It's easy to try to make the jump from guest blogger to at least semi-regular blogger when a candidate I feel so strongly about makes a big move. I'm a little bit heartbroken, and I can't help but wonder what happened to all the "in it through the convention and into the White House" talk. One thing's for sure though, Edwards is playing this classy.
Last year, the President didn't mention Katrina or rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the SOTU, and a lot of news outlets made a big deal out of it. This year, the same thing happened and no one said a word. The most important thing John Edwards has done is (at least try) to keep disenfranchised people on the political radar, and it's infinitely appropriate that his campaign began and is now ending in New Orleans (AP):
Edwards planned to announce his campaign was ending with his wife and three children at his side. Then he planned to work with Habitat for Humanity at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project Musicians' Village, the adviser said.
With that, Edwards' campaign will end the way it began 13 months ago -- with the candidate pitching in to rebuild lives in a city still ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards embraced New Orleans as a glaring symbol of what he described as a Washington that didn't hear the cries of the downtrodden.
I respect Edwards to the nth degree, and really, I'm glad that he's going to spend his time walking the walk again after talking the talk for so long. He was good for progressive Democrats because he shifted the dialogue in this campaign to the left. Even when it became obvious that he was more than a longshot for the nomination, I thought his candidacy was important because it did that. I think he can still have an influence on politics and policy from where he's going now, even if he never holds a position in government again. It's doubtful that someone as passionate as Edwards will fade into private life now that his campaign is over.
I'm not sure if any other Edwards supporters feel a little bit betrayed - he was the only candidate I was really excited about, and he said over and over again that he wasn't dropping out yet. I'm sure his wife's health was a factor in the decision, but I also think he was probably itching to get back on the ground and wasn't all that interested in playing kingmaker. Ezra Klein did a good profile on Edwards almost a year ago that highlights a lot of the reasons I supported him as well as why the time is right for progressive candidates. Hopefully that will still hold true for other 2008 races.Posted by Alexandria Ragsdale on January 30, 2008 to The making of the President