Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 25, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

WHAT DOES EDWARDS WANT?....A couple of days ago I was musing about the possibility of John Edwards playing a kingmaker role if neither Obama nor Clinton wins more than 50% of the Democratic delegates. "Maybe that appeals to him," I said.

Apparently it does. Christopher Cooper interviewed Edwards advisor Joe Trippi in the Wall Street Journal today and came away with this:

"I think 200 delegates on Feb. 6 is our over-under," Mr. Trippi said. Although he continues to insist that Mr. Edwards has a chance at securing the nomination, Mr. Trippi concedes it is a long shot. More probable: arriving at the convention with enough delegates to tip the scales in favor of either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama. "Edwards is the primary force keeping Clinton under 50%," Mr. Trippi said. "Worst case? We go to the convention as the peacemaker, kingmaker, whatever you want to call it."

As Mr. Trippi figures it, if Mr. Edwards gets more than 200 delegates through the Feb. 5 contests — just more than 10% of the total 1,700 delegates at stake that day — he has a long-shot chance of playing kingmaker. If he gets 350, Mr. Trippi said Mr. Edwards is almost assured of playing that role.

...."Every delegate we get over 200 on Feb. 5 is a step toward a scenario that at worst gives us a shot at influencing the final outcome of this race," Mr. Trippi said.

But if this is a role Edwards wants to play, what does he want from it? As Cooper says, conventional wisdom holds that Edwards isn't interested in the VP slot, and the best he can come up with as an alternative is that Edwards might "demand the insertion of one or several antipoverty planks in the party's platform."

That's pretty weak tea. If this is really in the back of Edwards's mind, he must be thinking of something a little more concrete than that. But what?

UPDATE: For the record, I don't think we'll have a brokered convention. This is more water cooler conversation than anything else.

Kevin Drum 1:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (76)

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Comments

Cabinet post? But then which one?

Posted by: pgl on January 25, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Fire Trippi.

Posted by: katiebird on January 25, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

He was interested in the VP slot before.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on January 25, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

He wants Obama to be the nominee.

If he drops out now, Clinton gets half his votes, Obama the other half and it pushes Clinton over the top.

If he stays in the race, he gets all his votes and can hand them over to Obama.

100% of 12% is better than 50% of 12% for Obama.

Posted by: yep on January 25, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

pgl: That was my first thought, too. He's really not a good fit for the high-profile positions like State, Defense, or Treasury. I guess Attorney General is an outside possibility. But maybe HHS?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on January 25, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

What does Edwards want? How about a chance to fill Justice Stephens' seat on the Supreme Court? He's a former senator and one of the finest legal minds of his generation. He'd breeze through a Dem-controlled Senate. A Court seat would give him the chance to pursue his agenda for decades. If I were Obama, I'd be making loud noises in Edwards' direction about this.

Posted by: robsalk on January 25, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Ambassador to Tahiti and all-you-can-drink margaritas.

Posted by: Tom on January 25, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Political campaigns often last far too long even when they no longer have a chance. In 2004, Kucinich ran till the convention even though he didn't have a prayer.

Edwards is like a football team still playing in the fourth quarter even when they are down 35-7. Edwards is going to lose, but he refuses to accept his defeat.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 25, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Cabinet post? But then which one?

Department of Labor?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 25, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

The answer is FULL SOCIALISM, you fools. Edwards will demand socialized socialism, with socialized social policies. It will be a social disaster, of course.

But no worries, John McMagnificent will crush your pathetic weak and stupid party with his beautiful iron fist.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on January 25, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Justice Stevens. But you knew that.

Incidentally, a public promise to put Edwards on the Court from either Dem front-runner would also focus attention on the large number of potential vacancies facing the next Prez, which might tend to focus the thoughts of Dems who might consider voting for McCain should the wrong candidate emerge with the nomination. Any chance McCain or any R would appoint a crusading liberal to the Court? Exactly.

