K-Lo, Actually, I’ve been making the comparison for the last week (including on an NPR show). I think it is very apt (which is why I keep making it). First, lots of Democrats and pundits compared Kerry to Dole well before Kerry picked Edwards. And Edwards is very much a Kempian figure for the Democrats (though without Kemp’s political experience). Liberal journalists were lavish in their praise of Kemp. And so were conservatives. He “united” the party, brought in the (Reaganite) party activists, brought optimism, good looks and enthusiasm to the ticket. Kemp wouldn’t take cheap shots and was loved by the press for his civility, etc etc.
None of it mattered.
Now, I think Edwards is a much better politician than Kemp was or is. And I think Edwards won’t have the reluctance Kemp had in the debates to go for the jugular. But, at the end of the day, Kerry is still in my mind the Democrats’ Bob Dole — except lots of Republicans liked Bob Dole personally, even if they didn’t want him to be president. Democrats want Kerry to be president but don’t like him personally.