Halliburton smear.
5) Cheney used the F-word on the floor of the Senate.
6) Cheney’s “other priorities” excuse for avoiding the military during Vietnam is a time bomb waiting to go off.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?