Friday, March 21, 2008

whither John Edwards?

With news this morning that NM Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Obama this morning, and the Obama campaign is planning on rolling out more endorsements between now and April 22nd's Pennsylvania primary "to create a sense of momentum," one wonders what happened to erstwhile candidate and number one endorsement get ex-Sen. John Edwards.

After Edwards' Iowa slingshot strategy didn't pan out, he completely dropped off the radar after a dissipointing finish in South Carolina, the state of his birth. For a couple weeks, Clinton and Obama tried their best to channel Edwards, and to woo him to their side. After Super Tuesday, however, they largely forgot about that and seemed to tack to the center.

Since neither are able to put the other away, Edwards could still be a kingmaker...or at least an elder statesman. Why wasn't Edwards stepping in when things got nasty between the two in February and March, telling them to be grown-ups, like he did in the debates? Why didn't Edwards take a stand on Florida or Michigan, to force a redo? Or Edwards could have offered to mediate the stalemate between Obama and Clinton in May/June, to avoid a convention floor fight or credentials committee battle.

During the campaign, Edwards showed his neutrality between the two by attacking both, although he did attack Clinton more. However, that was necessary since he was selling himself (this time) as the change-ist candidate and amazingly the first serious woman candidate was the establishment candidate. So why hasn't Edwards done any of those things and why doesn't it seem like he will do any of those things?

To me, the only logical answer is that he doesn't want to piss off the nominee if they win, or the loser if the nominee ends up losing to John McCain. Still, I think Edwards could get whatever cabinet post he wanted (i.e. Sec. of Labor, HHS, AG) in exchange for endorsing whomever it was. And if he went the mediator route, he would be sure not to either Clinton or Obama mad at him. The non-logical answer is that he is pissed off a both for ignoring him post-Super-Tuesday, and he doesn't think either of them would be nearly as good as he would be as president.

But let's face facts, John Edwards is never going to be the Democratic nominee for president. You don't get to run three times, unless you want to be an also-ran. Even Joe Biden learned not to run between 1988 and 2008. So Edwards' options are to be a cabinet level dude in a Democratic administration, run for Governor or Senator of North Carolina next cycle (the filing deadline was March 3rd), or leave politics and become the Al Gore of Poverty (which is something he genuinely seems to care a lot about). So far however, he hasn't made moves to do any of those three.

It must be tough to get very close to being a presidential nominee, especially when it seems like a good year to be a member of your party. It takes a lot of hard work and planning to get even that close, and I understand his disappointment and frustration. He could have made the most of a bad situation, however, he doesn't seem ready to do the necessary things.

And it is too bad. Democrats need a talented politician who has a nose for what the public mood is in their upper echelon.

1 comment:

How Insane Is John McCain? said...

Whither John Edwards indeed?