Friday, March 23, 2007

A thought on John Edwards

John and Elizabeth Edwards are the most fascinating couple in politics, even more than Bill and Hillary.

John has all the current qualifications to be president -- good hair and charisma and XY chromosomes. That doesn't mean he's not a sharp guy. He is. But every time I see them together, Elizabeth comes off as smarter and funnier and more genuine.

In a better world, we'd be sad about Elizabeth Edwards' cancer because we might be losing a great candidate for president.

If I were a James Carville type, I might've told John to suspend the campaign -- partly to be with his wife, partly because he would get a HUGE wave of sympathy. Then he could ride that goodwill back into the race next summer. Campaigns start way too early anyway. Voters are tired of everybody by the end. A fresh face coming in late might steal the whole thing.

I'm sure John Edwards' campaign people at least thought about that. So in some ways, continuing the campaign seems more real to me, less calculated.

I know that sounds weird.

Politics are weird.

I guess the real question is this: what would John Edwards have done if this was 20 years ago, and he was just an ambitious young lawyer?

Are all your decisions different if you're running for president?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tommy, I always enjoy reading your column, but what are you saying in this week's column? This is one of those times when saying nothing would have been better.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, Your forgetting that Edwards told the Raleigh News & Observer as well as Charlotte Channel 9 that he would drop out if his wifes cancer returned. Once again changing his tune and I submit he is also trying to get some extra milage, but it's not sticking.

Anonymous said...

You speculate a bit much.

Unlike you, I don't find them particularly fascinating. I think he is a bald faced oppportunist from whom an enlightened electorate would RUN. But then I think that of most candidates. He just takes it to a new level.

All of that said, it is simply illegitimate to speculate that were he just practicing law rather than running for the Democratic nomination that he might make a different sort of decision regarding his "employment" in light of his wife's cancer. You really have no means whatever by which you can evaluate something as personal as the interaction of a couple in making decisions regarding their life. You can certainly say that you would have done differently, but that's abotu it. There is absolutely no valid way to speculate regarding what he would have done were he not running.

It should hardly need saying, but it is entirely possible that SHE doesn't want her cancer to become the focal point of their lives and would have taken that view under any circumstances. It is equaly possible that he is horridly selfish and ALWAYS HAS BEEN. But what is certain is that to speculate about "the truth" of inherently personal things that have been explained is pointless and a buit bizarre.

Anonymous said...

John Edwards is about as qualified to be President of the United States as...

Oh, yeah. Never mind. Doesn't really freaking matter, does it?

Anonymous said...

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Anonymous said...

John Edwards should take a break from his 5 year campaign for president and go back to suing doctors. Its what he does best.

Anonymous said...

John Edwards should end his 3 year campaign to be president and go back to suing docters. It is what he's best at.

David McKnight said...

That's a good question you raise about whether all your decisions are affected by a decision ro run for president. You could almost say that you will find your decisions conditioned by even the outside thought of running for the presidency in some future election campaign.

This "candidate conditioning" on personal and professional decisions can affect friends, family and community because if you think there is even a possibility that you will become a serious candidate for the executive leadership of this country, you will likely begin to feel that it is your responsibility to have your actions and words to be judged by or to be accountable to American citizens throughout the land and not just by your friends and associates in one town, city or state.

Give John and Elizabeth Edwards credit for addressing the changing circumstances of their personal and political lives in an honest and forthright manner, and remember, people have to have the right to adjust, alter or even completely change previous positions they have may taken on certain issues. Neither politics nor journalism should be completely static in nature, and even a newspaper's editorial department should have the right to re-assess a previously held philosophical position on a public issue which has changed in substance and character over the years.

However, once a person who has been "in the arena," as Richard Nixon put it, for a considerable period of time as a potential or actual candidate for presidency, then when they do step outside that ring and return to a previous political or professional position or capacity, you can understand why they often express a sense of relief and even delight at truly being able to speak their minds on certain issues from a strictly local, regional or individually philosphical point of view. Thus it is that Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, appearing April 8 on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulous," said he hoped some of his views on key issues before the country today would receive a more fair and honest hearing from the political and journalistic commuities now that they will not be viewed in the context of a presidential campaign but rather as the personally derived opinions of one member of the U.S. Senate.

It is probably unworkable and impracticable for some journalists to be able to take a two- or four-year sabbatical from their nonpartisan professional pursuits to work in a single political campaign or even become a candidate for a local, state or federal office such as the county commissioners, the General Assembly or Congress. But if they could, they might acquire a greater appreciation for the good side of the "give-and-take" of views and opinions upon which our public and political deliberations depend if we are to continue to enjoy a republican constitutional system of representative government at the federal and state levels.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Edwards 20 years ago, it must be weird treating the wife of a man who made a career out of pursuing mostly bogus malpractice suits and ruining many good doctors. It goes to show that doctors are dedicated to saving lives, even if it's the wife of a man who is a doctor's worst enemy.