Brokaw for Veep?
John Fund has an interesting, if widely implausible, op-ed in today’s WSJ saying Kerry should pick retiring NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw as his running mate.
Last year, the New York Observer reported that an ad hoc committee of his media friends, including executives Barry Diller and Howard Stringer along with writers Nora Ephron and Kurt Andersen, “weren’t taking no for an answer” when it came to promoting a Brokaw candidacy for president. “He simply is the greatest draft choice you could ever possibly imagine,” said Mr. Diller. “He’s such a natural on so many levels that I can’t imagine how you could create it otherwise. Of course it’s absurd, but there it is.” Ms. Ephron predicted last year that if Mr. Brokaw changed his mind, “$20 million would come pouring in in about a week.” Mr. Brokaw demurred, saying through a spokesman: “I’m not running for anything.” But Mickey Kaus of Slate reported last year that Mr. Brokaw remains intensely interested in politics and has thought about running for president.
John Thune, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Mr. Brokaw’s home state of South Dakota, agrees. He says Mr. Brokaw has been intrigued by politics ever since his days at the University of South Dakota. “It would be a fascinating out of the box choice,” he told me. A South Dakota Democratic state legislator assures me that Mr. Brokaw would be a good ideological fit for Mr. Kerry, with the added advantage that “no one thinks of him as a liberal.”
Most Americans have respect, even affection, for Mr. Brokaw. More than one TV critic commented on his performance as moderator of a Democratic presidential debate last November by suggesting the debate would have been livened up if he had been one of the candidates. The Weekly Standard says he has mastered the technique of appearing on television as “a thoughtful fellow, caught in unhurried rumination.” His book on World War II veterans, “The Greatest Generation,” sold more than 4.1 million copies in 1999 and was followed up by three subsequent bestsellers. Even his ideological adversaries give him his due. Dennis Miller, the caustic comedian, dismisses Peter Jennings and Dan Rather as “Stepford anchors” but even before he landed his current show on CNBC opined that “Tom has many likable human qualities.”
Brokaw is a bright, likable fellow but he’s not exactly a plausible choice for being one heartbeat away from the presidency during a time of war. He has zero experience running anything. Furthermore, I can’t imagine he’d want to jump from the beloved anchorship right into a partisan political campaign, immediately alienating half his supporters.