Column: A cheesehead for VP

The race for the White House came to GW’s doorstep when Howard Dean endorsed Democratic nominee John Kerry on Kogan Plaza two weeks ago. Combine this fanfare with how little school there is left, and I couldn’t help but look forward to summer and the party conventions, especially the Democrats’. A big question Kerry has to answer before then is who will be joining him on stage as vice presidential nominee in Boston?

I’ve come to my conclusion as to whom the veep should be based on different criteria, many of which have been thrown around by media pundits.

It seems the first factor in the decision process is geography. The candidate needs to either defend home turf or be able to win on the road in the red states. Learning from previous mistakes, Democrats should realize that while Connecticut might be a nice place, it isn’t a big bonanza of electoral votes. Trolling for nominees this time around has focused heavily in the South and in states in the “rust belt” that are going to be critical to win if Kerry wants good seats for the inauguration.

Beyond where they come from, the vice presidential nominee needs much the same qualifications as a president. As the second in command, the Number Two to Kerry’s Dr. Evil needs to show leadership capabilities. The vice president needs to drive his boss’ agenda down the field and be the kind of leader who can get the party to huddle together and come up with a good plan of action.

Even before the cherry blossoms have bloomed, the presidential race has taken a nasty turn. To be a good nominee, Kerry’s choice needs to be able to take a hit and not be afraid to hit back.

The final piece to this puzzle is finding someone with poise; someone who can articulate the message of the Democratic Party. Until November, we can expect heavy media saturation. Being able to handle the bright lights of television is a must.

Taking these factors into consideration, I propose the John Kerry-Brett Farve ticket. Those of you who follow football know Mr. Farve as the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

I’ll admit, this may be thinking a little outside the box, but when you examine Farve’s record closely, you may change your mind.

Not only is he beloved in Wisconsin, a key swing state, he quarterbacked at Southern Miss. and was born in Gulfport, Miss. So he’s from the South and represents a swing state. Beyond that, the Packers consistently rank as one of the NFL’s most popular teams nationwide.

You want leadership capabilities. He’s got those, too. Farve led the Packers to a title in Super Bowl XXXI. He is also the only player to be three-time consecutive winner of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.

Being chased by 300-plus-pound linemen should leave Farve well prepared to face whatever Karl Rove can throw at him. Farve holds the record for most consecutive games played. Don’t expect him to be worn out by a little campaigning.

Farve’s talents aren’t just limited to the gridiron. He has experience as a television pitchman. He is perhaps best known for his role opposite Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller in the comedy “There’s Something About Mary.”

Preposterous you say; no NFL quarterback could be nominated for the vice presidency. You have quite the short memory. In 1996, Bob Dole chose former NFL quarterback Jack Kemp to round off the Republican’s ticket.

OK, OK, so Farve isn’t a serious possibility. If you think he is, either you are a Republican or your cheesehead hat is on too tight. This example does demonstrate the problem, however, of using these kind of mostly superficial considerations for choosing a nominee.

While it may be tempting in to select veeps who might be able to pick up a few more electorial votes, past history has shown that isn’t the characteristic that has been used. Dick Cheney was the former congressman from Wyoming. Republicans had the same chance of losing that state as they did Tucker Carlson. Bush’s predecessor didn’t play the geographic game, either. Arkansan Bill Clinton picked Tennessean Al Gore. Arkansas is one of nine states that Tennessee borders. Not too much locality difference there.

If you go to msnbc.com, there is a feature called “veepstakes” that ranks and discusses the various possible contenders. Makes you wonder if it’s the vice presidency or the lottery. When it comes down to it, Kerry – or any nominee, for that matter – is going to pick someone he feels confident will help him to run the country, which is too bad, because maybe we need a cheese head in the White House.

-The writer, a freshman majoring in political science, is a Hatchet

columnist.

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