Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama meets with Edwards

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Clinton has already met with Edwards to discuss a possible endorsement, and Obama was in North Carolina yesterday for a similar meeting.

(It's currently the top story at Memeorandum. Has it been that slow a weekend?)

As an Obama supporter (and a former Edwards supporter), I would like Edwards to endorse Obama. I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make at this point -- I think Edwards may have missed his opportunity to make a significant difference, though it is true that both Obama and Clinton have recently been addressing poverty, a key issue for Edwards -- but, in such a close race, a high-profile endorsement, and hence a major media event, could be just enough to tip the balance one way or the other, to push votes one way or the other, not least because Edwards is widely respected, especially among progressives who find Obama and Clinton too centrist (for lack of a better word) for their liking.

Still, as I put it last week, if it's so difficult for him to make a decision regarding whom to endorse, he might want to stay out of it altogether. Why re-insert himself into the race at this point? Why not wait to see who the nominee is, then back that nominee as enthusiastically as he can, then (hopefully) work with that nominee once he or she is president on the issues that matter most to him, such as poverty, health care, and global warming?

Why not stress that he respects and admires both Obama and Clinton, that each one would make a fine president, that each one is far preferable to McCain?

Edwards is still an important figure in the Democratic Party, and I hope he remains an important figure. Indeed, I hope he is able to contribute a great deal to the next presidency, be it Obama's or Clinton's. I just don't think now is a good time for him to try to influence the outcome of the race for the nomination.

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