Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Ballad of John Edwards

Funny that Marc should post a hit on John Edwards today. In thinking about how the campaign between Clinton and Obama shook out over the months since Iowa, I see John Edwards more and more as as tragic figure in the 2008 election cycle.

John Edwards' message all year heading into Iowa and New Hampshire was that he was the fighter. He was going to fight poverty, and fight corporations for a better life for the rest of America. Yet for whatever reason he could never make his message stick with voters and John Edwards' was forced to suspend his campaign after the early contests.

I for one think his exit was too early. Edwards wouldn't have won the nomination if he had stayed in but think of how his message and indeed in many ways his brand have been co-opted by Hillary Clinton. Hillary entered the primary season as the the "experience" candidate in a change year. The change versus experience argument played strongly into Obama's hands, and left Edwards with no real position to be in. Yet as the race wore on and Clinton began losing constests after Feb. 5th she began to pivot away from being "ready on day one" to being the candidate that's going to fight for the little guy. In fact, her coalition of voters were the very folks that Edwards claimed. Yet for whatever reason Edwards never passed the smell test with the electorate, and never got a chance to do the distance. Now he is left pseudo-endorsing neither candidate, waiting to see what his next gig might be.

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