The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, January 25, 2008

Our Man Edwards

This week has made me a bit sad. The Clintons are taking a pasting in the blogosphere for their shady campaign tactics, and reinforcing my cynical view that we've got to sink much, much lower economically and morally as a nation before we see any significant change.

And, of course, John Edwards has pretty much been written off by the media. Here's hoping that he makes a strong showing in South Carolina-- or that Obama, at least, has woken up to the fact that being a Blue Dog Democrat just ain't cutting it these days.

So I might dip into my meager bank account and cough up another small donation to Edwards. I suspect we won't see him as president, but I have great respect for his dedication to social justice, a society that actively works to minimize the number of economic have-nots our corporatist nation spits out by the millions, and a more participatory republic in which the voice of the people drowns out the rattling coins of industry.

John Edwards has run a principled campaign. He talks about poverty even though poor people can afford to give him little money and turn out to vote at low rates, especially in primaries. His "Back Home, Back Roads Barnstorm" campaign this week took him by bus from one small, rural area of South Carolina to the next, even though small cities like Lancaster, Seneca and Greenwood are not nearly as vote-rich as Greenville, Columbia or Charleston. Whatever else might be said of him, if Edwards suffers a crushing, third-place defeat on Saturday, nobody can say he abandoned his core campaign themes or target audiences. One could argue that his rhetoric, his stance on the issues, has slowed Clinton and Obama's rush to the center, has increased their focus on economic issues. . .

Colorfully nicknamed political advisors Dave "Mudcat" Saunders and former Georgia Rep. Ben "Cooter" Jones are traveling with Edwards in the final days before Saturday's do-or-die primary. In Bennettsville, Jones drew a comparison between the sitcom that made him famous and the current campaign. "I wish the world were like Hazzard County," said Jones, who starred in the popular "Dukes of Hazzard" during the late 1970s and early 1980s. "Because the good guys always won, nobody got hurt, and the Duke brothers always made the right moral choice."

If only Edwards' path to the White House were so simple and formulaic. Given the economic situation in the country and the power of Edwards' campaign themes -- delivered as they are by an articulate, attractive, Southern son who ably employs emotional stories of uninsured or displaced Americans to humanize his message -- why haven't more rank-and-file Democrats rallied behind Edwards?

That's the sad question whose answer has eluded me for months now. And one that looks to haunt me for some time to come.