Wednesday, January 30, 2008


John Edwards is calling it quits in his bid for President.

Edwards planned to announce his campaign was ending with his wife and three children at his side. Then he planned to work with Habitat for Humanity at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project Musicians' Village, the adviser said.

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.

So it has ended - at least until the convention. I'll be shocked if he doesn't try to get on as someone's running mate. I personally think that he and Jimmy Carter ought to stick to Habitat for Humanity. I'd think more highly of them if they did.

One other thing that the article pointed out (albeit quite subtly) was that Edwards ran as a moderate Southern Democrat last time, but noted that this time he was much more liberal "progressive":

Edwards burst out of the starting gate with a flurry of progressive policy ideas—he was the first to offer a plan for universal health care, the first to call on Congress to pull funding for the war, and he led the charge that lobbyists have too much power in Washington and need to be reigned in.

The ideas were all bold and new for Edwards personally as well, making him a different candidate than the moderate Southerner who ran in 2004 while still in his first Senate term. But the themes were eventually adopted by other Democratic presidential candidates—and even a Republican, Mitt Romney, echoed the call for an end to special interest politics in Washington.

I would like to point to two things that this very generous reporter has said. First of all, was the statement that Edwards was "a different candidate than the moderate Southerner who ran in 2004." This is true. His campaign was much different this time. He ran on the moderate Southern Democrat platform his first time out of the gate, but it also shows his duplicity, because at the same time that he was running as a "moderate Southerner" he was racking up a scorecard in the Senate as the nation's second most liberal Senator - second only to Senator Kerry. That means that he was MORE liberal than Senator Clinton or Senator Kennedy. Try to get your brain around that one.

Secondly, and using this last statement as a springboard, I would like to point out that these thoughts were not "new" to Edwards at all. Remember he was the second most liberal Senator in the Senate in his one term in office. It is a rare thing for people to change - even with great will power. The ideas and habits that we have don't radically change (barring someone getting transformed by the power of Jesus Christ) in 40 years let alone 4 years. Edwards' change of message came because he felt that it was politically expedient.

I bear Senator Edwards no ill will. He is a very nice person. He has graciously responded to some of my more blistering communications with his office when he was Senator. But I absolutely don't want him representing me in government ever again, and so I am glad that he is, for the moment, out of the race.

I hope that he will go home and enjoy the time that he has remaining with his wife and continue helping the people in the Gulf to rebuild their lives.

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