I never took Edwards too seriously. His turn as a mad-dog populist was doomed to failure, his arguments were too simplistic and his "two Americas" rhetoric ran right into buzz-saws manned by both the "agents of change" (How can you sell "two Americas" when you're running against Obama's unification/reconciliation politics? How do you hope to make it work when Hillary has a knack for greasing all cogs, big and small?) and the "deniers of inequality" (Mitt Romney sees "one United States of America" and that sounds good).
I recently argued:
"Meanwhile, Edwards could give a shit. He's got the auto-pilot on. He's full-bore Angry Lefty Populist until he finally loses. He's dialed into some weird course that either leads to a massive crash and burn or a win. (Odds favor crash and burn 2,500:1)."
The massive crash and burn is scheduled to take place in a few hours. Edwards is calling it quits.
As a masochistic fan of political theater, I'll miss him. He was the wild card. He was the guy who might just pick up enough delegates to broker the convention. He could lash out at Obama or Hillary in a debate without warning.
He also helped "keep it real". I think his angry populist perspective often bordered on being sophomoric, but I do have to give him credit for keeping issues of poverty on the Democratic radar. Edwards was there to occasionally remind us that capitalism does have its occasional lapses in decency.
His departure also leaves my young child without a candidate. We watched the last Democratic debate in the living room of the John Brown estate. The little one colored pictures, oblivious to the jibber jabber at first.
Eventually, she started asking questions about the decidedly non-animated programming. I did my best to describe the Presidency on an almost-four year-old level. She seemed interested and asked if the President could tell everyone when it was time for bed. She asked which candidate was "gonna get the most stickers" on his or her "chart".
I told her I liked Barack and pointed him out. She learned that mommy was still leaning toward Hillary. She asked about the "other one". I told her the other one was John. "I like John", she said. I think it's because he was smiling so damn much. Plus, the kid likes to be different. Name recognition wasn't a factor. I'm only John Brown here.
As of today, my child no longer has a horse in the race. What a cruel introduction to politics.
See you later, John. Nice try and good luck.
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