Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Prodigal Father: Kerry Endorses Obama

As I've said here more than once, I've been an Edwards man myself. I like the guy's pounding of the corporations, taking up the mantra, if not quite the mantel, of "corporate greed" as the root of all evil. There is a lot to be said for that line of attack. John Edwards is the Howard Dean this round.

But now, with John Kerry endorsing Barack Obama today in South Carolina, Edward's birthplace, the corporation-backed middle-of-the-roaders are taking aim at the past and further isolating Edwards. I think Edwards' new fire-branding rhetoric makes the staid yankee Kerry uncomfortable, and to boot, Edwards is not currently holding public office. He is no longer a fellow senator.

Kerry does well to choose to endorse an active senator. That's his own best power play. Edwards can't do him any favors now, and no matter what, Obama can.

Back in late 2004, Bill Clinton only reluctantly campaigned for Kerry, right at the end, and so Kerry can leave the Clintons behind with a fairly clear conscience, even if she is a senator from a neighboring state. They can work together again, if need be, as fellow senators. And now, at least for a while, Kerry gets to seem like the prodigal father, the big guy who set Obama up on the national stage, something neither the Clintons nor Edwards ever did for him.

Many will say that endorsements are irrelevant or even harmful. But an endorsement for your candidate is plainly preferable to having that endorsement go to another candidate. A well-placed endorsement is just that much better.

The more cautious Kerry may feel Al Gore was wrong to endorse Howard Dean before the Iowa caucuses. If you carry the mantel, wait to pick not a firebrand but an energizing team player. And if you can be patient, wait to pick a winner, not necessarily THE winner but at least A winner. We'll see if pre-South Carolina is good timing for Obama in '08.


At 1/10/2008 10:59 AM, Blogger Lawrence said...

Here is the statement Edwards released soon after hearing of Kerry's endorsing Obama:

"Our country and our Party are stronger because of John's service, and I respect his decision. When we were running against each other and on the same ticket, John and I agreed on many issues. I continue to believe that this election is about the future, not the past, and that the country needs a President who will fight aggressively to end the status quo and change the Washington system and to give voice to all of those whose voices are ignored in the corridors of power."

I say, GO Edwards, GO!


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