Kerry Picks Edwards

Well, there it is. After all the speculation, all the idiotic talk about McCain and the wishful thinking around Clark, Kerry did what he had to do: he picked a Southern populist.

PITTSBURGH — Siding with sizzle over experience, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry told a cheering crowd here on Tuesday that he has picked fellow Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina as his running mate.”I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America, a man who has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and for those struggling to reach the middle class, a man who has shown guts and determination and political skills in his own race for the presidency of the United States, a man whose life has prepared him for leadership,” Kerry told cheering supporters at a morning rally in Pittsburgh that kicked off a three-day tour themed on “responsible leadership.”

Kerry praised his former presidential primary foe as “a man who has shown guts, determination and political skill in his own race for the presidency.”

“I’ve seen John Edwards think, argue, advocate, legislate and lead for six years now,” Kerry said in front of an oversized Kerry-Edwards sign unveiled for the event. “I know his skill. I know his passion. I know his strength. I know his conscience. I know his faith.”

Kerry said Edwards, who may not be able to deliver his home state, will help the Democratic ticket reach across party lines.

And no sooner were the woirds out of his mouth than the Sleeze Machine sharks showed their teeth.

Republican officials reacted quickly to Kerry’s announcement, eager to begin what will be a four-month effort to paint Kerry-Edwards as a ticket out of synch with mainstream voters.”John Kerry was against John Edwards before he was for him. But now he’s his running mate,” the Republican National Committee said in a statement.

“Who is John Edwards?” the statement asked. “A disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal and friend to personal injury trial lawyers.”

Oooo, two slurs in the same sentence. That’s a two-fer–extra points.

I don’t know what positive difference Edwards can actually make to the ticket–historically, the answer would have to be ‘Not much’–but he’s missing two important negatives: 1) he’s not going to be easy to slime and the Pubs (as they’ve alrerady started to do) are going to make themselves look ridiculous trying; 2) he’s no weenie. John Edwards will not take the Pub smears lying down, he will not back off (unless Kerry insists on it–a mistake, a BIG mistake, in my view), he will not cave in. He will give as good as he gets, and if the press cover him (don’t bet on it) he’s going to end up looking awful good to an awful lot of people.

Those of you who were reading Omnium back during the primaries know I was supporting Edwards instead of Kerry, so I’m being unashamedly partisan here. I like the guy almost as much as I liked Bob Graham, and I think the country will feel the same way if they get to know him. He’s a legitimate centrist, a legitimate populist (he isn’t kidding with that stuff; it’s not a pose) and one tough cookie despite the boyish demeanor.

He was the best possible choice (Gephardt was a non-starter) and I applaud Kerry for picking him.

Pure Entertainment Bonus: The Edwards/Cheney debate. Please please PLEASE let me be near a tv set….

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