Posted by: robsalk on January 25, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...I guess Attorney General is an outside possibility...."

Beat me to it you did. I think that is exactly what he wants. It would enable him to go after the ReThuglicans and their neocon enablers not to mention working toward his social goals & setting himself up for a future Supreme Court seat.

The most likely option as far as I see it.

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." - Niccoló Machiavelli

Posted by: daCascadian on January 25, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

The answer is FULL SOCIALISM, you fools. -FLoFaFL

Well, thats not gonna happen as long as the government is more interested in corporate socialism/welfare.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on January 25, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

His first position is that he still might win (obviously delusional). His second position is Veep. His third position is HHS. I can't see him wanting to be on the SCOTUS. Firebrand litigators are unlikely to have the patience for that stuff.

Posted by: hollywood on January 25, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think what Edwards really wants is to be made the next editor of Rolling Stone, so that he can rid it of all those annoying ads and restore it to its rabble-rousing greatness.

Posted by: lampwick on January 25, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

he must be thinking of something a little more concrete than that. But what?
Robsalk beat me to it, but Justice Edwards probably sounds pretty good to him.

Posted by: folkbum on January 25, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I saw in Flickr photos that I came across by accident last night that movie star Tim Robbins seems to be going about with Edwards to all of the political star's stops, introducing him, supporting him, all of that good movie-star stuff.

It just makes me groan at the movie-star and DailyKosishness of it all. Not that DailyKos isn't great, and not that Tim Robbins doesn't do fine work in grade-A projects. But it all seems so pointless and walking-in-lock-step, and it goes even further to portray Edwards that way.

Don't go around with movie stars whose mere presence will make you seem like a cliche, quiche-eating, Prius-driving ultra-liberal. The only thing worse would be to go around with Ed Begley. Or maybe Barbra Streisand.

Just give up, people, and get behind Hillary and/or Obama.

(It's too bad that Obama has shot off his mouth so much. I would love to have seen a winning Hillary/Obama ticket, but now she'll never ask him to join her campaign.)

Posted by: Anon on January 25, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to quote EVITA, even if Tim Rice was quoting someone else, but Politics is "The Art of the Possible." You take your opportunities when they come, and you spend the rest of your time either making opportunities or positioning yourself for opportunity.

If Edwards goes in with 200+ delegates to be king/queenmaker -- it's by definition a brokered convention -- I'm using the term "open convention."

Yes, at worst he influences -- for a cabinet post, for a special role (maybe a special prosecutor, maybe a special commission on poverty), maybe an SC seat, maybe just a seat at the table to make sure his issues aren't forgotten.....that's at worst. The trick is to Be There when it happens.

We are following a narrative we haven't seen in most of our lifetimes. Anything Can Happen. Yes, Edwards getting the nomination is a long shot, but it's a shot.

Clinton and Obama will both have "second thoughts" supporters -- some delegates who were assigned early might see or hear something that makes them have second thoughts. What do they do on the second ballot?

Imagine a convention deadlocked between Obama and Clinton. Neither will budge. And the way this campaign is going (have you read message boards *anywhere* between Clintonites and Obamaniacs -- not to mention Edwardians?) the Obama delegates would die before crossing over the Clinton, and the Clinton delegates would feel the same about switching to Obama.

So after five or six ballots -- what happens? Draft Gore? A slow trickle and then a rush to Edwards as the only compromise? A dark horse nominated by a frustrated delegation?

It's a huge unknown. And that scenario is not inconcievable.

What Edwards wants is to Be There when it happens -- whatever happens -- and practice the Art of the Possible.

Posted by: zmulls on January 25, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think Edwards as AG would be excellent, but Andrew Cuomo would be a good choice, too, as he has experience with going after financial firms. That's going to be a growth industry over the next few years.

Posted by: F. Frederson on January 25, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

On a more serious note, I think that the marriage of John and Elizabeth Edwards is one of the most beautiful things in all of American public life.

