Wednesday, January 30, 2008

John Edwards out

By Libby Spencer

I see Edward has already broken the news that John Edwards will withdraw from the race, so I'll so I'll skip most of the quotes and go straight to my reaction.

I'm sorry to hear this. Although he never built up enough steam to get his train rolling, he's been invaluable in injecting progressive issues into the debate. They say he plans to stay in NOLA to work on a Habitat for Humanity project.

With that, Edwards' campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago — with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden.

It's difficult to figure why Edwards campaign never took off with progressives. He was voicing our concerns and willing to buck the establishment to promote them. Certainly his failure to acheive any crossover momentum was partly driven the hateful media vendetta against him but his failure to energize 'the left,' including myself, always surprised me.

I never could quite put my finger on why I didn't see a champion for our cause in him. In retrospect, I have to think that in some part, it all went wrong when he allowed himself to be browbeaten by the right wing rage machine into firing Amanda and Melissa. I was really encouraged when he hired them and extremely disappointed when he let them go. It made it difficult to believe he could lead us, when he caved so quickly to the fringers. I think subconsciouly, I never quite got over it. I have a feeling, I'm not the only one. [via]

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)


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  • Gee...someone who blogs here got an awful lot of grief for suggesting this just this past weekend.

    Now who was that? I can't seem to recall...

    By Blogger Carl, at 10:18 AM  

  • I think his lack of support was just as superficial in nature as the support others got. It's all about image and not about who you hire or fire. Of course he's associated with a losing and frustrating campaign which doesn't help.

    As far as substance goes, I don't think he had less of it than his more successful competitors, but substance doesn't count.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:58 AM  

  • I think he has far more substance than Clinton and Obama, and I'm sad to see him go. He wasn't the sexy candidate, but he was surely the most progressive one.

    But now what happens? Where will his support go? And how will the new two-candidate race play out? One hopes without lingering bitterness, but I'm not so sure. And I wonder how it will play out here at The Reaction, where Hillary certainly has her admirers and her detractors. I've probably been more neutral than many of the co-bloggers on this, but I suppose I'll have to pick a side soon.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:16 PM  

  • LOL Carl. I read that post but refrained from criticizing although I disagreed. I wanted him to stay in to the end to keep the dialogue going. But honestly, I think the blogger debacle really did hold me back. Without it, I may have become a stronger supporter because I liked what he was saying.

    Unfortunately as Fogg points out, despite my hopes for something different this time, substance is not a factor in the race.

    Michael, I'm also sad to see him go and my gut reaction is that it will help Obama. If you look at the returns in FL, Edwards and Obama combined would have almost beat Clinton's numbers and she's the only one that campaigned there, despite her pledge not to do so. I think both of them are the anti-Hillary voters. I don't see how she'll get much bump from it.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 1:58 PM  

  • I suppose you're right, Libby. The issue for Obama, as Krugman and others have noted, is that he isn't terribly progressive on domestic issues. Where Edwards was promoting an unabashedly progressive agenda, Obama has situated himself as more of a uniter. He may be progressive on most of the issues that matter to us, but his campaign has focused more on his powerful persona than on his policy positions. But it's probably the case that most of Edwards's supporters find much more to like with Obama than with Clinton.

    If so, I think we're now at an incredible point not just in the race for the White House but in American history generally. Both the Democratic and Republican races are basically even. (With Huckabee the lone wild card left.)

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 2:30 PM  

  • It's going to be a historic election in many ways I think Michael.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 3:04 PM  

  • One interesting thing to note: Edwards said specifically he is "suspending" his campaign, not withdrawing, which means he gets to hang on to his delegates and conceivably pick up more if he reaches the right thresholds in any states.

    By Blogger Edward Copeland, at 4:45 PM  

  • Good catch Ed. I missed that nuance.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 5:44 PM  

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