Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Friday, July 09, 2004

Clueless explanations of cluelessness
Written by: Beck

Kerry's selection of Edwards as running mate doesn't make any sort of especially good sense which is very upsetting for the political cognoscenti. Edwards compliments Kerry in the sense that he's younger, more charismatic, and more energetic (or at least that's how people describe him, I'm yet to buy into the notion that John Edwards is somehow the most compelling public speaker since Abraham Lincoln). However, he doesn't bring any new demographics to the board, and is widely considered incapable of even bringing his home state's electoral votes to the table.

Despite all this, the talking heads are trying to cobble together creative explanations in an attempt to demonstrate that Kerry couldn't possibly be that stupid. Ken Bode, writing for the Indianapolis Star, is typical. Bode's explanation? Kerry really picked Edwards... out of a desire to carry the Midwest!
During the primaries, Kerry offered two political calculations: first, Democrats are mistaken to think they can win in the South, and second, that John Edwards couldn't carry his home state of North Carolina. He was right on both.

In most Southern states, the GOP margins of victory in 2000 are far too large to overcome. Gore, a son of the South at the top of the ticket, couldn't carry his own state. North Carolina voted for George Bush by 13 points last time. It will be no rap on Edwards if he does not carry his home state.

A GOP spokesman said the Edwards selection represents a political calculation. True, but the target is the Midwest, not the South.

Americans are beginning to understand the Electoral College better than they had ever thought necessary. Consider the math. The Midwest clout more than rivals the South. Six states in this region -- Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri -- were won or lost last time by 5 percent or less.

The Democrats must defend this territory, must hold what they have and gain if possible. This is the part of America where job losses have been most extreme and where voters are most pessimistic on the question of whether America is on the right or wrong track.
Bode, attempts to explain that Edwards' "message" will play well in the Midwest. What Bode fails to explain is how John Edwards could somehow play better in the Midwest than, say, Dick Gephardt, arguably the Senator with the closest ties to the powerful labor unions of the region. Bode does have one legitimate observation to make, however, though I would argue he's drawing the wrong conclusions.
One good thing about all this is that the vice presidential debate in Cleveland ought to be a doozy.

With his recent instruction to Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor and his scolding audiences to quiet down and listen on the campaign trail, Cheney is beginning to look like a grumpy uncle. Contrast this to the boylike Edwards and his happy warrior act. If they sold tickets to this vice presidential debate, the scalpers in Cleveland would make a fortune.

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