Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Contrast in Losing

Two heavyweights, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani, get out of the ring today and leave behind different modes of fighting for the presidency and being beaten.

Edwards, who began his campaign in New Orleans a year ago, will apparently end it there and symbolically go to work building a house with Habitat for Humanity. He worked hard on the campaign trail, basing his claim to the nomination on an honorable Democratic tradition of fighting for the poor and dispossessed.

Giuliani, on the other hand, all smiles and guile, tried to ride the 9/11 wave that made him rich all the way to the White House, disdaining the early primaries and expecting to be anointed the Republican candidate with even less exertion than lackadaisical Fred Thompson, who at least showed up for the early contests.

Typically, Giuliani will trade in the fruits of his minimal effort by endorsing John McCain in return for who-knows-what if McCain gets to the White House. Edwards may eventually attempt to convert his delegates and supporters into leverage, but it will more likely be to push Clinton or Obama toward greater emphasis on the issues he raised.

Their personal stories are a contrast as well. Edwards made a run despite his wife's cancer and with her spirited support. Giuliani was brought down, in part, by revelations of his misuse of New York Police to run errands for his third wife-to-be while he was still married to his second.

Running for President is a brutal trial. Edwards will be carried out on his shield. Giuliani will leave without a scratch, except to his ego.

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