Kerry and the Veep-designate


It's two a.m., July 6, 2004. John Kerry, struggling through a sleepless night, calls John Edwards, sleeping peacefully, who answers with a grunt:

K: Hi, John, how're things down there in old Carolina? The old Viet vet here.

E: Okay, is it you, Gephardt? Not funny in the middle of the night. If you've called to gloat, I'm gonna leak it out that you gloated about beatin' out John McCain for the job, even if he is a republican. I know it cain't be Sharpton 'cause you didn't say, "Hello, you high-powered lawyer millionaire ambulance-chasin' racist makin' money off poor folks," like he at least all but said in those stupid debates.

K: Look, I know it's late and you're only about half awake, John, but I think you should recognize the acknowledged silver voice of the Senate, not to mention all New England and…sheesh, Gephardt…he'd put people to sleep in the middle of…even if he was wearing a tutu…

E: Just kiddin', theah, John, you ol' rivah rat…Cong killer, that's you. I was just havin' a little fun, you ol' medal man…er make that river rat…gotta remember to git rid o' this damn southern accent…

K: Say, John, I'm in the process of…as you know…I'm…well…yesterday …no, day before yesterday I thought about asking you to be my man in the second seat in November…no, wait…yeah…then yesterday I changed my mind and figured I'd better…then, today…this morning or just a while ago I…or was it after lunch, or after midnight I…well…by the way, keep the accent, John, it might come in handy…in fact, I'm banking on it to…

E: Did you say second seat, theah…there, John? What's with that second seat stuff? The last time we talked, you mentioned somethin' - er - something about a shared…

K: No, John, remember, I reminded you the last time we talked that you're thinking about that conversation we had with Bill and Hill, and Hill mentioned that co-president stuff they tried back in '91. I didn't say…

E: Well, ol' Slick got elected, never mind Hill's botch-up of the health stuff. That came later, anyway.

K: Look, I know Hill, and you're no Hill, John. Besides, it was Carter's people or actually the media idiots back around 1980 who said the job was too big for one man. Ronald Reagan stopped all that talk. The ayatollah figured out the day Reagan took office that he'd better let the hostages go, since that one man might…

E: Yeah…okay…but, well, does this mean you've made up your mind and that I'm…

K: I'm thinking, I'm thinking, John, don't push it. I'd hate to make an announcement and then change my mind and have to…

E: Like votin' for the war and then votin' not to fund it and then tellin' those union meatheads you'd voted for the war before you actually voted against it, as if that made any sense.

K: I've told you before, John. You don't call union workers by that name…reminds them of Archie Bunker. They identify with that meathead, even though he always called that numbskull son-in-law of his meathead. By the way, you didn't hear me say it, either. Those meatheads do the heavy lifting in any democrat campaign. Anyway, we're more like that numbskull son-in-law than we are…

E: At least we'd better be, Senator. You know even better than I do - well, maybe that's a little strong - you know maybe as well as I do that I have the magic ingredient for a new administration…

K: I'm not counting too much on the southern angle, John. Yellow-dog democrats are just like Kentucky hillbillies…they don't trust big-city lawyers too much…I'm thinking more about that article in that nudey magazine that claimed the NOW gals believe you're a hunk…that's a helluva lotta votes, John, and the soccer moms go for sex in a big way these days. You know, they stuff their daughters in those hip-hugger jeans so they can flash their navels at the boys, and when they bend over…whew…makes me…

E: That's not what I had in mind, John. Surely you remember the big stuff Bush's folks trotted out in 2000…you know…that Cheney'd bring all that gravitas to the ticket…that's what I'd be…

K: I know you're kidding, John, but it's a malicious kind of kidding, and I don't appreciate it, especially in the middle of the night and in a serious subject. Anyway, it was the stupid media types and their stupid columnists and stupid talk-show idiots and stupid editorialists and stupid news-anchors that made all the noise about Cheney and his damned gravitas.

E: But you got on the same bandwagon theah, John, and poked fun at Bush for bein' a hopeless skull-and-bones "gentlemen's C" student at Yale and…

K: I was skull-and-bones, John, so don't go…

E: Nothing personal theah…there, John. Any organization can have dimwits. I face juries full o' dimwits every time I sue some doctor for most anything from a hangnail to a botched nose job. (laughter) Yessir, just trot out those pictures and the women in the panel…

K: Look, John, I'm on a short time-leash right now. I've made the stupid mistake of announcing that I'd put my choice on the Internet tonight…did I say stupid? Boy, it is late. If there's one thing I'm not, it's…

E: Yeah, I waited up until after midnight for that big announcement and then figured you'd changed your mind and would put it on whenever you'd changed your mind to a time when…

K: What would you do about Iraq, John, to get down to the nitty-gritty? I'm trying to get the soccer moms and the black folks all hot to trot on the usual things…education, health care, social security, child care, medicine…all the usual stuff…even the Hispanics, at least the non-wetbacks…but I keep hearing that even all those high-population gangs, especially the soccer moms and the little old ladies in blue hair, not to mention the gays and lesbians, are all caught up in the national security thing. You'd think they all are scared out of their…

E: I was smart enough not to vote for the war, John, so you know my position is set in concrete, and these folks know there cain't be any bloodshed if there's no war…make that can't be any…

K: But I voted for the damn thing, John…

E: Yeah, and you never shoulda said something about not expectin' Bush to actually do anything until the Frenchies said it was okay…them and those stuck-up Germans at the UN…you shoulda known that cowboy'd go…what difference does it make anyway…you explained your position by voting not to fund the thing…

K: But that didn't make me look unpatriotic, John, huh, John…John…you there?

E: See what I mean about the gravitas, John. You need some o' that. Remember what you said the other day…that you're 100 percent pro-choice and that life begins at conception. In other words, abortion becomes murder if life begins at conception…so you cain't…can't have it both ways. Even the bishops…especially the bishops aren't fooled by that, and they still won't let you have communion…and that looks bad, too, especially when we attack…I mean when we preach in all those black churches…you not bein' thought fit to…

K: I gotta go, John. Teresa needs the phone. The stores are opening in Paris now, and she plans to order a new gown from that French…

E: Just one question, John.

K: Yeah, what?

E: Am I on the ticket?

K: Of course you are, John. Do you think I'd make this much small talk if you weren't?

E: Small talk! I don't appreciate that one bit, John, but I'll fax you a brief…er, form right now to sign so I'll know you mean…

K: This is not a lawsuit, John…just check the Internet.