Rudy Giuliani couldn’t even quit first.
So much for the know-it-alls who predicted big things still in store for John Edwards, whose small but solid support in the proportionally awarded Democratic primaries may have given him a powerful delegate voice at the national convention. Provided he pulled at least fifteen percent of the vote in any of Super Tuesday’s contests, Edwards stood to gain a noticeable slice of the pie—some suggested as many as 400 or 500 delegates—a bargaining chip to shop around some of his key agendas to the frontrunners if the Clinton/Obama race to the nomination remains close.
Instead, Edwards bows out from New Orleans to bring his campaign full circle while asking for pledges from Hillary and Barack to fight poverty. He is withholding any specific endorsement, for now.
The surprise exit stands in marked contrast to his 2004 campaign where he won the South Carolina primary yet failed to gain traction in the rest of the country, eventually accepting the VP spot on the Kerry calamity express. Edwards has expressed no interest in the number two job this time around, and his departure is compounded by his lack of a political fall back career unlike his Senatorial rivals. As such, the future of his populist, poverty-centered platform remains unclear, as do the future preferences of his supporters.
Some Edwardians may split to Clinton due to her perceived electability, while others may share ideological common ground with Obama’s message of change. Super Tuesday and Thursday’s Democratic debate in Los Angeles are now as close to a national dress-rehearsal for Clinton and Obama as they could possibly hope for.
Edwards 2008 leaves behind a legacy of pricey haircuts, well-received debate performances, numerous late-night TV appearances and that unshakable anxiety of living as the perennially awkward third wheel.
Ed ’08 is preceded in death by Kucinich: Strength Through Peace, Dodd ’08, Biden ’08, Richardson For President and Vilsack: Courage To Create Change.
The campaign is survived by Obama: Change We Can Believe In, Clinton: Working For You and That Rock Mike Gravel Threw In The Water.
-- Joe Horton