(Get it--John and John? Ah, never mind...)
My main reaction to yesterday's news that Kerry picked Edwards to join him on the ticket was relief--probably not surprising given my strong antipathy toward Gephardt. Now I'm feeling more confident, both in the competence of the campaign and even in Kerry's decision-making capacities. It seems clear to me he didn't want Edwards and he probably doesn't especially like Edwards, but he resisted what I call the Kotite Temptation--named after the stunningly inept Philadelphia Eagles coach who led superbly talented teams to undistinguished performances from 1991-94--of choosing comfort over competitiveness. The guy realized that Edwards both helps in a number of battleground states in the midwest and possibly the border south, and that adding Johnny Sunshine ensures that the base will remain fired up. As Adam Nagourney observes in today's Times:
In the end, this might be the single most instructive thing about the choice that Mr. Kerry made on Tuesday. He is, it seems, not very different from the Democratic voters he encountered across the country this year: Ravenous for victory against Mr. Bush, and prepared to do almost whatever it takes to win.
Thematically, Kerry and Edwards actually match up quite well: both offer core messages of enlightened self-interest (Kerry's muscular multilateralism, Edwards' denunciation of the "Two Americas"), in what I think is the best tradition of both the United States and western capitalism itself. And it should offer a welcome contrast to the benighted self-interest on offer from Bush, Cheney and the rest of the radical right-wing demolition crew. According to the always-invaluable Carpetbagger, early polling returns are very favorable.