Saturday, March 06, 2004
Tracking Kerry's VP Auditions: Ruben, Clay (or Kelly)?
By Mark Hand
Too bad there are still eight months until the general election. Most of this time will be wasted by the crowned representatives of the U.S. political duopoly staging a back-and-forth tragicomic routine designed to give the election an appearance of a choice between two candidates with substantive differences.
For the chroniclers of the political charade, endless hours of broadcast infotainment and countless newspaper column inches will e wasted on such horse-race aspects of the presidential contest as the tracking of bribes collected by the candidates and the polling of potential voters on which candidate has the best all-American dictatorial qualities. Many of us, even those inclined toward an evolutionary dismantling of the repressive structures supporting the institution of the presidency, will be sucked into the Election 2004 spectacle.
One of the questions certain to follow John Kerry for the next few months will be who he and Terry McAuliffe plan to select as the Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate. In a sequel to last year’s debate on whether Ruben or Clay should be American Idol, here we go again with a similarly inconsequential guessing game.
So as not to be left out of the banality of it all, here’s my guess. Drum roll, please. Kerry will pick Mary Landrieu, Democratic U.S. senator from Louisiana, as his sidekick in the race for the presidency.
A two-term senator from a southern state, Landrieu is a political winner who has earned the respect of the business community through her support for the various industries -chemical, oil and gas, fishing, and agriculture -active in her state.
Despite his pro-big business record in the Senate, Kerry will find himself under attack by the Bush camp for not working hard enough to make the rich richer. Landrieu will go to bat for the Democratic ticket when Karl Rove tries to smear a Kerry administration as bad for business.
Born in 1955, Mary Landrieu’s long background in the colorful politics of Louisiana -she was first elected to the state legislature at the age of 23 -would add some vitality to the patrician image of her Boston Brahmin running mate. (A speech by someone named Moon could also jazz things up during Kerry’s coronation at the Fleet Center in Boston.)
If selected by Kerry, Landrieu would obviously generate buzz about becoming the first woman to serve as vice president. Her youthful appearance also would serve as a nice contrast to the wrinkled Shar-Pei visage of John Kerry.
If chosen as Kerry’s running mate and then elected, Landrieu would be the first vice president (or president) born in Arlington, Va., where Press Action has its headquarters. (Sen. Jay Bulworth also was born in Arlington, but he was shot down by the powers-that-be during his bid for the presidency.)
Some Democrats may oppose Landrieu getting on the ticket because of the value she possesses as one of the few remaining Democratic senators in the South. Finding another Democrat to win a statewide race in Louisiana could be a tough task, some might argue. But Democrat Kathleen Blanco won her race for governor of Louisiana last November. Plus, Blanco would get to choose Landrieu’s replacement -if the Kerry-Landrieu ticket were victorious in November -until a special election were held to elect someone to fill the remaining years in her Senate term.
That’s my pick (not my choice) in the John Kerry vice presidential sweepstakes. And that’s enough diversionary water-cooler talk for now. Let’s get back to building a movement that will overhaul our blighted democracy and put an end to the duopoly’s lock on politics in Washington and across the country.
Mark Hand is editor of Press Action and Little Bird Express.Share