That Hissing Sound You Hear...
...is John Edwards' latest presidential bid, rapidly deflating after a pair of major blunders in only two weeks.
First came the blogger scandal. Like every other politician, the former North Carolina Senator decided (correctly) that he needed a major presence on the internet, complete with his own "campaign blog." Problem was, he hired a couple of "Kos Kids" to handle the blogging assignment. Unfortunately, no one at the campaign bothered to check their "previous" work (at other blogs), which included virulently anti-Christian and anti-Catholic posts. Remarkably, Edwards actually backed his bloggers (for a time), then wiser heads prevailed and the two bloggers submitted their "resignations" less than a week later. Obviously, the blame for those defamatory posts can't be blamed solely on the candidate, but the episode does suggest a campaign that lacks organization, focus, and control.
And, if that weren't bad enough, Edwards himself stepped in it a few days ago, in that bluest of blue precincts, Hollywood. Senator Edwards clearly wants--and needs--the support of Hollywood's liberal elite, and probably considers himself the rightful heir to those entertainment heavyweights who write big checks for Democratic candidates. Speaking at a reception in La-La land, Mr. Edwards, as you've probably heard, remarked that an Israeli raid on Iran's nuclear facilities was "perhaps" the greatest short-term threat to world peace. After that, writes Variety columnist Peter Bart, a "chill descended on the gathering, and the Edwards event was brought to a polite close."
Bart tries to make the case that support for Israel is no longer a prerequisite for the endorsement of the Hollywood left, and he may be right. But, judging from Bart's account, it didn't sound like the mavens of Tinsel Town were lining up to back Edwards after his assessment of the world scene. More importantly, the episode (again) exposes the former senator's grave deficiencies as a presidential contender. John Hinderaker at Powerline, diplomatically, describes Edwards as an "unserious" candidate, someone more concerned with his own celebrity and hob-nobbing with entertainment swells than making a serious run for the White House. I disagree; from what I can gather, Edwards appears genuinely serious. The problem, as Paul Mirengoff describes it, is abundantly clear: Mr. Edwards is too tone deaf to mount a serious campaign, and too stupid to serve as commander-in-chief.
I hope Mr. Edwards enjoys that 28,000 square-foot mansion that he's building back in North Carolina. With his presidential bid slowly imploding, it looks like he'll be off the campaign trail (and back in those new digs) much sooner than expected.