RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge
Democrats' new double act take their first steps towards the White House with a traditional dose of US optimism

On the one hand there was Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry - stiff in demeanour and laboured in delivery, the experienced, statesmanlike north-eastern patriarchal blueblood. On the other there was his freshly-picked and fresh-faced running mate, John Edwards - approachable in style and affable in manner, the youthful inexperienced red-blooded southerner.

The straight man and the crowd pleaser; Kerry painted in matt, Edwards in gloss. The two Johnnies, on the first stop of a tour they hope will put them in the White House.

With Cleveland as their stage, Lake Erie as their backdrop and Tina Turner's You're Simply the Best as their sound track, the two emerged with their families to darkening, midday clouds to talk about their vision of a brighter tomorrow.

Mr Kerry's older daughter and stepson distracted Mr Edwards' toddlers; the families and the candidates had an ease of presence that belied the barbed exchanges of the primary campaigns.

By the time Mr Edwards took the microphone the drizzle had started. But in this swing state, that has lost one in six of its manufacturing jobs since President Bush came into office, no amount of rain was going to ruin this parade.

They were here to tap the single most valuable commodity in American politics after money - optim- ism. In the only country in the world where people consistently believe that the next year will be better than this one (notwithstanding a few years in the late 70s) the crowd had invested their hopes in Kerry and Edwards.

Few denied Mr Kerry was short on charisma. And most believed Mr Edwards' folksy manner added a much-needed common touch. "He has the ability to make it plain and break it down," said congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs. "They make a good mix. They suit each other." So Mr Kerry held Mr Edwards hand high to huge cheers and high hopes. Mr Kerry's wife, Teresa, introduced Mr Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, who introduced Mr Kerry who introduced Mr Edwards. And between the Oprah-like platitudes of this concentric initiation came one of the crucial individual qualities that Mr Edwards adds to the ticket - his life story.

"He represents opportunity," said Mr Kerry, an Ivy League graduate partly educated at a private school in Switzerland, as he spoke of his new running mate. "Because he's watched his father go to work in a mill and his mother go to work as a postal worker."

Despite an early reference to 1879 - when Cleveland became the first city to get electric street lights - Mr Kerry did his best to lighten up his pitch with varying degrees of success. "The only person who had a better weekend than John Kerry and John Edwards was Spider Man," said Mr Kerry, referring to the latest box office hit.

"What about Michael Moore?" asked one man in the crowd and Mr Kerry shook his head nervously and smiled.

More laughs came for his claim that the dream team has "got better vision, better ideas, real plans, we've got a better sense of what's happening to America and we've got better hair".

They certainly do have better hair - Mr Kerry has a silver mane ("He looks French," jibed one Republican last year), Mr Edwards has a brown glossy quiff.

Fears that Mr Edwards' style on the stump would accentuate the dreary impression are, for the time being, overblown. Mr Kerry is not that bad and Mr Edwards is not that good and come November they will be up against President Bush and Dick Cheney who are no great performers.

But Mr Edwards knows his audience and caters for them well. He takes over, to great applause to revisit his theme that there are two Americas - one for the incredibly wealthy and one for the rest trying to make ends meet - that played so well in the primary campaign.

It is a quirky tune for a couple of white, male, multimillionaires to sing as they go out to bat for America's working poor.

But Mr Edwards has almost perfect pitch. And the choir not only know the words, but love to hum along.

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Who Are We – And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?
book review
The more power an identity carries, the less likely its carrier is to be aware of it as an identity at all.
 follow on twitter
RT @nytimes: A Black professor who studies housing discrimination had his house appraised: $472,000. He then did a “whitewashing experiment…
RT @MCRSociology: Gary Younge discusses identity politics and America with Will Hutton in this episode of @thewesocietypod https://t.co/72…
RT @mart_welton: Congratulations to all those getting their A-level results today. If you have BBB at A-level or above you can still apply…
RT @BernardineEvari: Please follow the groundbreaking online #MuseumofColour UK, founded by the unstoppable Samenua Sesher. The 1st gallery…
RT @EthnicityUK: Gary Younge is interviewed by @sonikkalogan about his work on racism and gun violence in @the_hindu #DataPoint podcast. h…
RT @thefreedomi: 🚨 NEW: Saudi women’s rights activist & academic Salma al-Shehab was sentenced to 34 years in prison + 34 year travel ban f…
RT @LRB: #DawnFosterForever! On Thursday 15 September at the @LRBbookshop, @BizK1, @piercepenniless, Lynsey Hanley and @garyyounge will d…
RT @ShowunmiV: This is how we support Black women and girls https://t.co/8YmgV21zHo
RT @sonikkalogan: It's #DataPoint Pod Thursday! In this week's episode, I talk to @noraneus, @garyyounge and @Casey_J_Wooten about the U.S.…
RT @bgnoiseuk: Next month, @LRBbookshop will host an event to celebrate the life and work of Dawn Foster with @BizK1, @piercepenniless, Lyn…
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Cellcept discount card Adcirca best buy Does voltaren gel get into the bloodstream Cheap lanoxin online Can i buy cellcept Buy protonix What i should buy with tarceva Buy zetia online with free samples Online doctor motegrity How much does xifaxan 550 cost