Scratch that...

See William Saletan's piece on Edwards' mathematical possibilities. Beyond all the hype and the resignation to Kerry as the nominee over the past few weeks, the fact is, I think, that Edwards is going to have his shot at the nomination. Edwards is just too good a candidate, with too appealing a message to wash out without getting a legitimate chance.

It's probably Kerry's fault more than anything. If there's one thing the media and interested electorate believe in this year, its that no candidate should be a lazy shoe in. There's just too much at stake, too much psychic pain hanging in the balance. And Kerry has yet to face up to a challenge. He has responded to needling during his frontrunnership with bland assurance--while that may be a good choice strategically, it leaves the primary voters remaining with a hollow feeling in the gut. Democrats have watched for 3+ years the sort of stuff Bush and his organization is made of, and many are unwilling to cut their losses for a guy that hasn't proved he can take the heat.

Mass psychoanalysis aside, there's something to be said for Edwards election chances against Kerry's. The last few weeks have proven that Kerry's foreign policy 'gravitas' is hardly secure; its clear the Republicans will make him pick up and dust off every medal he threw on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial one by one, while discrediting triple amputees in the process. That, plus the endless exhumation of his long Senate record which Bush operatives have gleefully promised makes one think twice whether anyone with a meaty public record won't just drown in the BushCheney'04 mire. Maybe its better to have a less target rich environment? Like someone with, say, minimal government experience?

Republicans have certainly made noise about Edwards trial lawyer career, but it seems a bit implausible as a candidacy busting issue. There's not much to say beyond, "He bled a lot of companies dry" and the Edwards campaign always has stories about sick little children to counter with. And I think the "he doesn't have a lot of experience" criticism is more an internal Democratic thing than a real liability (Silly liberals, always looking for a competent candidate). The campaign merely needs to point out that Bush had about the same amount of experience when he took office as Edwards, and the issue *should* be pretty much done for the press corps, although considering their track record, I wouldn't bet on it. Now, Edwards may have some big liabilities up his sleeve--frankly, he has been put through far less onerous a wringer than Kerry--but his contradictions will be harder to weed out and popularize, since I don't think you can Nexis North Carolina trial transcripts.


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