Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And Then There Were Three

Today's Michigan primary and Nevada Democratic debate effectively made both the Republican and Democratic races three person events.

Tonight's Michigan results made it a Republican One, Two, Three: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Father, that would be Comeback Senior Citizen McCain in New Hampshire. Son, that would be Mitt in Michigan. And the Holy Ghost? Why, that's Huckabee in Iowa, of course. And so it is the top three candidates, One, Two, Three.

Now, if only the Democrats would see the advantage of spreading things out like this. It's all coming down to South Carolina, really, the state in which John Edwards was born. If he doesn't win there, he is effectively out as a presidential candidate, just as Romney, the prodigal son, might have effectively been out if he'd come in a weak second tonight in his boyhood state of Michigan.

The Republicans have done what they could to sustain suspense. It would help the Democrats to do the same by voting for John Edwards in South Carolina. Nevada would be nice, but South Carolina is the Edwards firewall. We still need Edwards in the race, partly because there's a crowd over at the GOP. And no matter how many headlines they can muster, Hillary and Barack will start to look a little lonely in late January or February if it's just the two of them up there on the stage.

I watched the Democrats "debate" in Las Vegas tonight (sadly minus Kucinich, who got axed at the last minute). It's the first "debate" I've seen since 2004. And really, these things are more collective and even collaborative interviews than they are classic debates. There was more making nice tonight than there was divisiveness or even stubborn differentiation. Yet we needed all three (and Kucinich would not have hurt, which shows that the Democrats really still do need at least three candidates to carry forward their aura of diversity).

Edwards offers a gutsy, emotional call to populist arms the other two can't match. We need him to uphold the populist wing of the Democratic Party at least 'til spring.


At 1/15/2008 9:10 PM, Blogger Lawrence said...

I sent this comment to Brian Williams' at MSNBC, the gist of which I hope will be forwarded to others at the network:

There are many of us who may well be voting for one of the "top three" candidates who still would prefer, this early in the year, that Rep. Kucinich be included in the debates. He has an important role to play in challenging the others on central and essential issues. Plus, the legal fight to exclude him makes NBC look like it, the network, is deciding whose campaigns are no longer relevant or viable.


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