Posted by: lampwick on January 25, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it "conventional wisdom" that he wouldn't want the VP slot? Edwards is a young man. In 8 years he'll barely be older than Hillary is now. And as an 8 year VP he would be the presumptive leader of the party. Of course, that assumes he lasts 8 years as VP. He might find himself president well before 2016...

Posted by: MBinNC on January 25, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

pgl: That was my first thought, too. He's really not a good fit for the high-profile positions like State, Defense, or Treasury. I guess Attorney General is an outside possibility. But maybe HHS?

That's what I've been hoping for. Have also been musing about labor, although no one else seems to be.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops, I see Blue Girl has been thinking of it, too.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

daCascadian gets it right

*If* this is Edwards role now, his best choice for making a name for himself would be as AG with a future shot at the Court. Labor or Commerce is weak tea as Kevin would say. If Clinton or Obama gave him free rein as AG then break out the popcorn.

Posted by: Bush Lover on January 25, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

AG or a nomination to the Supreme Court. SCOTUS, for me, would be the best as it's a lifetime posting and we need someone like him over there to dampen those dodos that are there now.

Posted by: todd on January 25, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Attorney General sounds good to me. Edwards looks like he would make a great Attorney General.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I hope and pray he will be the nominee but I could see him at HHS or nominated to the Supremes.

I would hold out hope that the A.G. role would be filled by someone who was a career public servant.

Posted by: micknh on January 25, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

If Edwards doesn't get the nomination, I like the idea of a bidding war for his delegates. Right now, he's running on the best platform of the three main Democratic contenders. If he holds out to compel the other two to vie against each other over who is more Democratic and less Republican, the Democrats and the nation win.

Posted by: Boolaboola on January 25, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Except for his ambition to become president, the former hedge fund consultant is an enigma. Edwards clearly enjoys the good life of fine dining, executive jets, hanging with Wall Street honchos at exclusive clubs and being considered a national leader. His lifestyle and anti-poverty campaign message are in contrast to each other. He so desperately wants to become president that he has latched onto a populist platform, but his mentors are people like Robert Rubin.

What does this man want? Like most politicians he wants public approval. Like most people running for president, he does not receive it in a large enough quantity, creating a disappointment. The plum the Democratic Party or the eventual nominee could offer Mr. Edwards to assuage his, and his spouse's, disappointment of not being popular enough to become president will have to be something like a Supreme Court nomination. Nothing else will keep him in the elite social circles he prefers and allow him to pursue his purported goals of making America a better place for the not wealthy. The only problem with this scenario is that being a SC justice is tedious, hard work that does not supply the kind of public adulation people with a politician's compensatory personality crave. I predict a long deep depression ahead for Mr. Edwards that no amount of $2000 suits, $500 dinners or slaps on the back from his hedge fund buddies will cure.

Mr. Edwards will not be happy working on run down apartment buildings to provide housing for poor people like President Carter. Nor do I think he will be satisfied sitting on a stage at Davos with Bono discussing world poverty and climate warming like VP Gore. Edwards wants to be more like Bono than Gore. Edwards would love to have working class people adore him, but he is not the type to dirty his hands doing actual labor or even taking political chances to win their support. He will not achieve his ambition of becoming president.

I suggest he purchase two Maybachs.

Posted by: Brojo on January 25, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think he will happily take Attorney General with a shot at Justice of the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Catfish on January 25, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's been so long since we've had a brokered convention, I don't even know what players might actually reasonably demand in exchange for throwing support toward a candidate.

Historically, what have people bargained for? Positions? Planks in a platform? Both?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 25, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: Mr. Edwards will not be happy working on run down apartment buildings to provide housing for poor people like President Carter.

President Carter isn't poor.

Posted by: DFH on January 25, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

President Carter isn't poor.

who said he was?

brojo, i hate that you seem to be deeply sad and anguished every moment of every day. the pain is palpable. don't you ever have fun or laugh or play? these issues are of huge significance, but don't let them destroy your own capacity for happiness.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 25, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Edwards will not be happy working on run down apartment buildings like President Carter does to provide housing for poor people.

