My gosh, people are wondering where the snark is now that John Edwards has dropped out of the race for president.
As regular readers know, I looked into the future back around December before the Iowa caucuses, and saw that Edwards was toast. My opinion was that Edwards supporters had far more in common with Obama than Hillary Clinton, but my prediction was not an opinion. People fussed and fought and called me a defeatist Democrat, but they were missing a key fact: I had seen the writing on the wall and was merely reading it aloud. I said I’d eat the crow if I were wrong, but I did so with complete confidence. I would eat no ravens.
The fact that Edwards has acknowledged the inevitable changes little else. The argument remains, and now the people in 22 states on Feb. 5 who supported Edwards must decide who will best fulfill the spirit of his campaign and his character.
That answer, to me and seemingly Edwards based on his own remarks, is clearly Barack Obama.
All that is left is to thank John Edwards for, despite carrying on longer than warranted, realizing that February 5th was simply an exercise in futility and that this was, indeed, a two-person race after all. And for running a pretty positive populist campaign which was full of good ideas, despite the fact that he never had the ability to carry them out. But many say that Obama and Clinton scrambled to co-opt his policies, which was a very good thing since they were mostly nice solid bread-and-butter grassroots liberal positions. Of course, I see Obama as recognizing the intrinsic good of Edwards policies, whereas it takes little to imagine Hillary glomming onto whatever the hell anybody tells her is the popular position. Come a real challenge, Hillary will crumble quicker than Obama. Count that as another one of my factual predictions.
John Edwards was a great candidate in the beginning of 2004 who ultimately failed to beat John Kerry, stand up effectively to Dick Cheney in debate, or bring in his home state. 2008 saw him going for the Democratic red meat full steam in order to distinguish himself from the other candidates, a move which called into question how sincerely he held these positions himself. An utterly undistinguished and quite cowardly single term in the Senate was the man’s only time in office, and it provided no foundation for his platform whatsoever. If John Edwards had a fatal flaw, it was this. The idea that Barack Obama was the inexperienced one was laughable. It was John Edwards whose record in politics was a complete waste of time, who wanted us to merely trust that he’d be effective if we’d only give him the highest office in the land.
Yes, Hillary and Barack had the dazzling advantages of being a woman and a black man, but they were also stronger candidates than Edwards. Were Edwards truly the powerhouse his supporters envisioned him being, he could have easily lulled voters away from the “risky” choices. In the end, Edwards was just as much a risk if not more.
So now here we are, with the race officially down to two choices, literally rather than figuratively. Edwards has avoided making any official endorsement, a choice that troubles me. Is he thinking of his career and the prospect of becoming AG under either candidate? He was rather unequivocal after Iowa that he saw himself and Obama as the candidates of change and Hillary as the status quo.
If Edwards is turning into a self-interested waffler the second he drops out, it doesn’t attest to his character. But it may be the one thing he does that benefits most his ambition.