Today, John Edwards challenged his Democratic colleagues over Iraq policy in a way that he didn't choose to on stage at the nominee debate:
``We had a bunch of members of the United States Congress on stage. What are they going to do?'' he said the morning after the debate. ``What they ought to do is send him another bill with a timetable. If he vetoes that, they should send him another bill with a timetable. They should not back down from this president because this is not about politics. It's about life and death and war.''I think he is right on this. But I also think it's a bit of a cop-out to have said it the day after, instead of on stage. It leaves me wondering if he really means it or if he's just taking a position where he can try to be all things to all people. The folks who agree strongly with his words will notice them while the majority will never hear about them, instead remembering the debate. In that debate, only Richardson had the gumption to say he would get the US out of Iraq on day one of his presidency.
Edwards also said that the Democratic nomination is now a three-horse race:
Eight Democrats are vying for the party nomination, but Edwards argued that the race for the nomination boils down to Clinton, Obama and himself.Agian, he's probably correct. Which is a depressing thought for anyone not wrapped up in partisanship for one or another candidate yet.
``At this point, it's a just a function of how much publicity everybody is getting,'' Edwards said. ``I think it's a three-person, very competitive race.''
Personally, I don't trust any of the three as far as I could throw them. Every single one reminds me way too much of Tony Blair. Like Tony Blair back in the early and heady days of his time at the pinnacle of politics, they hold out the promise of being a healer, a uniter, a level-headed leader who will make decisions based on what's best rather than party ideology. I've this horrid suspicion, though, that each will turn out to be like Blair in another way instead - trying to be all things to all people and ending up being just a conservative-lite politico with no real principles except a wish for power.
And yet, again like Blair, the alternatives are far far worse. The Republican candidates are all chasing each other to the extreme Right, unapologetic about their flip-flopping. Each is trying to get elected on the support of the only segment of the vote that will still vote for any kind of Republican - the die-hard 30% or so of Bush cheerleaders.
Which means that most voters will swallow any misgivings about the eventual Democratic nominee and vote for them - because otherwise that 30% might just be enough and right now anything is better than another Bush.
But I'm telling you right now. Don't be surprised if your golden hero turns out to have feet of clay. Don't be surprised if you end up in another senseless war in the Middle east. Don't be surprised if you find that the next incumbent of the White House takes the Bush claim of executive privilege and turns it into usueful precedent in pursuit of further control instead of destroying the whole pernicious idea.
I may be wrong. I hope I am. I don't think I am. And still, it's better than another Bush.
And before commenters climb all over this Brit for having the audacity to speak his opinion on American affairs, remember that the next president will be the most powerful man or womoan in the world, just as the current one is. That gives every person on the planet a stake in the next election in the US. Just because I don't get to vote until I'm an actual American citizen doesn't mean the outcome has no effect on my life. That means I get an opinion.