Posted by: Grammar Mojo on January 25, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

You know, the idea of John Edwards as AG made me bust out in a great big smile. He's my first choice for president, but I would love a scenario where Hillary or Obama appointed him AG and said "go to town, just don't embarrass me with scandal."

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 25, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, I don't think we'll have a brokered convention. This is more water cooler conversation than anything else.

You & Marian have a water cooler in your house?

Not that it means anything because he says it, but other folks are thinking he might like the AG slot, too. Not that that's what he's interested in, but it's something to chew on.

Posted by: junebug on January 25, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing that's sure is that if Edwards can get 10% or more of the delegates -- *and* he stays in the fight until the end, head held high -- he will get something.

It's fun to speculate, but anyone who is trying to make predictions this year is only speculating with a different name. If...if...we get to the convention with nobody able to win on the first ballot, we're in seriously uncharted territory. Not too many people with skin in the game have been in an open convention, and would be making up the rules as they go along.

As for Edwards getting his hands dirty, remember he at least opened his campaign working at a food bank and at a worksite in New Orleans. You can certainly put it down to a stunt, but it's three days more of getting his hands dirty than most candidates have done. He tried to get the press to walk Robert Kennedy's path by replicating the Poverty Tour, and the press decided it was too boring to give much attention to.

And there's not a man or woman running for President who doesn't have a huge ego. That's a job requirement.

Posted by: zmulls on January 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

For the uninitiated, Sen. Edwards is not "one of the finest legal minds of his generation." He is by all indications a masterful trial lawyer. Those are admirable skills, particularly when put to use in the service of "the little guy." (No plaintiffs'-lawyer bashing here). But winning a lot of hotly contested trials doesn't make Sen. Edwards "one of the finest legal minds of his generation" any more than winning NASCAR races makes Jeff Gordon an automotive engineer.

Of course, an apparent lack of scholarly distinction doesn't disqualify Sen. Edwards for the Supreme Court. Heck, many of its members, now and in the past, have been mediocrities. Sen. Edwards might make an outstanding "people's Justice," in the hallowed tradition of Thurgood Marshall. But it would be his good heart, not his towering intellect, that would make him so.

Posted by: Rob Owen on January 25, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

The conventional wisdom is wrong. Edwards will want VP because it is the next-most powerful and prestigious position, and because it is the best launching pad for 2016.

VP will allow Edwards to pursue all his pet projects without the hassle of (and potential scandal from) running a big bureaucracy like the Justice Department.

If he's in a position to be kingmaker, he'll be in a position to secure a promise that he can do what he wants as VP.

Posted by: CN on January 25, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards doesn't know what he wants, and he's burned bridges with a number of people and it's starting to come back to bite him in the ass. Saw a brilliant vid that captures his essence in 2 min...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8PECQDBr2w

That's right - John isn't going to get the nom, and neither Barack (who may not hate John) nor Hillary (who surely does) is going give him another shot at the VP position.

Posted by: Jack on January 25, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that Hillary or Obama wins in November and behaves the next 2 years like Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather 2 is a fantasy. A couple middle managers from Haliburton going to the pen is about all there's going to be.

Posted by: Blue Moon on January 25, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

What does Edwards want? Hasn't anyone ever read "The Best Man?" As long as he has delegates and is in the race anything is possible. As pointed out above he controls delegates that he wins so long as he remains a candidate. Once he ceases to be a candidate he loses all delegate leverage.

Posted by: rk on January 25, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, that's so funny! Our local theatre is doing THE BEST MAN in two weeks!

And yes, that's exactly my point. Nobody really knows what will happen if the convention is open. I don't think it will automatically go to whomever has the most delegates going in. You can certainly say that odds are that the leader will wind up the winner, but I wouldn't bet all my chips on it.

