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Location: Verdi, Nev, United States

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What happened to Edwards, and what's it mean?

"The biggest mystery in politics," I heard someone say in 2004, "is how George Bush gets people to vote for so many things that will hurt them."

I'm not going to slide off into a Bush bash here, but it's true: Time after time, the neo-GOP has convinced people to accept ideas and policies that clearly, on the basis of any analysis at all, will be bad for them. If you're wondering where the middle class has gone, check under that pile of misrepresentations and half-truths out behind the White House. I think it's buried there.

Challenging that mystery this morning, though, is how Nevada overlooked John Edwards so completely in the caucuses.

I'm fine with Barack Obama, and I can do all right with Hillary Clinton, though I predict the amount of actual change she'll bring will be measured in fractions of a millimeter. A small part of me would like to see her in office just because it would discomfit so many people I like to see discomfited, but it's possible that's not the best basis on which to pick a president. Obama might do more, at least at first, but he's nearly as wired into the system as the Clintons and eventually Reality is bound to set in.

Edwards seemed like an attractive alternative for those who can't tolerate the Republiclones and worry about John McCain (listen carefully when he speaks. The number of mispronunciations seems to be growing by the day). He's appealing in person, worries about the right things and has some non-standard ideas about solving the same old problems politicians have been promising to solve in the same old ways for decades.

And yet in the caucus, he pulled 4 percent of the vote.

What the hell is wrong with this state? I didn't expect anything from the Republicans (and got it, too. I mean, Mitt Romney? Do you people do any reading at all?). The notion that only four out of 100 non-Bush voters would swing to Edwards, though, is weird, scary and sad all at the same time. It means the packaging really is more important than the product (not that that's news, but I always hope), and that when it comes to seeking solutions for what they perceive, accurately or not, as our Big Problems, voters will still take the Easy Path. Don't tell us how we can fix things, just tell us how you'll fix them for us.

I could be reading too much into the results from a still-fairly-insignicant state, but here's what I think: 2008 is not a lock for the Democrats, and whatever changes, nothing much is going to change.

16 Comments:

Blogger Reed said...

I was one of the 4% and feel strongly that Edwards can be a great President. I think the problem he faced came from one of his strengths - his lack of big money backing him. In the last few weeks, we all have been bombarded with ads for Obama & Clinton on TV, in mailers, in the papers and, of course, on the telephone. The Edwards campaign did not have the finances to match this so I am afraid it was a case of "out of sight - out of mind". To many voters did not take the time to learn that Edwards has so much compassion for people and has the drive to deliver on the issues that he campaigns so strongly for. Edwards would make a great president. He would truly bring "change". Oh, there is that word again. It is better to say he would bring a "shift" to the way things are done in the country. And it would be a good "shift".

9:58 AM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

I think John Edwards was unpopular for three (3) main reasons:

1) He's a trial lawyer (and you know what Shakespeare said about them) *grin*

2) On economics, he was the "do as I say - not as I do" candidate. (his new huge mansion on many, many acres was beyond the pale). Oh, and its not a working farm either - in case you were wondering.

3) His persona - whether fair or not - is a phony as Mitt Romney's IMHO.

10:54 AM  
Blogger madwufat said...

its unfortunate that edwards is not electable, but he isnt.. its disturbing to think that clinton may not be a real change but has the power if she has the will, and obama has the will but possibly not the washington clout....still, it will be clinton or obama, and i agree, watch out for mclain...

11:34 AM  
Blogger mindervillain said...

"Obama might do more, at least at first, but he's nearly as wired into the system as the Clintons and eventually Reality is bound to set in."

Cory, I realize it's your blog and you can say anything you want, but I'm curious to know what "Reality" you're plugged into that is contradicting virtually everything known or believed about Obama?

Edwards would have been my third choice, but he is certainly as "wired into the system" (not that I'm sure I understand what that means, unless we're both flashing back to the sixties) as anyone else who'se served in the U.S.Senate, except that his trial lawyer skills for obfuscating and exaggerating are even more strongly developed, as well as practiced, than are his opponents'.

If you believe, as well you might, that Obama's simply stringing us along, then you should simply condemn him, not give him some sort of backhanded compliment. But if Obama's for real, as many of us believe he is, then he represents a genuine departure from politics as usual, and should be acknowledged if not honored for that, even by those who would defend "politics as usual."

By the way,I was not demeaning the skills of trial lawyers in general, or of John Edwards' in particular. I would willingly demean the civil and criminal justice systems that make those skills necessary, but that's for another argument.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

I think Kerry picked Edwards to gain advantage in the SE. There was nothing there 4 yrs ago and there isn't anything there now. He doesn't come across to me as sincere. He just doesn't turn up my wick.

