How Edwards affects Kerry’s bid

Presidential hopeful John Kerry finally selected a running mate after a four-month search. He decided on Senator John Edwards from North Carolina.

Is this the strongest Democratic ticket for the presidency?

The New York Times reports that Edwards was one of three finalists — Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri and Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa were the other two.

But why Edwards?

He is a youthful looking individual, and that was what Dan Quayle contributed to George Bush Sr.’s campaign.

However, most of the factors are drawn from the fact that Kerry and Edwards are very different.

Since he hails from North Carolina, he could help bolster support from the South, as Kerry is from Massachusetts.

Edwards, who ran for the Democratic nomination, promoted a positive campaign, whereas Kerry delivered a more negative “anti-Bush” message. These two approaches could strike a balance in winning the election.

In fact, Kerry attempted to achieve the ultimate balance when he asked Senator John McCain of Arizona — a Republican — to be his running mate. McCain declined and has since lent his support to President Bush.

We also find Sen. Kerry to be much less approachable than Sen. Edwards. The only appeal that Kerry has is that he isn’t Bush. Edwards may have standalone likability, and his popularity won’t feed off the dislike of, say, Vice-president Dick Cheney.

Of course, Edwards isn’t the ideal choice. He has his drawbacks.

Compared to Cheney, Edwards is inexperienced — he has only served one term as senator. He also lacks international experience, which is important, considering the wars overseas.

Then again, when voters choose presidents, they don’t always take into account vice-presidents. They are more likely to vote for Bush or Kerry, rather than Bush-Cheney or Kerry-Edwards.

FOX News personality Fred Barnes doesn’t believe Edwards “can step right in and take over as president” if needed. “But zip and excitement, he has it.”

The excitement that Edwards brings may have been brought by anyone. GOP strategist Rick Davis commented, “With John Kerry’s excitement-deficit syndrome problem, any Democrat with a heartbeat would be excited about this ticket.”

Edwards as a running mate may be the most sensible choice by Kerry. If he is not elected, however, Edwards is not at fault.