Posted by: zmulls on January 25, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Labor and HHS are not high profile/powerful enough. My guess is that he'll opt for AG. There is plenty that he can do to advance his agenda from that platform. Think Eliot Spitzer when he was NY AG.

Posted by: Disputo on January 25, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad that Obama has shot off his mouth so much.

Can't have 'em darkies mouthing off to white women, can we?

Posted by: Disputo on January 25, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think what Edwards really wants is to be made the next editor of Rolling Stone, so that he can rid it of all those annoying ads and restore it to its rabble-rousing greatness.-lampwick

LOL I like that idea! Although I think the AG job is what he's after.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 25, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

I want nothing more than for Edwards to continue to plug away until the very end, or for as long as he can stand.

He has a shot at the nomination.

In my reading of history concentrated wealth and power (and the wealthy and powerful using their influence to avoid paying taxes) has triggered every epic collapse from the collapse of: Egypt's middle kingdom, the Roman Empire, Pre-Islamic Mecca, Byzantium, medieval Japan, Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon France, Romanov Russia, Coolege/Hoover Americ (triggering the collapse of Wiemar Germany, the rise of Hitler, WWII and the Holocaust).

Clinton and Obama won't do squat about this. This country only needs another 4 years of this kind of crap and its over.

It will happen so fast that you won't have seen it coming and you won't believe it happened. Some say that the Roman Empire was gone 50 years before they realized it wasn't coming back.

It won't take that long this time.

It's Edwards or its disintegration.

Posted by: Pallomine on January 25, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Robsalk: "one of the finest legal minds of his generation." ??? I I like Edwards, and he was a damn good personal injury trial lawyer, but he doesn't have the depth of a legal academic or experienced appellate judge. What are his base doctrinal positions on international law, on antitrust, on Sabanes-Oxley, on search and seizure, on adequate representation by counsel, on choice of law, on compelled arbitration, on Constitutional law generally, on intellectual property protections, on any of 20 other topics that a Federal appellate judge regularly encounters?

There have been surprising appointments to the Supreme Court in which a nominee blossoms on the bench, and Edwards might be one of those. I certainly don't mean to minimize his abilities. But in terms of resume and skill set, I don't think he is high on the list of potential nominees.

Posted by: anoregonreader on January 25, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Who says that he wants something AFTER the convention?

Consider - as alluded to above - that for half a year he has two powerful senators to whom he can present a list of issues and say, "Whichever of you fulfills more of these will get my support."

Posted by: Kirk on January 25, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kirk: here, here!

Maybe Edwards isn't in it for himself.

Maybe he's actually in it because he sees the catastrophy we are facing if we don't truly change.

Maybe he'll hold out for universal health coverage, which as Krugman points out, is a threshold or inflection point in our politics.

Go, Edwards!

Posted by: Pallomine on January 25, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Heh... He could be the Dems' answer to Chief Justice Roberts!

Posted by: Ramki on January 25, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

I want nothing more than for Edwards to continue to plug away until the very end, or for as long as he can stand.

Amen to that.

I just wish that Richardson and Kucinich were still in.

Posted by: Disputo on January 25, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

opened his campaign working at a food bank and at a worksite in New Orleans

What was Edwards doing before he opened his campaign? Was he alerting the working class to avoid subprime mortgages? Was he lobbying for hedge fund regulatory reform? Was he working at a food bank? Was he a champion for the poor people of New Orleans, trying to obtain a better deal for them? I do not mean paying lip service to these issues, but actually working to create institutional solutions.

He tried to get the press to walk Robert Kennedy's path by replicating the Poverty Tour

Perhaps Edwards should have been trying to meet the people in poverty and rally them to his platform instead of trying to rally the press to cover his publicity stunt. When masses of people become followers to politicians, the press will cover it. Edwards has not sufficiently built a constituency from people in poverty, yet he claims to be their champion. Edwards wants the payoff of having this type of constituency without doing the hard work to earn their support.

