Remembering John Edwards' Experience and How That Worked Out:
Let us remember, as others have, the full-bore attack by Republicans back in 2004 on the alleged lack of "experience" by John Kerry's pick for vice president, John Edwards:
Bill Frist, July 7, 2004 Washington Times: "From an experience level, there's going to be a lot of the on-the-job training, potentially, if he were to ever serve as vice president."
Chuck Grassley, same: "In the Senate four years - and that is the full extent of public life. No international experience, no military experience - you can imagine what the advertising is going to be next year."
Grassley released this statement on the announcement of Sarah Palin as VP nominee: "Gov. Palin has a remarkable record of accomplishment in her personal life as well as public life. She's stood for principle over party and has record-breaking support in her state for it. She's demonstrated strength of character when faced with adversity." Frist, so far, has not commented on Palin.
Trent Lott, July 8, 2004, New York Times: "The very idea they would maintain that being on the Intelligence Committee for four years would qualify him in a national security-foreign policy sense is ridiculous. That is a very slim reed." Like Frist, Lott doesn't need John McCain's good graces, so he hasn't gone all Grassley on Palin.
President Bush in July 2004 on the difference between John Edwards and Dick Cheney: "Dick Cheney can be president. Next."
Dick Cheney, October 5, 2004 Vice Presidential Debate: "It's a very significant responsibility when you consider that at a moment's notice you may have to take over as president of the United States and make all of those decisions. It's happened several times in our history. And I think that probably is the most important consideration in picking a vice president, somebody who could take over."
Apparently, that consideration bar is pretty damn low.
Now the point here is not the hypocrisy of the right. That's just a given. It's that one of the reasons for the attack on Edwards was that Republicans were shitting themselves that Kerry had chosen the smooth-talking, good-looking man of the people. Bush's camp even predicted (in that raising expectations way) that the choice would give the Democrats a 15-point lead initially in the polls.
The point here is "How did that work out?" Edwards, in the end, had little or no effect on the election. He elicited excitement and wrath at first because, although better-known nationally than Palin was when she was chosen by McCain, he was a fairly unknown quantity (there was even talk about how now he'd be vetted more by the media). He was meant to be a complement to the experienced, older Kerry, a reverse Bush-Cheney, if you will.
The problem with all the hand-wringing over how the choice of Sarah Palin shows up the inexperience of Barack Obama is it's a distraction. The difference is easy. Barack Obama was chosen by voters and delegates after months of primaries and caucuses. Sarah Palin was chosen by John McCain alone. In other words, say what you will about comparable experiences, but millions of people looked at Obama's experience and said, "Yeah, him."