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Required Reading, Part IV

5:58 PM, Aug 6, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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From the Huffington Post, "John Kerry, Surrogate-in-Chief" by Sam Stein

A few months ago, I urged the Obama campaign to consider John Kerry as its running mate. Forget the fact that Kerry would fulfill His needs; Kerry would also fill my need for non-stop comedy:

There is one man that Barack Obama can turn to who will fill all the ticket's needs. That man is John Kerry. We've already discussed how Obama needs a serious running mate, and Kerry at least looks serious. Besides, Kerry is haughty and dour, two traits which are sort of bastard cousins to seriousness. Additionally, if my memory serves correctly, Kerry spent time in the armed forces and even had a tour of duty in Vietnam. And although he's gotten nothing done in the Senate, at least he's been there forever.

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?

I also predicted that Kerry would be furiously furthering his ambitions, trying to finagle his way on to the ticket. Sure enough, Kerry has emerged as Obama's most eager henchman. How successful has Kerry been as Obama's designated hitman? The Huffington Post's Sam Stein seem to be pondering whether or not to join me on the Obama/Kerry bandwagon:

"I think (Kerry) did a better job on Meet the Press then almost everybody I have recently seen," said Shrum. "[John] doesn't mind in the least engaging as he did with Lieberman. He is not sitting there worrying about what people are going to think of him. And he really understands the issues in a way few people in politics do. There is no question that... if he had not run in '04 he would almost be a lock for the vice presidential nomination. (Ed. Note: No question - a lock?!) That's the irony. Had he not run at all he would be the clearest possible choice for VP this year. But it would be unprecedented to pick the person who was nominee of the party four years earlier for vice president, though it would be fun if it happened. Some of those swift boaters would crawl out from their muck, only this time they will get beaten back."

There is, other Democrats acknowledge, a lot that Kerry could bring to the table: foreign policy gravitas, name recognition, prior vetting and, most significantly, knowledge of the campaign process. But there are obvious downsides as well, starting with the fundamental turn-the-page message of the Obama campaign. At point, it seems the near-president is content to help Obama achieve what he could not as a surrogate, not an insider.

Personally, I thought Kerry did horribly on Meet the Press this past Sunday. But what do I know? It's not like I've blown seven presidential elections. In truth, it was a quintessential Kerry performance - deeply off-putting and unpleasant. But he was angry and bitter, two characteristics prized by the angry left.

But hey - who cares what I think? Obama/Kerry - could it happen? Do dreams really come true?