Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards Steps Aside. Obama Rises.

The news was a little too quick for my tastes, but not unexpected. Today John Edwards’ announcement that he was stepping aside narrowing the Democratic race for the presidential nomination to a field of two left me somewhat disappointed that we couldn’t take this to the convention, as John was saying, but I understand his reasons. I will always wonder, though, how Edwards really would have done in Texas.

Joe Trippi, Edwards’ senior advisor explained it so that I could perhaps receive this with more nodding acceptance in this article as quoted below:

“Every day we were looking for ways to break out against these two candidates ... It became clearer and clearer after South Carolina on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the press was really focused on Clinton and Obama that it was going to be tougher and tougher for us to break through. And contrary to what staff or pundits may say — the idea of playing the political game of kingmaker or spoiler never really appealed to him. In his mind it was a clear shot at the nomination or nothing.”
It appealed to me, but I can see that if you spend a year on the road in a grueling campaign, how settling for being a kingmaker at a brokered convention might not appeal to him when the prize is, after all, to be the one who is given the opportunity to set things aright in this country, and in the world. And maybe, as they say, Edwards found that given how things were going, he had already contributed more to the Democratic races than he was ever going to by staying in. If what I am hearing is right, Edwards has already done great things to keep the populist message to Democrats in the forefront, and had great influence over the evolving agendas of both Obama’s and Clinton’s campaigns.

So there’s that.

And now, with Edwards relegated to the sidelines, I find that I need to realign myself, and this blog, with another candidate. I can think of no one better to put my support behind than Barack Obama.

There is some thought that went into this. It goes all the way back to 2004 when I first saw this man give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. “What an odd name for a guy who speaks English so well,” was among my first thoughts about him. He really wowed the convention, and he impressed the H-E double hockey sticks out of me. I commented to friends that this was a guy to watch.

Fast forward to this past year and the debates. I began to see that of the top tier candidates on the stage, Barack Obama most closely approached my guy’s political and social positions, including, but not restricted to, his vow not to take contributions from corporate PACs, a promise that Hillary Clinton eschewed.

I see Barack Obama as one who is still untainted by insider DC politics. Most of his legislative experience has been in the Illinois state house and senate. Compare that to Hillary Clinton, someone who is very much associated with insider DC politics.

After all, isn’t it all about Change?

And finally, I am one of the many who was very much taken aback by the “over the top” attacks that have recently been waged by the Clinton campaign, our ex-president being in the forefront of that onslaught. Recent key endorsements by Senators Kerry and Kennedy also did not go unnoticed by me.

I have been fascinated by how the pundits are spinning this. Some say that Edwards split the “White vote” that would have been evenly divided between Clinton and Obama, therefore this move by Edwards will not be affecting the campaigns of either candidate. Time Magazine’s Joe Klein offers the most astute observations, I think (maybe because I agree with them) that Obama has the most to gain from an Edwards withdrawal because Edwards himself more often than not campaigned against the things that are most associated with Hillary Clinton: “the old Washington Democratic establishment that he believes got too close to the corporations in the '90s.” In recent debates, Edwards more often than not found common ground with Obama, and less with Clinton.

So those are my reasons for taking up the Obama standard (note the new campaign banner on the left side of this blog).

But what will Edwards do? He has not endorsed either candidate, although Obama has himself voiced what I have noted above, that they have a common agenda, and has all but claimed the support of former Edwards adherents. My guess is that it will fall one of two ways: he will simply not endorse the campaigns of either, leaving each of us to decide on our own who to support – a not totally unlikely notion. Or he will endorse Obama’s campaign.

If John Edwards comes out in favor of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, I will be very, very surprised.


Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

I think Edwards droppin out may have one of thre outcomes. hook, line and sinker.åç

Hal said...

In case you are wondering what all that means, I looked. The guy is a Black libertarian. My God, now African-Americans are reading Ayn Rand?

Tony said...

Thanks for saving me the wasted time of looking - or might it be entertaining?

TexasSusan said...

My God, now African-Americans are reading Ayn Rand?

Only those who are taking high school sophomore English. People who don't get over Ayn Rand by 18 years old should be kept in high school indefinitely.

Hal said...

Tony, it is definitely worth the read. It so much reminds me of the dialectic we used to hear back in the sixties. But now, instead of abandoning the two party system for socialist or communist party ideals the rallying point is the party of Ron Paul.

Politics make strange bedfellows.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Ron Paul but it's truly shocking how the media and party elites have completely airbrushed him out of the picture, just like Stalin used to manipulate photographs in order to "disappear" loyal comrades who had become unpersons. When Guiliani gave his I'm-outta-here! speech they asked him if he'd called Ron Paul as he did with the other candidates, and he said no. Much the same thing happened to Edwards and they finally beat him down.

On the other hand, it's hard not to luxuriate in a little schadenfreude over Guiliani's and Thompson's withdrawals. Hey, those Voodoo Dolls really work!

tammy said...

Unfortunately, it's a popularity contest being run by the media, which is just one of the reasons why Edwards jumped ship. I still have NO idea who I want to vote for. I'm not too sure about Obama, he just doesn't have enough experience to run a, he's all about "change" (he stole that from Edwards since he saw it actually elicited positive response from the listeners) however, isn't he the one that has hired like 1/2 of Bill Clintons Advisor's? On the other hand.. Hillary wouldn't be much of a change either, I believe 100% that during Bills term, SHE was the one in we've already had her once. I want a REAL President! I'm going to wait to see if Edwards actually endorses anyone.

Hal said...

That was my thought, Tammy, but when it looked like that wasn't going to happen for awhile, I felt I had to play "What would John do?" and came up with Obama. This was not only for me to have an anchor once more, but given the fact that early voting for the March primary is now just nine days away, I felt I needed to come to a decision and see if I could stick with it for awhile.

I did and I can.

Ed Bacchus said...

Consider joining a group of bloggers who support the Senator: