Some Missouri delegates to the national Democratic convention want the presidential race to come to Missouri. But they're less interested in having John Kerry than they are at having John Edwards, the vice presidential nominee. I understand their reasoning but I'm not sure what it says about Kerry.
An Associated Press interview this morning shows that many of the hardcore Democratic delegates want Edwards to portray his humble beginnings and southern leanings to the Show Me state. What that means of course is that John Kerry's privileged background and liberal eastern image will play much worse in Missouri than Edwards.
I said months ago and I repeat today - Missouri will be the most important state in the upcoming presidential election. The spotlight may well fall on Florida again or Ohio and Michigan. But it will be Missouri where the real battleground unfolds. I believe it will be late into the night or the following morning before Missouri falls into one category or another. And my fear is that St. Louis again will be the questionable ground zero that will generate the attention and the focus. When it comes to questionable voting practices, few areas can rival St. Louis.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I agree that John Edwards could help boost the Democratic chances in Missouri. He's clearly the more appealing part of the national ticket and he brings an image that will play well in Missouri. But George W. Bush can talk the talk to Missourians as well and we'll likely see our share of the President in the next three months. Don't be surprised if he doesn't visit our region of the state.
Far too many elections involve style over substance. That is a product of the national media and the short attention span of the American public. And sadly, it may be a reflection on the intellectual inability of most Americans to grasp much more than a sound bite or a quick impression. I believe most Americans simply are unable to dig through the rhetoric and honestly assess how each candidate matches their own personal beliefs and values.
The Democrats' best weapon in our neck of the woods is John Edwards. It's up to you to decide just what that means.