Thursday, January 17, 2008

It sucks to be Edwards

We don’t see much about John Edwards on this side of the world, but it seems we aren’t really on our own in that.

I was thinking about a former CEO who confided his wisdom to me: “There are only two things that count, timing and anticipation”. Corporate drivel, but on the face of it Edwards has failed on both counts.

Who would have thought a white man would be the unwanted minority in an American Presidential campaign? But as cute as it sounds, I don’t really think being the white man is the big issue, being the nice white guy might be the problem.

You can blame the media, they set the pop culture mores, but people still have a choice as to what they want. Politically they don’t want Ward Cleaver, they want Dirty Harry.

Historically American presidents have been, at least borderline if not full on, psychopaths. The argument has been that you don’t get that far up the tree without it, but I suspect most people want their national leaders to personify tough security, the bully parent.

Edwards, for all his intelligence and ability is just too bloody nice. Here in Australia we just chose a national leader who presents as nice. But in fact it was the rumours, and rumours are the most powerful promotional tool, of the real man behind the public man that helped him along.

The rumours suggest nice Mr Rudd is really a potty mouthed bully behind closed doors. Wow! We get this bloke who can present such a nice face for Australians and is still able to rip opponent’s gonads out with his bare hands.

I don’t expect any of his supporters want Edwards to come on like a Rambo or even start distributing soggy Cuban cigars. But if he wants to register in this race he might need to show another, rougher side of his personality.

But I don’t know, I like the bloke I’ve seen so far. Maybe he should do what he does well and forget the White House. It would be great to have an unequivocally decent man in the oval office but it seems an unlikely prospect.


D.K. Raed said...

Wow, you realize by posting this, you have given Edwards more print than he's used to receiving? A personal note of thanks may be in order.

"Historically American presidents have been, at least borderline if not full on, psychopaths" ... doesn't this apply to most all powerful people everywhere, the kind of people who are willing to do what it takes to attain ruling positions have to have something in their heads that skirts around some serious psychological needs?

OK, now you know SOME of us have been watching Edwards for years & so are aware that he is NOT all sweetness & light. He was known as a pit-bull lawyer, the kind that scared the pants off big corps. He has also been criticized for being too angry at points in this campaign. Then when he began playing it straight & speaking from the heart, he lost points. So, it's a fine line to walk for him. Still, the latest nationwide Rasmussen Poll has him (once again) beating every repub in a head-to-head contest, by the largest margins. Obama does well too, except he loses to McCain by 3-pts. Hillary loses to every repub except Ron Paul & Fred Thompson. But in the wake of New Hampshire, all polls are now suspect, so we continue blithely on our way toward a national show-down, being fed scraps of meaningless drivel along the way.

And sad to say, many americans cannot get beyond the fact that he is a self-made millionaire who enjoys an occasional $400 haircut. These are the same middle & lower-class americans who would most benefit by an Edwards presidency. Go figure.

I thank you for trying to understand him in the context of our peculiar politics. You may be right that he will have to forget the White House. We'll know in a month. In the meantime, it's somewhat comforting to see many of his original plans have been lifted wholesale off his website & incorporated in various forms by the top two dems. The Man With The Plans ... (I better quit now, or my comment will be longer than your post!)

ps, loved your description of Rudd being able to rip out 'nads with his bare paws! Something to consider when compromise fails, eh?

Cartledge said...

…psychopaths ... doesn't this apply to most all powerful people everywhere…
d.k., I believe so. In fact I’m not entirely sure a normal sane person would/could do it.
I think all elected politicians should have a fire in their belly, should be fighting for real causes. But they need humanity as well.
Rudd represents the bureaucratic politician which I normally despise, but given the time I accept the need. But he is no powder puff, despite his presentation. I’m surprised that Edwards has lost that bite you talk of. He can have that and still be a decent human being.
Politics is far more engaging than cricket and beats tennis hands down ;)
I don't know if you have caught the news on the Japanese whaling ship taking protesters hostage. Rudd is doing a brilliant job negotiating his first international incident. He hasn't even reached for the nads yet.

D.K. Raed said...

Last I saw, Greenpeace had just located the ship off antarctica. Go get 'em, Rudd!

pissed off patricia said...

It has to be hard as hell for Edwards to compete with the first woman candidate who has a real shot at the office and the first black man who has a real shot at the office too. The "firsts" of the campaign seem to suck out all the political air from Edwards campaign.

abi said...

You're right, dk, Edwards didn't mow down his corporate opponents in court by being a nice guy. But, he does have the appearance of being a nice, quiet, unimposing sort. And that may well be working against him.

PoP makes another good point - how many votes is Edwards losing due to folks wanting to vote for the 1st woman prez or 1st black prez?

TomCat said...

When the media cover Edwards at all they criticize him for being far too angry. The truth is that Edwards opposes the agenda of corporate control of our society and the media has their own stake in that agenda. As a result, they are doing all within their power to marginalize him, when they aren't ignoring him completely.