He's opposed to both coal power and nuclear power. That's all fine, but something has to be done and it isn't going to be sufficient if he opposes both. I'm not a fan of nuclear but I'd take it over coal. I don't mean to ignore renewables, it's just that no one is going to do anything meaningful with wind/solar.

I am concerned about his ability to lead if his wife's cancer doesn't go into remission. I don't think anyone could focus in that situation. It's a very real concern.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Fallondummy said...

Edwards told the truth and the truth doesn't win elections.

1:20 PM  
Blogger rosebud said...

among the people that bush got to vote for so many things that will hurt them was edwards.

1. he voted for bush's war.

2. he voted for the "reform" of bankruptcy.

fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice. . . we won't get fooled again. at least not until the republicans get another chance.

5:08 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

Cory wrote, "Time after time, the neo-GOP has convinced people to accept ideas and policies that clearly, on the basis of any analysis at all, will be bad for them."

I guess the grand assumption is that the collective IQ of voters can determine what might be good or bad for them.

News Flash: Most people don't think - much less analyze objective information.

5:25 PM  
Blogger MomDuLac said...

I am tired of hearing "trial lawyer" like it is automatically a bad phrase. Shakespeare was talking about all lawyers not just trial lawyers. Trust me, you want a good one when you need one. John Edwards is the only one of the three candidates that wasn't handed everything in life. He worked for it. He was the first not to accept big money, and the other two did - but now Obama doesn't. I believe Obama is as wired as the Clintons. This whole Obama mania reminds me of pegged pants in the 60's. He is just too cool.

5:40 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

I didn't mean to imply a personal rant against Edwards. I was merely pointing out his perceived weaknesses. I also have nothing per se against lawyers - they are officers of the court and deserve respect - although many don't feel the way I do about them including Shakespeare.

As far as Edwards speaking the truth, I suppose I'll refer to Bill Clinton (also a lawyer) and say it depends of your definition of the truth. One man's truth is another man's lie.

I still think a Clinton/Obama ticket would be tough to beat in a general election. McCain is not very popular with most repugs so they'll probably not show up to vote.

Disclosure: I have no vested interest in any candidate of any party. I am strictly a political observer. I don't vote. Period.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I know you are an observer but perhaps you missed the item in the news over the last few days involving MLK and LBJ. This would seem to indicate that the two candidates don't get along and therefore it would be unlikley they would pair up. If they did their vicious attacks through this long and drawn out primary season would be a detriment in the general election.

Secondly and in full disclosure I am an Edwards supporter, do you have something to substantiate your comment about Edwards involving "one man's truth being another man's lie"? I'd be interested if you meant this in general about all candidates or if you really believe this is specific to this one candidate.

Finally, about the attorney issue, you do realize all three of these Democratic candidate are all attorneys, right? Maybe that's why you don't vote.

7:58 PM  
Blogger tuzoner said...

I am very proud of our country - and the democratic party in particular - for having a woman and a black running for president.

Women today still makes 70 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same jobs and the black unemployment rate still hovers somewhere around 30 percent.

There is still a lot of work to do in this country (I lovingly call it a work-in-progress) to address the many social and economic disparities.

Having said that, Clinton and Obama will bury the hatchet during the convention if not before because it's in their self-interest to do so.

Another point: Ever notice how the repugs never seem to have the diversity of candidates like the dems do? There's a reason for it. Care to take a guess on why that is?

7:57 AM  
Blogger shawndoggy said...

point of clarification... up to 14 of every 100 could support edwards and he'd still get a zero. That's how the caucus works. I suspect that far more than 4/100 supported him as their first choice. Just not enough for viability.

4:57 PM  
Blogger ernie said...

The problem I see with Obama's "youth movement" is that he gets the nomination, and someone comes out with a new computer game the day before the general election. And his "youth movement" stays home to play the computer game and doesn't vote.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

We had one Edwards delegate at our caucus and that's because the Kucinych, sorry about the spelling, people moved over. He's a good candidate too, but I think people in this country can't hear his message because they see a midget with a tall beautiful wife.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Happy Camper said...

I supported John Edwards, even when I felt he could never get the nomination; I was proud to set in his " block" at our precinct. Lets face it, the man is articulate, intelligent, motivated,and of course the polls are going to call the shots, they always do. People don't make polls, polls make people. Our first chance at a President who might be able to undo the damage Bush has done, gone. As for the lawyer stuff, when the Bush admin gets through with this country we will need a darn good lawyer. Obama is a good man I am sure; but I don't think he is driving his own boat. It is okay to be a puppet if you know the strings are pulling the way you lean. He really thinks he is charge, that's the scary part, so I guess now I am for Hillary, shame Jon won't take second, hope he changes his mind on that.

8:17 PM  

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