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.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    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.”

    Just when I’m all out of Windex and my squeegee is starting to fall apart, you include that howler in a blockquote.

    Shame on you, James.

  2. Moe Lane says:

    My first thought when I saw this was “God doesn’t love the Republican party that much, to give us this wonderful gift”.

  3. mark says:

    VP Brokaw could immediately be tapped to give the SOTU speeches. His voice is much better to listen to than Kerry’s.

  4. Tom says:

    Now we know the press is impartial. Right?

    So it is reasonable that people would believe the rumors that Brokaw would replace Cheney on the ticket.

    Another illustrative example of our press….

  5. Kate says:

    “Now we know the press is impartial. Right?”

    You don’t suppose this might have been the underlying message of the article? It is the WSJ….

  6. DeltaDave says:

    “He has zero experience running anything.”

    ooops, I sorry I distracted for a minute. Are we talking about Mr. Kerry or Mr. Kennedy….or someone else?

    Speaking of Mr. Kennedy, any chance he would be JFK’s veep?

  7. James Joyner says:

    True–a problem with all Senators. At least he’s been a committee chair. Plus, he ran a PT boat in Vietnam!

    Kerry-Kennedy would be a dream ticket, to be sure. Unfortunately, the 12th Amendment precludes electors from choosing a president and veep from the same state.

  8. delta dave says:

    Maybe one of them could claim NY as their acutal home state. NY seems to accept prima facia as a resident anyone who want to run for office.

    kerry is the junior,…he probably would have to move to NY…right? How does he feel about the Yanks, Jets, Giants, etc. I makes all the difference in the world, you know.

  9. Moe Lane says:

    “Kerry-Kennedy would be a dream ticket, to be sure.”

    For whom? 🙂

  10. Paul says:

    Republicans obviously.