Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gee, thanks for all the comments, and to Instapundit for the shout out. Just responding to a few of the commenters:

It's not, in my opinion, a question of tailoring your ideology to whatever will get you elected, so much as it is choosing the candidate whose ideology connects with the maximum number of voters. The two concepts are radically different. Also, it's not just ideology anymore; it's also electability, i.e., that certain something that causes a voter to want to vote for a particular candidate. Bill Clinton had that quality; Hillary does not. I still don't believe Obama has it, at least enough to both win a nomination and a general election.

I apparently misspoke when I said that McGovern won his home state -- it was Massachusetts. My point is even more strongly made, though. McGovern stood for deeply felt left wing ideology in favor of withdrawal from Vietnam under any circumstances. As a result, he didn't even carry his home state. It was one of the most lopsided victories in recent memory.

I agree that Edwards is being ignored to a certain extent. Whether he is OK with being under the radar screen, only his campaign can say for sure. I just think that, whether its deliberate or a by-product of the MSM hysteria over Hillary v. Obama, it's smart for him to lay low. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether Edwards is more vulnerable to attack than Hillary is highly debatable. Of all the candidates in the field, he's got that certain something I alluded to earlier. People LIKE him, just like they LIKED Bill Clinton. That could carry him very far. He's also the most "populist" of the candidates, which bodes well in a general election campaign, should he get the nomination.

Whether this race is "fun" is in the eye of the beholder. Some people like to watch train wrecks, too.

Dudley Smith is right that Edwards is just as subject to "inexperience" criticism as the other candidates, except maybe Richardson. It's mostly a wash; the only ones who have presidential experience are, uh, ex-presidents. Perhaps being a governor helps in the public mind, inasmuch as the past two presidents were state governors. I disagree that Edwards is a Jimmy Carter clone, for no other reason than I just don't see it.

As to charges that Edwards is an unserious "huckster," again, I just don't see it that way. He's smart, educated, and his positions on the issues are mostly where I like them. He made a successful career helping those who needed help against the unlimited resources of Big Insurance. I love those perople who deride trial lawyers; they're always the ones who run to lawyers when they need 'em. By the way, what makes a candidate a huckster, anyway? Is ANY candidate exempt from such a characterization?

Hillary/Obama on the ticket? Matching primary adversaries is certainly not new, but if that happens, then the Republicans will take the general in a 1972-like landslide. For any Democratic strategists out there, that ticket is the fervent dream of any die-hard Republican out there. For God's sake, don't give them what they want.

As to Bill Clinton not being the focus of right wing hatred, I disagree strongly. For years, I would see bumper stickers around town that said, "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush." The right wing-funded litigation was going after Bill, not Hillary. Ken Starr persecuted [literally] Bill, not Hillary. And, the Republican Congress impeached and tried the President -- not the First Lady -- for no other reason than he was unfaithful to his wife, and in the face of a 65% approval rating. No, they were after Bill, because they just couldn't bear to have been beaten by a Democrat. Especially a Democrat that they had targeted, on which they had attempted political homicide, and who just wouldn't go away when a lesser man would have quit. Clinton's perserverence, and the continuing efforts by the Right to downplay his two Administrations, simply reinforce my theory that the Republicans will do anything -- anything -- to win.

And finally, the Catholics and Jews issues are red herrings. He didn't piss the Catholics off, a blogger associated with the campaign irked a virulently pro-Catholic pundit. Edwards was reported in a Peter Bart op-ed in Variety [that bastion of journalistic accuracy] to have said that "Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace. . .was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities." I disagree with that assessment [that's not the greatest short-term threat to world peace, whatever "world peace" is], but it's not an anit-Israel comment, and it's not an anti-semitic remark, either. Assuming he even said it.