John – My point isn’t that you can’t pick a boring VP. George HW Bush was boring. Al Gore (versions 3.1 thru 9.6) was boring. But the Veep needs to balance-out what a candidate is missing or put forward a theme. I agree Gephardt would help in the Midwest and if he could assure Missouri, that’s a strong argument for him. But Gephardt multiplies the dull white liberal guy factor of the Kerry candidacy. While I diagree that people saw Cheney as boring (I think they saw him as having mega gravitas), getting a boring Veep didn’t hurt Bush because Bush needed a heavy-hitter to round out his ticket. Yes, I know, Gore didn’t round-out the Clinton ticket so much as reinforce it — new generation of leaders and all that. But the insight Clinton had was that the Veep pick was a way to launch a theme, convey an image. Bush did that in 2000 with Cheney by picking a guy from Wyoming in that he wanted to signal the frat party in Washington would be over if the GOP won. If Kerry picks Gephardt what will the the message be? Tired dull Democrats who oversaw the demise of the Democratic Party take one last stand?
Hey, I could be wrong because I’m analyzing this badly, or I could be wrong because Kerry makes the wrong decision. I hope it’s the latter.