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Obama-Kerry '08

Meet the dream ticket!

12:00 AM, Apr 3, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Unlike the almost presumptive nominee, Kerry is a fine debater. How good was Kerry in the 2004 debates? The New York Times described his fluid performance in his first joust with George W. Bush by exclaiming, "He moved gracefully. Mr. Bush slouched and stayed coiled tight, but Mr. Kerry seemed at times to be waltzing with his partner, the lectern. Mr. Kerry moved his hands almost continuously, at one point folding them over his heart like a French mime as he explained that he felt 'nothing but respect' for Tony Blair and British soldiers serving in Iraq." A French mime? Waltzing with his lectern? Need I say more?

Kerry would also bring certain pragmatic, political advantages to the fray. Kerry has been vetted. No surprises will emerge about John Kerry. Well, maybe a few minor ones from Bob Shrum's back-stabbing memoir (like Kerry's juvenile behavior at a campaign get-together with Peter, Paul & Mary), but nothing major. And Kerry's presence on the ticket will make this election more of a referendum on the Bush administration. I know Obama prefers looking forward rather than backwards, but a little glance of this sort in the rearview mirror would help his chances considerably.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING: Why would I, a conservative partisan, give the Obama campaign such valuable free advice? This actually would concern me were it not for two factors: 1) I'm quite confident the Obama campaign doesn't care what I think; and 2) I'm even more confident that John Kerry is doing everything he can to further his ambitions on his own. I've been a Kerry constituent for almost 25 years. (It feels like longer.) I know he's still scheming his way to the presidency, and a spot on the Obama ticket would put him back in the game.

But I must confess an ulterior motive for my pining for an Obama/Kerry ticket. Things have gotten dull around here. Every day, we have to write about the latest development that defines Barack Obama. The little lies, the habitual evasions, the avoidance of substance--each day we get fresh evidence that Obama is a lot more like the typical politician than the country believes. It's an important story, one that has to be covered.

And I will cover it. But is it too much to ask of the Obama campaign that while it makes me slog through this drudgery, it also provides me with the endless entertainment that another national John Kerry campaign will surely provide?

Ah, the times we had! Like when John and Teresa went to a Wendy's with the Edwards to prove they were regular folks but didn't eat and had a sumptuous catered feast waiting for them at their hotel. Or when he promised his advisors he wouldn't go windsurfing and did so anyway. Or when he called a Secret Service agent a cuss word for allegedly making him stumble on the ski slopes, declaring to the media, "I don't fall."

Just the thought of fresh, anguished cries of "Swiftboating!!!!!" brings a smile to my face. Besides, doesn't the country deserve to see what kind of relationship would develop between Michelle Obama and Teresa Heinz Kerry?

Dean Barnett is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.