Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Will Edwards Endorse the “Forces of Status Quo?”

One of the more dramatic moments of the early primary season occurred during the Democratic debate in New Hampshire when John Edwards came to Barack Obama’s defense with the following rebuke to Hillary Clinton:
Every time he speaks out for change, every time I fight for change, the forces of status quo are going to attack -- every single time.
Although Edwards was critical of Obama on other occasions, there was nothing approaching the sharpness and passion of this statement toward Clinton, and I kind of expected Edwards to come around to endorsing Obama after he dropped out of the race.

However, amid reports that Edwards is involved in intense negotiations with both of the remaining candidates, including a recent dinner with Clinton at his home in North Carolina, I am beginning to suspect that he will end up deciding that his most important priority is his fight for career change, and that he will end up endorsing what he already labeled as "the forces of status quo!”

It's just a feeling and I hope I’m wrong, but Edwards’ recent cancelled meeting with Obama doesn’t bode well. Neither does the fact that Paul Krugman, one of Edwards’ most vocal supporters, who has also turned into one of Obama’s most vicious attackers, has now expanded outward to attacking Obama’s supporters!

His latest, ironically titled “Hate Springs Eternal,” lashes out at supporters of Obama, as he somehow manages to blame all of them for unfair treatment of the Clintons, although his only actual example is MSNBC’s David Schuster. Here’s one of his most “venomous” paragraphs:
I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration — remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.
Fortunately, his conclusion unwittingly puts his goal for the piece in perspective:
Racism, misogyny and character assassination are all ways of distracting voters from the issues, and people who care about the issues have a shared interest in making the politics of hatred unacceptable.
So why the hateful character assassination toward Obama supporters and the Obama campaign?

Unfortunately, my fear is that this is a distraction from the issue of Edwards’ earlier alignment with Obama on the need for change in Washington. By “demonizing” the Obama campaign, Krugman can provide cover for Edwards to tout Clinton’s close affiliation with “blue collar working Americans” as a reason to give her his endorsement.

As I said, I hope I’m wrong about Edwards. I hope he really stands by the things he said during his campaign.

But if I’m right, I surely hope it’s enough to knock Russ Feingold off the fence toward Obama before the Wisconsin primary!

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