Wednesday, January 30, 2008

edwards stands down

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see John Edwards drop out of the race to be the Democratic candidate in the US election today. The furore over Obama and Hillary has obscured the fact that Edwards consistently talks about poverty and social justice, and the dialogue he established on the subject dragged debate leftwards, which was an achievement we should thank him for. Unfortunately, however, he was never going to rival the big two for the nomination, and his repeated third placings were less than he deserved.

What worries me about the other candidates, meanwhile, is that I fear that we on the left are being much too complacent. In the US, hatred of Bush does not automatically equate as hatred of the Republicans, and whether Romney or McCain win their respective battle, the Democrats will have a battle on their hands. What worries me is that in both instances the Democrats face the prospect of having a candidate who certain people, no matter what, will never endorse.

I'm bewildered by the general animosity towards Clinton, who I think is the stronger candidate and an unlikely hate-figure. But it seems to be the case that a great many people in the US (and elsewhere) do hate her. I like Obama, and would be happy for him to win, but compared to McCain he's terribly green and I worry he'll be made a fool of on the stumps. I think the Democrats are a long way, alas, from having the election sewn up.

Edwards, weirdly, might just have been conventional enough (smooth, educated, white, a Southerner) to appeal to a broader electorate.

But it's not his time and, alas, it looks like it never will be. A shame.

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