Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards Signs Off

Today John Edwards will exit the presidential race. He will announce his leaving the race the way he announced his candidacy, in New Orleans speaking about poverty. Edwards ran a campaign about what America could be and one that relentlessly focused on individual Americans and issues.
He moved Obama and Hillary left on Iraq, towards withdrawal and forced a debate on comprehensive health care. He was the first visible mainstream politician to highlight the role corporations and special interests have played in corrupting government. For all these reasons we were lucky to have him and I am sad to see him leave the race.

It doesn't make much gut-level sense for him to have left. He has public funding so staying in wouldn't entail more fundraising. He is on the ballots so he may still get votes. Absentee voters already have voted for him. He certainly would have gotten Super Tuesday delegates and he has little political future in NC in the next few years.

Why, then, did he drop out? A few possibilities:
  • There was a backroom deal--one of the other candidates (probably HRC) promised him a prize if he dropped out pre-Super-Tuesday.
  • The internal polls for ST show him getting a very marginal result and would undermine the power of his endorsement.
  • He thinks this will help him in the job-in-the-administration sweepstakes
What jobs make sense for him in a dem administration?
  • VP--Unlikely but he was good in 2004
  • Attorney General--He was a career attorney and this would be his best venue for holding corporations accountable.
  • Sec. of Labor--This is an underpowered position but Labor is friendly towards him and he them. Oh, and what else was he going to do 2008-12?
  • Supreme Court Justice Nominee--This is the ultimate prize. Again, as a career attorney he isn't much different than Chief Justice Roberts who was only a judge for a couple years.

In conclusion, though he was over-rehearsed and slightly too pathos-driven for my taste he brought something important to American politics and I am genuinely sad to see him go.

UPDATE: I just saw this post on Obama's new tack.

From The Huffington Post, excerpts from speech Obama will give in Denver today:

It's time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him in voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don't like; and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed. [...]

We need to offer the American people a clear contrast on national security, and when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party, that's exactly what I will do. Talking tough and tallying up your years in Washington is no substitute for judgment, and courage, and clear plans. It's not enough to say you'll be ready from Day One - you have to be right from Day One.

Wow. It's going to be a great debate thursday.


At 1/30/2008 , Blogger BZ said...

I already voted absentee for Edwards in next week's New York primary. So I guess this makes me 0-for-3, in the three presidential primaries I've voted in, on voting for a candidate who is still in the race at the time of my primary. 2012 should break the streak, since I assume I'll be voting for the incumbent Democratic president, who is likely to be uncontested.


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