Monday, March 24, 2008

What's John Edwards Waiting For?

Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama last week raises the question of why the leader of the also-rans is being coy about making a choice

"John Edwards," Politico reports, "is unlikely to endorse either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton before the nomination is decided, according to interviews with several members of the former candidate's inner circle."

Why not? At this stage, the Democrats need all the clarity they can get. Despite his long-standing ties to the Clintons, Richardson made his announcement last week--a hard choice, but he made it.

Edwards has been courted with visits from Obama and Clinton, and he knows how helpful his endorsement might be, particularly in the upcoming North Carolina primary.

Why would he hold back? None of the possible reasons do him credit or even make much sense. Surely he knows enough about the two candidates to make a choice, and holding out will not encourage them at this point to take up his war on poverty any more than they already have.

Is he angling to be a kingmaker at the convention? Not likely, all but a handful of his pledged delegates are gone, and none would take direction from him in any case. Does he want to be sure to back the winner and end up in the cabinet, perhaps as Attorney General? Bad strategy. They don't give medals for showing up after the battle. Or is he just planning to become the 21st century Harold Stassen, a perennial Presidential candidate?

Jonathan Prince, Edwards’ former deputy campaign manager, thinks his man has clout, asserting "that before Ohio and Texas, the campaigns told me that the most popular Democrat in Ohio was John Edwards. And he was tied for the most popular Democrat in Texas. I would imagine that what was true in Ohio is true in Pennsylvania, too.

“One candidate is trying to show he’s got it wrapped up. I think John Edwards would help to do that. The other candidate is trying to show that things are breaking her way. I think John Edwards would help to do that also.”

Most of all, by choosing now he would set an example for his party to encourage settling their squabbles sooner rather than later to unite against the possibility of another Republican in the White House. John Edwards has dedicated himself to bringing together the two Americas. Is it too much to ask him to do something for the two Democratic parties?


Larry Jones said...

Hello, it's March. The convention is six months away. Keep your shirt on.

Liza said...

Only two possibilities:
1. Edwards wants a job and does not want to endorse the wrong one. He thinks it is too close to call. So he adopts the neutral position of a party elder and hopes that it works.
2. Edwards has other career plans and really does want to be a party elder, kind of like Al Gore.

Larry Jones said...

Liza - Or how about...

3. The profound disappointment of mounting something as all-consuming as a presidential bid only to be rejected by the very people he sought to lift up, together with Mrs. Edwards' very serious illness has led to his withdrawal from public life, perhaps temporarily, perhaps forever.

Anonymous said...

For John Edwards to endorse either of these candidates -- neither of whom has anything interesting to say about poverty, ending the occupation of Iraq, or surveillance of the American population in the name of "terrorism" -- would betray his supporters, and his own politics.

Why WOULD he endorse either of them? Because "the media" -- which scuttled first Howard Dean, then Edwards -- wants him to?

Liza said...

I'm sure that we will hear from John Edwards again. Despite being the distant third in the Democratic race this year, he has an immense amount of popular support and that is bound to re-invigorate him. The best way for him to advance his agenda is to be part of the next administration, assuming we elect a Democrat.