It was John Kerry who was the problem with the Democratic ticket, not the VP nominee. People do not vote for Vice President, they vote for President, the one at the top of the ticket.
Exactly. I really think the VP role tends to be slightly overrated in Presidential elections. If people really paid attention to running mates, Dukakis or Dole probably would have picked up more votes than they did.
That's largely true, but VP picks can have some influence.
I think Bush might have been better off politically had he dumped Cheney in 2004. Cheney was picked because of his gravitas and perceived competence in 2000, something that Bush was seen as needing due to his reputation as a bit of a lightweight, with no foreign policy experience.
In terms of traditional politics, Cheney was a zero politically. He was from a 3-electoral-vote state that always votes Republican. He did more to solidify the base than bring in new voters.
Rightly or not, Cheney has become a liability politically, but as VP, he can't be dumped. I always thought he was more suited to appointed office than elected office.
As far as Kerry goes, he was the primary problem. It's so hard for me to respect a man who was calling for action against Iraq since 1997, loudly proclaiming the need to rid them of their WMDs, who then instantly caves in to the moveon.org people less than a year into the war and starts peddling the notion that the Bush administration caused the whole thing.
With leadership like that, we could never hope to accomplish anything positive. Kerry is fundamentally a very weak man, an enough voters perceived that to vote against him.
However, he did make a basic choice, in picking Edwards, that he would attempt to crack the south. He failed at that, and in retrospect, he would have had a better chance in doing better in the midwest, so a midwesterner would probably have been a better pick for VP. Edwards got him a big goose egg.