Of course ambition is a necessary quality of all leaders. But if ambition is the dominant quality a potential leader has, the electorate quickly finds out the aspirant is inauthentic. That is unless the aspirant has a huge party and media machine at their disposal, like the current president did in 2000.

Posted by: Brojo on January 25, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

anoregonreader >"...in terms of resume and skill set, I don't think he is high on the list of potential nominees."

That is certainly one of his strongest points for being on the Supreme Court. He has ACTUALLY done things other than pontificate and read articles and be sheltered from reality like most of today`s bench.

WE DON`T NEED ANY MORE ACADEMIC CLOWNS WITHOUT EXPERIENCE IN THE REAL WORLD IN CHARGE OF ANYTHING

Wake the f**k up !

"The first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt." - Ronnie Earle

Posted by: daCascadian on January 25, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK
But if this is a role Edwards wants to play, what does he want from it? As Cooper says, conventional wisdom holds that Edwards isn't interested in the VP slot,

"Conventional wisdom holds X" doesn't even begin to approach a rational reason for believing that X is true; but that's most likely not all it is.

and the best he can come up with as an alternative is that Edwards might "demand the insertion of one or several antipoverty planks in the party's platform."

I think this is close but missing the point in a subtle but critical way. The platform is a sideshow: its more likely he'd use the influence he would have in such a case to secure a public and specific commitment to particular antipoverty measures from whoever it was that wanted his backing. He might do this along with demanding the VP nod (as a way of keeping his issues alive in the campaign and holding the next nominee to them after the election presuming victory).

I don't see AG as likely, though its possible; it has both less independence than the VP, is less immediate than getting the second-place nod on the ticket (and thus more likely for the nominee to find a way of weaseling out of without any repercussions but the personal animosity of Edwards and his immediate circle), and its a job that, while it certainly touches on issues that have been big to Edwards, isn't focussed on them.

(Looking for a SCOTUS nod has the second, immediacy, problem noted above, too.)

While parties are important, the formal platforms aren't: specific commitments by individual candidates are far more important.

Of course, if no one has a majority going in to the convention, there's no rule that one of the top two going in has to be the nominee going out. Being on the field with something to bring to the table gives Edwards a role in shaping whatever happens, and an outside shot at being crowned the nominee—especially if Clinton and Obama continue to get more negative on each other as the primary season continues, Edwards may be able to build an at-the-convention majority more easily than either of the top two going in, because he may have the lowest negatives in the eyes of the delegates that aren't already his.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 25, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I hope he wants to be AG. After he ptus half tghe Republican party and their big $ backers in prison there'll be hardly anyone left to challenge him after Obama leaves office in 2016.

Posted by: markg8 on January 25, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

He may not want VP - but he can force the nomination of several cabinet members/ranking posts. Planks and all are fine, but getting his people on the levers is a real prize.

Posted by: orion on January 25, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

The latest from Feingold:

"I don't understand how somebody could vote, five or six critical votes, one way in the Senate and then make your campaign the opposite positions," Feingold said, expanding on comments he made a week ago to the Appleton (Wisconsin) Post-Crescent. "That doesn't give me confidence that if the person became president that they would continue the kind of policies that they are using in the Democratic primary. I'm more likely to believe what they did in the Senate."

Asked to explain what precisely he found problematic, Feingold offered that Edwards had "taken in" voters by switching positions on several key issues.

"You have to consider what the audience is, and obviously these are very popular positions to take when you are in a primary where you are trying to get the progressive vote. But wait a minute -- there were opportunities to vote against the bankruptcy bill, there was an opportunity to vote against the China [trade] deal. Those are the moments where you sort of find out where somebody is. So I think, people are being taken in a little bit that now he is taking these positions."

The Edwards campaign did not return a request for comment.


