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The Rec Report

Thursday, 15 May 2008


What Did Obama Promise Edwards?*

John Edwards's endorsement of Obama seems par for the course for Hillary. As soon as she wins, superdelegates endorse the other guy. As soon as she wins, backers endorse her opponent. The more she wins, the more media decry her staying in the race. The better she does, the worse she's made out to be. It's quite a staggering and stunning beating that she's been taking from the liberal elite.

John Edwards's belated endorsement of Barack Obama for Democratic presidential nominee is one in a series of blows. Like the others, it comes at a strange time. Not unlike the way things seem to go for Hillary Clinton in this campaign, the endorsement comes after Clinton's most resounding victory, and the widest margin of victory for any candidate in any Democratic primary to date this season--68 to 26--a 42 percentage point trouncing of the "presumptive nominee." (With a loss like that, should that be "presumptive" or "presumptuous?") Further, Clinton continued to rack up massive margins in the very voting blocks that Edwards had courted and claimed previous to dropping out. Beyond that, she also won over Obama's core voters.

The question is, given the fact that Clinton wins and wins big the Edwards constituents, why would Edwards, the supposed populist bucker of the elite establishment, endorse the candidate who loses his "own" group of voters and loses it big?

A potential Edwards endorsement was losing all efficacy and came at the last possible meaningful moment. If Edwards's endorsement was to mean anything, it had to come now. And given that Edwards is the person whose endorsement might mean the most to the constituency that Obama is being slaughtered amongst, his endorsement is necessary for Obama's presumption to go on.

The conversation from Obama might have gone something like this: "You (Edwards) know I'm going to win. You know only I can give you a position in my cabinet. You know that I need you to lend credence to my claims for working-class white voters. Endorse me now or forever hold your peace." "Well, all right."

Edwards decided to lend Obama a hand because he's an opportunist. There is no other explanation befitting this endorsement. After all, if he were to remain true to his own constituency, he would have endorsed Clinton. But instead of following his own voters' preferences, he went directly against them, at the very moment when they had most clearly made that preference known.

Edwards's endorsement of Obama validates every misgiving about him held by pundits and others. He is a lawyer. He is slick. His populist rhetoric is tailor-made to pander to voters, while tailor-made suits betray his real ambition, as can be descried in his lavish lifestyle, most emblematically in his $400.00 hair cuts.

In short, Edwards has proven himself to be the very slick, greedy, opportunistic player that his worst critics have said that he is.

Dr. Rec, The Rec Report

Michael D. Rectenwald, Ph.D.

*This essay does not reflect the views of CLG Editor, Lori Price

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