More on Gut: John Kerry’s VP Story

-

kerry_edwards_2004.jpg
I just ran across this May 2007 article by Bob Shrum about the Vice Presidential selection process that John Kerry went through in choosing John Edwards as his running mate.
I had never read this before — but it really deserves another look because it gives some insight into how most candidates probably run through their VP choices — well except for George W. Bush perhaps. In the case of Bush, Dick Cheney headed his VP selection team and didn’t produce anyone who seemed quite as good as himself for the job. In the end, Bush’s father and Brent Scowcroft suggested Cheney, and I think both feel very guility for it today.
Shrum’s tell-all is remarkably personal, and gives a sense of how insider-ish many major political decisions are. It’s interesting to note that Chuck Hagel was on Kerry’s possibility list in 2004 — and that Kerry was very uncomfortable with Edwards.
But given what I wrote about my disdain for gut thinking in making key decisions, particularly foreign policy which John Kerry referenced yesterday in his endorsement of Obama:

Kerry told me that the Edwardses simply stopped returning calls or talking to him and Teresa. Within months, Edwards started preparing for a bid in 2008. Kerry said that he wished he’d never picked Edwards, that he should have gone with his gut.

Maybe the mistake John Kerry thinks he made with John Edwards is why he cares so much about gut thinking, but Americans deserve something more serious.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

13 comments on “More on Gut: John Kerry’s VP Story

  1. Chris D. says:

    I like Edwards, but Kerry should have picked then-US Congressman Sherrod Brown and told him: “If you do nothing else for my campaign, win me Ohio!” Game over. Kerry President. In most cases a VP can only hurt you with some sort of an embarrassment. They are more of a potential liability than an immediate asset. But, don’t tell me Rep. Brown couldn’t have improved Kerry’s vote total in Ohio by at least 100K votes. And, don’t give me that BS about qualification to be President. Only three states were even in play in 2004, and Rep. Brown was wildly popular in one of them. (You’ll notice he’s now a US Senator.) Maybe Schrum and Kerry should have put their gut away and looked at an electoral map available on the web site of every major news organization.

    Reply

  2. dan says:

    Can you really “fix” DC when people like Steve Clemons is openly pushing for Mr Hope?
    I guess we have not learned a thing. What is good for people like Mr Clemons is a seat at the table so he can push his agenda with the help of Mr Zbig.
    America is breaking down but the DC insiders are looking for seats of their own.
    No, Steve, this is an attack on you but obviously DC reporters and DC insiders are thinking alike. We are now venturing down the same road by pumping up a empty suite lie Mr Hope.

    Reply

  3. JohnH says:

    I’m amazed that the Shrum story is considered newsworthy. Guess Time has a lot of blank space that they don’t want to fill with real substance.
    One thing for sure–Kerry’s gut instincts suck. In 04 he chose Edwards as his running mate and then promptly muzzled him, even though Edwards’ populist message had proven resonant with significant parts of the Democratic base and could have helped drive turnout. After his selection Edwards seemed to stop raising issues like war profiteering and Bush/Cheney’s intimate connections with the war profiteers (Halliburton). Kerry’s gut apparently told him not to rock the boat.
    And Kerry chose not to spotlight healthcare as an issue, despite much popular discontent with the healthcare system. If I recall correctly, Kerry said that there was insufficient political will for change (i.e. Kerry lacked the guts to lead on a popular issue). Besides having no guts, Kerry was apparently incapable of reading polls. Again Kerry’s gut instinct told him to avoid rocking the boat, overriding any impulse for leadership and providing for the common good.

    Reply

  4. dan says:

    Mr Hope: I am a uniter not devider.
    Heard that before ? Thought so.

    Reply

  5. Homer says:

    Pauline and Molly,
    In addition to failing Americans in OH, Sen Kerry is also (as you may or may not know) thought of being the faceless putz who is ultimately responsible for the sinking Howard Dean’s grass roots campaign.
    CRJ: Okay. How big a role do you think the media played in defining you as the front-runner?
    HD: A huge role. They played a role in the rise and they played a role in the fall. They defined me as the front-runner, and then their idea was to attack the front-runner as much as possible.
    CRJ: A number of news stories raised questions about your temperament. Why do you think this is?
    HD: That started with spinning from the Kerry campaign in March. At that time, we didn’t have a press operation to combat that sort of thing.
    Howard Dean on the Blistering Coverage of His Candidacy and the State of the American Media. BY JANE HALL http://cjrarchives.org/issues/2004/5/hall-dean.asp

    Reply

  6. croatoan says:

    According to the article, “Richardson’s prospects were shadowed by alleged womanizing.”