Posted by: JS on January 25, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

My, it sure amazes me that y'all know exactly what Edwards wants. Just amazing. Why don't y'all just get a job at MSNBC or CNN? You sound just like every other know-nothing pundit.

Oh, and I especially love how some here say he should just give it up and submit to to Hilbama.

3 great candidates in the Democratic race and all you guys want to do is trash each other's candidates. I'm so glad I left the Democratic party after 2004. I thought there was no way a Democrat could lose this election, but judging by what's important to you guys makes me wonder...

Posted by: Outside the Beltway on January 25, 2008 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

What if Edwards is the "Bullworth" of this campaign? He's lost a son, and his wife has a serious case of cancer. What if he realizes that this is his last shot at the presidency and is giving it all he's got for the causes he is representing. Maybe he's really so hardened and shallow that these things have no effect on him. But what if?

Posted by: edwardian on January 25, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards problem now is he only has words. He can't march with Sheehan, become the face of the anti-war movement, start a campaign to regulate hedgefunds, lead the displaced of New Orleans back to their city, or sound the alarm about subprime loans. He had two-three years after his failed VP run to do something, besides talk, that would have demonstrated to people he was a champion for liberal issues.

Posted by: Brojo on January 25, 2008 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think Trippi said this to motivate the die-hard campaign contributors to keep his salary paid and the campaign on life support. Hillary or Obama could promise Edwards anything, then call Mickey Kaus to drop the illegitimate child piano on his head and reneg on the agreement.

Posted by: buky on January 25, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

buky >"...reneg on the agreement."

The phrase "trust but verify" comes to mind...

"The sailor does not pray for wind, he learns to sail." - Gustaf Lindborg

Posted by: daCascadian on January 25, 2008 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a bleak question but: I wonder what he'll do if the Republicans win? He will probably go back to being a trial lawyer, I know, but he could certainly use his political clout to become a public advocate, helping out poor folks such as Jimmy Carter.

It's interesting to guess what the post-political careers of some of these guys will be. Well, not always that interesting. I certainly can't see George W. Bush travelling through Central Africa trying to cure river blindness.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 26, 2008 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Wait until the super Tuesday votes are counted. He might come away with more votes than the media is offering him. After all, it's the voters who'll decide hw many delegates he might have in his pocket. Maybe some of us don't think Hillary and Obama are the only alternatives. Time will tell.

Posted by: sparky on January 26, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

I'm still rooting for John Edwards winning the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, primarily because he is the only remaining true liberal, true progressive left with a viable chance of winning.

However, it all comes down to the math. If he ends up being the spoiler who basically ends up choosing either Obama or Clinton to be our next president, then my suggestion is that he make as one of the condititions his being appointed Attorney General, so he can clean out the rats nest of corrupt Republicans at the Justice Department and launch all the criminal investigations required to expose all the criminal acts of the worst and most criminal administration ever in American history, that of Bush and Cheney.

Because, you see, I believe that if either Obama or Clinton end up as president, they will sweep under the rug all the criminal acts of the outgoing Bush/Cheney administration while leaving much of the neo-con conservative, neo-fascist infrastructure in place that Bush and Cheney have worked so hard at imposing on our federal government during their criminally corrupt reign of terror.

I see John Edwards not only working hard to reverse the damage of the Bush/Cheney years, but also (as per his history as a trial lawyer representing the "little people" against the powerful and corrupt) will turn the Justice Department loose on exposing all that Bush and Cheney have been doing illegally and trying to keep hidden.

Therefore, if not elected president, I'd like to see John Edwards as our next Attorney General, given a free hand to go after all the dirt on Bush and Cheney that he can dig up.

Then and only then can we finally put the long nightmare of the Bush/Cheney years behind us and look to a brighter future for our country and our children...once all the corrupt neo-con Republicans are fined and are serving time behind bars.

Posted by: The Oracle on January 26, 2008 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, a lot of cleverness in the comments about how Edwards must be after something other than the nomination and advancing his issues. He sounds like one super-devious rascal.

