Kerry-Edwards may send surrogates - if so, may one of them please be Teresa Heinz Kerry; she's a lot more exciting, entertaining and interesting than her dull hubby - and they may make pitches through videotaped appeals at fund-raisers, but we shouldn't count on seeing much, if anything, of the huggy hair bears.
State Democratic leaders bravely contend that Kerry's selection of Edwards, a North Carolinian, as his veep choice will put Kentucky in play. They say that with a fellow Southerner on the bottom of the ticket, Kentucky's conservative Democrats will be able to more easily swallow the idea of voting for a "Massachusetts liberal" at the top, like following a swig of a bitter Irish beer with a Southern Comfort chaser. But Republicans say these conservative Dems will have to be bombed before they buy that line; the GOP will convince these right-of-center Dems that despite his beauty, Edwards is every bit the liberal beast that Kerry is.
The preceding assessment of what kind of campaign Kerry-Edwards will wage in Kentucky and the conclusion that it will be token at best is based not just on what I have read and heard from print and broadcast media reporters and pundits around Kentucky but also what I have learned from none other than the state Democratic Party headquarters.
I'm a campaign yard sign collector. Every presidential election I make sure I get one sign each from the Democratic and Republican campaigns, along with any bumper stickers and buttons they may have. I started doing this 44 years ago when my dad was on a business trip to Chicago at the time that city was hosting the 1960 Republican National Convention and brought me a Nixon button. (Mom had wished he had gone to Los Angeles where the '60 Democratic convention was being held and brought her a Kennedy button, but that would have been too much to ask of her staunch Republican hubby.)
In an effort to get my 2004 collection started, I recently called the state Democratic headquarters and asked for any Kerry or Kerry-Edwards yard signs and/or bumper stickers they might have. Before placing the call, I was trying to figure out how much I would spend. In talking to the woman who handles campaign materials, I received good news and bad news: the good news was that the signs and stickers would cost nothing; the bad news was that there was next to nothing to buy.
The woman did say that the state party had developed some "Kerry for Kentucky" materials, but she said it was too expensive to print many of them. She said that the Kerry-Edwards campaign and the DNC likely would not be sending any of their signs, stickers or buttons to Kentucky because they are saving them for the "states where they believe they have a better chance of winning."
In the meantime, the woman said that Kentuckians wanting Kerry-Edwards campaign stuff can get it off the Internet from any number of campaign sites.
So let it be said that signs - or lack of them - point to the Kerry-Edwards campaign blowing off Kentucky.