An excellent new article about John Edwards appeared on Alternet last night:
Cornbread and Roses
It is long, but very worth reading. Here's just a short snippet:
All of which raises a question: Who is this guy -- and what has he done with the centrist New Democrat who once had Karl Rove quaking in his boots? While he clearly hasn't lost his all-too-palpable lust for the White House, Edwards has largely left behind the Clintonian emphasis on "personal responsibility" and "fiscal restraint" that often struck a hollow note in his campaign speeches -- particularly in contrast to his heartfelt cry of "two Americas." The metamorphosis began during the last campaign, when Edwards gradually found his voice as an economic populist. Less than a decade into his political career, he remains a work in progress.As they say, go read the rest. As I have said before, many people on the Left totally misread Edwards last time around. See the label "centrist" in that passage above? Wrong. Just because he has a Southern drawl and picked a more conservative stance on a couple of issues does not make him centrist. He always was an still is a liberal, but a kind of liberal that almost every American can identify with - someone who grew up an ordinary American and never forgot how it feels to be looked down upon, the true fighter for the underdogs both as a lawyer and as a Senator.
"We might be seeing the kind of transformation Bobby Kennedy underwent," says Pete MacDowell, a veteran grassroots organizer and staunch Edwards critic ("a political Ken doll with a populist streak" is how MacDowell describes him) who runs the NC Progressive Democrats PAC. "After he initially supported Vietnam and went slow on civil rights, Kennedy developed a moral core and turned into the kind of Democrat we haven't seen since. I never thought I'd say this, but maybe that's what we're now seeing with Edwards. Maybe this is his core."
Many pundits completely failed to grok him, and even resented his broad appeal. No other primary candidate last year had so many Republicans and Independents switching parties, rooting for him, working for him, voting for him in the primaries. That is why Rove was quaking in his boots, not because of John's good looks and smooth eloquence. I sure hope he decides to run in 2008. He is the only candidate who is widely known and with a broad enough appeal to actually win. And he'll sure make a great President once he gets there.