US Politics

Kerry revisited (ust for a second, I promise)

From a new book by veteran Paul Rieckhoff, Chasing Ghosts: A Soldier’s Fight for America from Baghdad to Washington:

At one point Kerry asked us all who we thought he should choose as his running mate. A few in the room mentioned John McCain. Rumors had circulated in the press for weeks about secret meetings between Kerry and McCain. Getting McCain to abandon Bush to run as Kerry’s VP would change history. Together they could beat Bush. But Kerry made it clear the McCain option was not on the table.

One vet suggested Senator Cleland. Max is a hero and role model to every veteran. After losing three limbs in Vietnam from a grenade explosion, he ran for and won a seat in the Georgia state senate, and then became the youngest head of Veterans Affairs (VA) in history. An incredibly effective advocate for veterans, Max introduced America’s first Vet Centers, revolutionizing VA care by providing vets with peer-to-peer counseling led by older combat vets. Max went on to be elected to the U.S. Senate. He was a guy with the most mojo I had ever been around.

But Max wouldn’t be Kerry’s choice either. Instead, Kerry asked us about Dick Gephardt. Everyone reacted tepidly. Then I proposed Wes Clark, arguing that in times of war, Americans trust a General. Generals project strength, which Democrats seriously needed. And Clark would bring in the most Independents and Republicans.

While there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in this, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that any of these would have been far better than Edwards. I am curious though, what would the majority of McCain supporters have done if he had made such a move? David, would you have unequivocally voted Kerry had McCain been on the ticket?

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