Monday, February 19, 2007

The Appeal of John Edwards

U.S. News and World Report has an interesting profile of John Edwards, former centrist Democrat and current Great Hope of the American left. Over the last several years I’ve watched Edwards evolve from mildly hawkish, free-trade supporting North Carolinian Senator to anti-war, protectionist hero – a change that actually appears more earnest than opportunistic.

In 2004, I supported Edwards over Kerry. Now, I disagree with many of the former Senator’s most staunchly held opinions. His “two Americas” theme has morphed from a message of hope to a message of populist insurgence. His stance on the war is practically neo-isolationist. And his policy solutions rely more on the heavy hand of government than the ingenuity of the people.

All that said, I actually prefer Edwards to Hillary Clinton. Yes, Clinton is more “centrist” and thus should be more appealing to my political leanings, but I just get the feeling that Clinton’s centrism is of the incremental, politically cautious variety – Bill Clinton’s worst instincts concentrated and magnified.

Edwards, on the other hand, is no mystery. The man is an unrepentant liberal willing to use boldness to tackle the big issues of poverty, healthcare, war and our economic future. I respect his force of vision … even as I disagree with many of his conclusions. I’d much prefer a president willing to stride forward to one who would crawl in circles. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

So while I seriously doubt I’d ever vote for Edwards in the general election, I refuse to discount his appeal or cast his opinions as generic leftism. There’s something there – something worth watching.

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Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

His campaign HQ is about a mile from me so I volunteered for a day. I have to tell you, up close the charisma magic didn't work on me. And he's veering too far left for me.

I'll undoubtedly vote Dem, though Giuliani has a shot at my vote. But I think I'll take Hillary over Edwards, if that's the choice I have.

6:15 PM  

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