Two warnings for Democrats who want Edwards out and who are pushing the argument that he's really an insincere schemer who is faking his commitment to fighting the right:
1) The same will be said/is being said about your candidate.
2) You're only helping the Republicans by repeating the age-old line that progressive leaders are egomaniacal phonies who use liberal ideas to mask a hidden agenda that ultimately boils down to their own self-aggrandizement.

I'm not saying Edwards is any of the following, but this line of attack was leveled against the abolitionists, suffragettes, union organizers, FDR, MLK Jr., and most recently John Kerry where it was deliciously absurd in that Bush was the populist alternative. ("That m#*#erf%&ing windsurfer says he wants affordable healthcare?!?, Da Noive! Do you know how much he makes off ketchup!?! Plus he has a hairstylist! I'm for Bush because Laura puts a salad bowl on his head and trims what falls below with a rusty pair of pinking shears. Talk about authenticity, he didn't even try to get good grades at Yale and Harvard!")

Criticizing Edwards' policy stands--for example, is it feasible to end poverty by 2038--would be a refreshing alternative to fantasizing about his dark plans to make money and fame.

The scheming liberal narrative comforts Fox News Republicans, but given the big liabilities the GOP has going into 2008, it won't be enough to put them over the top this time. Meanwhile, Democrats can do themselves a favor by leaving this kind of dirty work to the other side.

Posted by: ft on January 26, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

What should Americans who are against their military machine do? The leading Democratic candidates, including Edwards, vow to 'rebuild' the military.

What should Americans who are against military aid to Israel do? None of the leading Democratic candidates condemn Israel's aggression, let alone condemn Israel's illegal and murderous use of American gifted weapons used against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians.

What should Americans who think W. Bush should be impeached and tried for war crimes do? All the Democratic Party leadership wants America to think its leaders are immune to crimes committed while holding the highest office in the land.

No leading Democratic candidate has any solutions to offer for these problems.

The next Democratic president will be the Commander and Chief when Afghani and Iraqi civilians are killed by the US military in 2009. Who will impeach that Democratic president and send that Democratic president to trial for war crimes? I doubt I can rely upon the Republicans to do this dirty work.

Posted by: Brojo on January 26, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Congrats Brojo, you've moved off the Edwards is a phony square to get at some issues. And don't worry, the Repubs will be happy to impeach.

Posted by: ft on January 26, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Socialized socialism"--now that's funny, regardless of what your politics are. And I'm a socialist. Congrats!

Posted by: aurlio on January 26, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

"You have to consider what the audience is, and obviously these are very popular positions to take when you are in a primary where you are trying to get the progressive vote. But wait a minute -- there were opportunities to vote against the bankruptcy bill, there was an opportunity to vote against the China [trade] deal. Those are the moments where you sort of find out where somebody is. So I think, people are being taken in a little bit that now he is taking these positions."

Posted by: scojo on January 26, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

If & when it becomes necessary to deal, the deal will be between Hillary & Edwards.

Honestly, does anyone really believe that Obama can win the nomination or a general election?

The reality of our country is not the same as some of us wish it to be.

Posted by: skeptic on January 26, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

skeptic I assume you mean Obama can't get elected because he's black. I'd prefer it if you provided some evidence for that assumption rather than treating it as a given.

Besides, if the nation is really that retrograde, what makes you think we can handle a Lady President?

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 26, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

A President Obama would never appoint John Edwards to the Supreme Court. Lieberman, maybe.

Posted by: jc on January 26, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent comment, zmulls (way upthread).

Posted by: Anony on January 27, 2008 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

One of the questions we are ignoring is, if things fall into place for Edwards in this way can he deliver?
In recent years around the world in similar situations delegates have been acting infuriatingly independant and the movement of a candidate has given no more boost on the convention floor than an endorsment.
The other question is how do the so called "super delegate" factor into the math.

Posted by: Colin on January 27, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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