    Reply

  7. croatoan says:

    According to the article, “Richardson’s prospects were shadowed by alleged womanizing.”

    Reply

  8. Molly says:

    I agree with Pauline about Kerry. About a week before that election, he sent a plea for money for lawyers in case they had to contest any post-election irregularities. Then of course he conceded before all the absentee etc. votes were even counted in Ohio… and did not challenge–unlike the Greens… Kerry left us all on up on that hostile river, metaphorically speaking

    Reply

  9. pauline says:

    Kerry is such a fraud, imo, for conceding the 2004 election so early, but more importantly, because this gigolo never asked for any serious inquiry into all the e-voting irregularites in 2004, especially in Ohio. What a worthless bozo!
    If I never saw his botoxed face on the tube anymore, so much the better.
    Now here’s someone who really cares for our country and form of government:
    “Kucinich asks for New Hampshire recount in the interest of election integrity”
    DETROIT, MI Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the most outspoken advocate in the Presidential field and in Congress for election integrity, paper-ballot elections, and campaign finance reform, has sent a letter to the New Hampshire Secretary of State asking for a recount of Tuesday’s election because of “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.”
    He added, “Ever since the 2000 election — and even before — the American people have been losing faith in the belief that their votes were actually counted. This recount isn’t about who won 39% of 36% or even 1%. It’s about establishing whether 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them.”
    Kerry vs. Kucinich? What’s that old saying, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem…”
    The answer between these two is more than obvious.

    Reply

  10. jon somer says:

    I’ve always wondered why, in view f the importance of the Hispanic vote, Kerry didn’t choose Bill Richardson

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    What a weird article.
    It’s really nothing but a hit piece on Edwards written by a loser political consulant. But revealing about how Jr. senators are expected to not to stray from the establishment herd. That should be the real story.
    Talk about gut instinct, Edwards should have gone with his own and Elizabeth’s instinct and voted against Iraq.
    The old boys really don’t like him do they? To the best of my memory Edwards did a lot more work and provided a lot more energy for that campaign than Kerry did. So is Shrum blaming Edwards because Shrum chose him or is it all about Edwards bad manners in not returning Kerry’s calls? This belongs in a Dear Abby column under my feelings are hurt because my friend ignores me while his wife is having cancer.
    The elections these consulants keep losing for the dems is amazing…I am afraid 2008 will be another one.

    Reply

  12. FaceOnMars says:

    Steve,
    I suppose “Love” isn’t normally enough to make a marraige work either, but it’s a good place to start.
    I happen to agree with you regarding Obama and the necessity of a methodology. I think it’s most critical in light of the fact that he’s probably one of the more idealistic of the lot.
    I believe it’s almost next to impossible for people to be “all things” in so far as being superior to most on the following fronts: intellectually, physically, socially, and having that extra “gut” 6th sense or keen intuition. Typically, if a person excels in one area it’s difficult to really home in on other areas.
    Maybe I’ve botched the illustration above, but wholding a straight flush iat I’m driving at is that I believe Obama is hn the ideas camp; however, whether or not he can make the ideas come to reality is the big question for me. Hopefully, he’d surround himself with a cabinet which is adept at making his ideas actually work in real life — which would invariably entail navigating the political waters.

    Reply

  13. Chris says:

    I still don’t think instinctual decision-making and informed analysis are mutually exclusive. The ‘gut’ is often informed by the analysis. I certainly agree that this President has essentially replaced analysis with his instincts, and as a result we’ve paid the consequences.
    But we shouldn’t refuse to discuss a candidate’s instincts because governing is not always a science. I think it’s relevant to have a conversation, at least, about the experiences that shape a candidate’s world-view. A candidate doesn’t know what crises he or she might end up facing as President, and nor does the public. What both candidates and the public can attempt to discern, however, is the candidates’ identity and background.
    I simply fear that George W. Bush’s emphasis on ‘instinct’ will force us to think that we need to rely *exclusively* on analysis. Sometimes, analysis is wrong, as should be apparent to any student of foreign policy.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *