I was one of many who was put off by John Edwards' ambition to continue with his presidential bid after learning of his wife's untreatable cancer. I was appalled when I found out how much he spends on haircuts while claiming to speak for and champion the causes of the poor and working class. But I stuck with him because he articulated what I think is the basic issue of our time, the need to pry apart the stranglehold corporations have on our government and our democracy.
John Dickerson from Slate had this to say:
But Edwards' pitch was too limited. He often sounded like he was preaching to the converted in his party. Did this sink him? The question will be thoroughly adjudicated as the Democratic Party launches into another of its stirring debates over the limits of the populist message. But watching Edwards, it always felt like he was touching a passionate minority of voters who already believed that corporations were at the root of all of America's problems, as if all that was needed was the right candidate to beat them back. Edwards rarely summoned the bridging language that might have resonated with people who weren't already predisposed to corporation hate.
Even as I doubted his viability I planned to caucus for him next Tuesday, when he promised he'd still be in the race. I tried to keep faith. After all, I voted for Nader - twice. My facility for both optimism and cynicism keeps me on my toes. But he must have gotten brain freeze when he was here earlier in the week, because about twelve hours later Renee Montaigne informed me he had dropped out.
So now I'm ambivalent. How great is it to be choosing between a black man and a woman for the highest office in the land? But who has the best chance of winning the Independents and middle-ground Democrats? I think there's plenty of moderates who would vote for anybody but Clinton. Not to mention, the crooked, ends-justify-the-means neocons who have already stolen two elections aren't going to quietly sidle away on the departing heels of George W. Bush. They aren't going to cede power that easily.
I detest that the mainstream media has been competing with Fox News with their sexist rhetoric against Clinton, and by extension, all women. But she and her husband are not innocents; they have been using Rovian tactics in their campaign against Obama, tainting the conversation with just enough to remind white Americans of their distrust and fear of black men. It makes my stomach turn.
So, Obama moves up as my number one choice. But will he be effective? I agree with the argument that he won't be able to hit the ground running, that he will need time to orient himself to the playing field. There really isn't time to loose; we have already gone backwards socially, economically, morally, several decades. And I don't mean to insinuate that he's naive -- he is a member of the largest oppressed community in our country, after all, he knows what "the man" is all about -- but does he really know the depth and extent of the wickedness of our government? Does he have the stomach? Will he regret his decision once he finds out? Still, he is more in touch with the masses, unlike his opponent as well as his mega-endorser, Oprah, and I believe he will best speak for us.