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Presidential or Not, Here They Come

Jan
20
2004

One of my relations, a Republican, predicted at Thanksgiving, no less, that the final Democratic presidential ticket would be John Edwards and Howard Dean with Edwards as top dog. She quickly added that, of course, it wouldn’t matter – Bush was getting re-elected – but she does have something of a track record in these things.
At the time Edwards wasn’t getting anywhere near the attention he’s gotten since last night when he came in second in the Iowa caucuses. So I was dutifully ignoring him. It’s a little more than a month away but the California primary has felt like it was over before it even started and Dean was winning the state. That’s changed, a little bit. Californian are more worried about housing, money, and budgets – all of which will appear in various forms on the March ballot — to get too excited about whose gonna run against George Bush. Besides, didn’t we just vote?
On top of that, Edwards is a trial lawyer and in Northern California tech circles – and some inside-the-Beltway arenas – trial lawyers are loved as much as uh, small rodents.
But Edwards – like Republican California Senator Tom McClintock’s refusal to bow out of Total Recall – raised his profile just by sticking around. His second-place finish was enough to get CNN to air, at some length, a very good speech Edwards gave in Des Moines last month. He’s the first candidate I’ve heard talk about the two Americas we all know are out here. And, of course, he’s had lots of experience helping one avenge the other. Let’s face it, in a Wal-mart nation, lawyers like John Edwards are in charge of the ad hoc oversight of corporate America. In a growing economy but stagnating job market — that worries voters — Edwards is going to be able to use his litigation experience to his political advantage.
He’ll get lots more attention for his “Two Americas” speech; it was both smart and eloquent and true. That won’t be enough to carry him to victory in New Hampshire. Barring a miracle, that’s still Dean’s. But it’ll help in South Carolina where the Yankees are going to have to go up against Rev. Al Sharpton (black vote, core of the Democratic Party) and Wesley Clark (moderate Democrats, military guys, normally the kind of folks who would go for Kerry).
There has been some quiet talk of a “brokered convention” (possibly another case of ‘bloggers being ahead of everyone else). The Democrats haven’t had one in a quite some time – their primary process has made it all but impossible since the early 1970’s – but the party is so fracture these days, and each faction has a man in in the race, it’s looking more likely. Which, of course, is how you end up with Edwards and Dean shaking hands, putting themselves on the same ticket and going off to battle George Bush.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 11:02 AM | Permalink

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