This short and to the point article in USA Today puts the feel-good events of last week for Kerry and Edwards into a bit of perspective. A numbers of things that were said by Kerry and Edwards (or their wives) have complicated their lives and have muted the uplift they should have received from the hubub. Kerry has unreliable instincts (witness the New York celebrity concert), and his wife is realiably predictable. Andrew Sullivan (in the London Times) considers how both Cheney and Edwards represent their parties’ base, and draws a nice comparison of the two. He might be a bit kinder to Edwards than he should be (in my opinion), but this is thoughtful. This is his last paragraph:
"The same paradox may well be true about the scheduled debate between them. Edwards is perhaps the best orator from his party for many years. Expect him to raise the roof at the Democrats’ convention in Boston. Cheney is terrible on the stump. He doesn’t even like applause. At a recent speech when cheers forced him to repeat a sentence, he growled, "You guys want to hear this speech or not?" Edwards, in comparison, targets every member of the audience for charm and persuasion, just as he did so brilliantly with dozens of juries. But in the intimate context of a television debate, Cheney could do well. His low-key, authoritative daddy act will contrast dramatically with Edwards’ blow-dried bangs and populist sound-bites. Edwards’ best shot? To get a Cheney snarl that reminds voters why they distrust him. Cheney’s best shot? To have a foreign policy question where he leaves the neophyte Edwards in the dust. And just because it’s a side-show doesn’t mean it won’t be drama. Think Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader; Austin Powers versus Dr Evil; and the boyish charms of the 1990s versus the cold fear of the new millennium. It will be not so much a vote as a taking of the American temperature. And you couldn’t find two more constrasting characters to choose between."