Fit to be Tied


John Edwards, master of the $400 haircut (and it shows!), finally threw his considerable liberal weight behind Barack Obama yesterday, when he appeared with the Illinois senator and likely Democratic party nominee at a campaign stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Frankly, I’m surprised that he didn’t endorse Obama in the days before the North Carolina primary. Hillary was down by double digits in the polls, and with North Carolina being Edwards’ home state, he might have been able to take credit in a way for an Obama win. Well, that’s neither here nor there.

Matt Drudge, agenda setter for agenda setters, ran a photo of the pair on his Web site yesterday, captioned with the question: “THE TICKET?” It could be. Edwards, for the most part, is a nice fit for Obama.

When looking into possible running mates, after all, a few characteristics of a proper Vice President are paramount:

First, the man or woman must be presidential, believable as Commander in Chief should he or she need to assume the position at a moment’s notice. This trait, for instance, is where John McCain would run into some trouble should he decide to bring Bobby Jindal, young conservative heartthrob and current Louisiana governor, along for the ride. Besides the superficial contradiction that would be 36-year-old Jindal painting Obama as inexperienced, he may have difficulty showing that he, only one year older than the constitutional requirement, is “presidential” enough to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Second, the candidate should bring with them some sort of valuable constituency, be it a region, a demographic or an actual state. A good example of this was in 1960, when John Kennedy tapped Lyndon Johnson to round out the ticket in part because of Johnson’s obvious draw in Texas, or in 1992 when H. Ross Perot selected Admiral James Stockdale in an attempt to draw, to the polls, septuagenarians that don’t hear well.

Third, a vice president should fill in some sort of screamingly visible “gap” in the presidential candidate’s own candidacy. Earlier this year–and undoubtedly in the weeks to come–we heard and will hear about how Mitt Romney is a perfect fit for John McCain because (a) he’s younger, (b) he’s got executive experience, and (c) he makes up for McCain’s shaky economic credibility. Personally, I still like Romney as McCain’s running mate, even though they apparently aren’t polling well as a potential ticket.

Finally, and quite intangibly, the presidential candidate shouldn’t have to worry about the intentions of his or her running mate. President George W. Bush had a perfect situation with regard to the lovingly sinister Dick Cheney, as Cheney was by no means gunning for the presidency (“gunning” pun intended, of course). This characteristic is precisely why Obama is unlikely to pick Hillary Clinton to round out a so-called “dream ticket,” as not only would he have Hillary gunning for his job, but he’d also have to contend with Bill hanging–and sniffing–around in the back offices behind the Oval Office.

Edwards is a good fit for Obama. While I think he would be better suited as Attorney General in an unfortunate Obama administration, he fits the VP criteria well. After all, he’s been there before. Obviously, people view him as presidential. Furthermore, his slow drawl and appeal in his home state and beyond may help Obama have a better stake in the deep south. Also, he has a considerable amount of experience, at least compared with the eventual Democratic party nominee.

One potential problem, however, is the label of “elitist” which has followed Obama around like a hungry dog. Even though Edwards and Obama seemingly share the same passion about poverty in America, between the haircuts and his gigantic mansion, I don’t see Edwards really helping Obama shake the “elitist” label.

Still, it’s a consideration. I think he fits, though I really don’t know much about the history of serial VP candidates in this country. Perhaps that’s something worth looking into.

Shoot — the concept of a serial VP brings up a whole ‘nother issue. If Edwards is willing to round out a ticket as VP one more time … perhaps Al Gore might be in Obama’s crosshairs?

Think about it. Presidential in the eyes of some (corpulent in the eyes of all) … has a cult-like following … dazzlingly hypocritical … involuntary outsider status … it sounds like a good match to me.

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