Talk of another Edwards as VP: Interesting but remote

In a political season during which few surprises have really jumped up and bit me, I was rather taken aback to see U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mention Rep. Chet Edwards as a great choice as a vice presidential choice for Sen. Barack Obama.

The shock comes because I agree with Pelosi and secondly because Chet — a conservative Democrat from Waco, Texas, is the one and only national politician I personally know who would be able to spot me in a crowd and, not only know my name, but also seek me out and shake hands. That isn’t to say Chet and I are bosom buddies but I did have a great working relationship with him when I worked as a reporter in Central Texas.

Edwards is a very personable and pleasant individual. From what I recall, Edwards was on the fast track to be Speaker of the House and would hold the same right now had not Newtie Gingrich and the boys jumped in and placed a Republican majority there until the Dems recaptured it, somewhat, during the last election.

The conservatism in the political realm of Chet Edwards is evident in the fact that he represents a strongly Republican district which among its voters include Gee Dubya and Laura Bush out there on the “ranch” in Crawford.

But Edwards’ stances on issues likewise show the independence born of conscience. He leads the House subcommittee that funds the military and Department of Veterans Affairs thus he is strong on defense and veterans issues. He supported an amendment to protect the U.S. Flag from desecration — something I think isn’t necessary. Yet he considers school prayer a detriment to the separation of church and state.

Those who read this space know I have my problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs. But Chet has labored to see that veterans get the care they need and has consistently tried to steer the VA toward being a physician healing itself.

That Edwards has served nine terms in Congress also attests to his staff, to paraphrase former East Texan Rep. Charlie Wilson, “bringing home the bacon.” One may yammer on and on about congressional pork. But a little ham is rewarded with votes of thanks at the ballot box and it doesn’t hurt when Chet’s crew helps Grandma get her Social Security check or retired Sgt. Rock get his VA pension.

I don’t normally praise politicians much less care for them all that much. But I think Chet is a nice guy, very capable legislator and I have absolutely no doubt that Edwards would make a great vice president. And, yes if the need sadly came, I feel could step in and lead this country. Whether that happens or not, to me, sounds about as remote as Tranquility Bay. Yet one never knows. We shall see what happens during the latter part of August in Denver.

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