Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm a John Edwards Man, Myself

Four years ago, in late 2003, I was already signed up to go to Iowa to work for Howard Dean. Dean was, in December of that year, at the apogee of his popularity and appeal. He was on the cover of Rolling Stone, even though he said he was a politician, not a rock star. Dean was treated like a rock star that night he came in third in Iowa, and he still is.

Back then, as the winter of '03-'04 approached, I thought John Edwards was just a smooth-talking pretty boy. I preferred Dean's scrappier, Harry Trumanesque, street-fightin' posture. Edwards was not my man, but then neither was John Kerry.

Go back another four years, to 2000. Al Gore briefly considered picking Edwards for his running mate. Instead, Gore chose Joe Lieberman, and the rest is sad history. If Gore had chosen Edwards, I think Edwards would be running for president this year as well, but as Vice President. It turns out Leiberman was a horrible choice for VP, and it had as much to do with Gore's defeat as anything else. If Gore had chosen another young, gutsy Southerner, as Clinton had done when he picked Gore in 1992, I think the Gore/Edwards ticket would have won. With two dedicated, fired-up Southerners on the ticket, both Florida and Tennessee might have gone for Gore, easily taking the election without any interference from the courts, Floridian or Supreme.

Edwards is a more compassionate, more graceful and more nuanced speaker than either Clinton or Obama, and personal riches aside, he is a populist, not a paper-pusher. Clinton and Obama are senators at heart. They come across as senators. Edwards is a man of the people, for the people. I think he alone of the three puts people above policy, and that resonates with me.

Newsweek has a big profile of Edwards this week, suggesting he still can take Iowa. As we've learned, Iowans like nice, and Edwards is Mr. Nice Guy in that state, especially in its rural nooks and crannies, the ones that killed the Dean campaign (our orange Deaniac caps were like a cancer of carpetbaggers to the cautious, insular heartland people of Iowa). Edwards has the right tone to take Iowa or at least come in a strong second.

And if he does that, then this campaign is a no lose situation for him. Even if he is not the nominee or the VP pick, he'll be in the top three for a cabinet seat, and that would be a good thing.


At 12/30/2007 10:33 PM, Blogger Lawrence said...

Those of us who live in late primary states have to get our foots/feet in the door in the early states, it seems to me. I have friends in Iowa, and so I just sent this ABN post as an endorsement of John Edwards. Here's what I said to them as an intro to the post:

Hi Friends,
Since by March my vote in Texas may not count for anything, I forward this to you, one of several takes on John Edwards (and Iowa) at my blog, "A Better Nation." All three of the top contenders are decent candidates, but I asked myself, who would I most want to have talking to me from the Oval Office in a time of need? Clinton and Obama came up as capable but shrill, packaged, not really inspiring, much less heroic. I suppose it turns out that, of the three, I think John Edwards would be the most heroic and comforting.

I hope things go well on Thursday.


At 1/26/2012 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever looked back and realized how ridiculous your support of Edwards was?

A man who was cheating on his wife DURING a presidential run?

You could easily have read the man's heart before all the news came out, just by looking at his senate votes. The man voted like a Republican on every issue except environment and labor. (and yes, environment and labor are important). He was also obviously salesman-slick. Those types should never be trusted.

You were charmed by him. As were all the others who chose him.

Good thing he lost or dropped out.


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