Wednesday, May 14, 2008

John Edwards: Fence? What Fence?

My main man, John Edwards has had a fence to sit on since he pulled out of the presidential primary process in February. And there he sat as the weeks dragged on as the mud was slung across it from Clinton to Obama and then back again.. A hint dropped here and there about how Elizabeth Edwards favored Clinton’s health care plan. But Edwards stayed neutral.

I thought I detected a shift when he came out earlier in the week suggesting that continued internecine angst was okey-dokey unless it was going to be hurting the party in the general election. Words echoing those of Obama surrogates who bemoaned Clinton’s slash-and-burn win-at-any cost sort of politics.

But now, as of this afternoon, John Edwards is officially off the fence and has embraced the candidacy of my other main man, second-best main man, Barack Obama.

I just never thought he would ever endorse the Clintons. Sure they are speaking on the same populist level as Edwards often did, but I never bought that their message was really very sincere. Edwards could do populism because that was him. Hillary Clinton does populism because it makes her sound like the salt of the earth, and not a Wellesly alumnus.

Now what does this do for Barack Obama? Edwards has delegates but aren’t they bound to their candidate? I think so. So this isn’t about delegates, this is about getting others off the fence. Uncommitted superdelegates. Uncommitted labor unions. Edwards, as I recall, has the endorsement of the United Steel Workers and the United Mine Workers, and since he suspended his campaign, the unions haven’t made any commitments to either Clinton or Obama. Is this a signal to them who they should now endorse? If so, I am wondering whether the West Virginia vote would have gone any differently had Edwards made his endorsement a little earlier.


But that’s another story.

This is only good news for Obama’s campaign. The party is starting to unite. Will this provide a catalyst for Clinton to end her campaign?


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