John Edwards: More Grit Than Gloss

I’m sad that John Edwards has exited the presidential race. Why? I saw his as the most honest and courageous voice on the national stage, between his populist stand against poverty, naming corporate greed for what it is, and . . . imagine this . . . promoting that Americans should be willing to sacrifice as we address global warming.

I heard Mr. Edwards use those words when I was ten feet away from him at a Portland Business Alliance dinner in 2007 at the Oregon Convention Center. I have heard many speakers and been around many politicians. Yet I was deeply impressed. He was more gritty than glossy, almost in contrast to his good looks.

Mr. Edwards has called Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with the news of his exit, specifically asking them to commit to addressing poverty more in their campaigns. I find it ironic that the populist candidate who stood most firmly for the common man ended up sacrificing his popularity in the process.

What almost nobody is talking about is the fact that poor people will suffer the most as global warming advances, and already are in the low-lying coastal areas of the world.

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5 Responses to “John Edwards: More Grit Than Gloss”


  1. 1 Green Pwr Guy January 30, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    I agree, its sad that unless you have the proper “image” machine behind you in major political races that you quickly become an “also ran”.

  2. 2 JimPanzee January 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    You’re absolutely right. Perhaps doubly worse is that once you’ve lost in the primaries you get marked as “the perennial loser.” Edwards’ results this time were worse than he did in 2004. If he bothers to show up for the next run in 2012 (or hopefully 2016) he’ll likely do even worse.

    How long do we have to wait before another candidate will be brave enough to talk about the problems of class this country faces? How long before we get a president (or candidate) who will be willing to make the hard sacrifices that global warning will demand?

    I have to say, I never thought the Edwards would win and said as much on my blog, but I always had hopes he’d pull it out…or at least earn a higher percentage of the vote. If he was raking in 30%+ it would mean that people were paying attention to our real problems. His loss means they aren’t. It’s not encouraging that Obama or Clinton will pick up Edwards’ talking points that failed to get him the press he deserved.

  3. 3 Colleen January 30, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I too am sad! I do hope Edwards runs for President again. I think his “time” will come. Poverty issues and environmental problems had a louder voice in this election season — thanks to John Edwards.

  4. 4 davidc January 30, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    I also liked what I was hearing from Edwards. I never lost some skepticism about him, however, and I guess that was the case with a lot of people. My concerns about him were fed by a number of reports that seemed to document how as a Senator he had voted in a way that was contrary to the positions he now advocates so sharply. I know that legislative voting records can be easily misrepresented or misunderstood, but these reports were not coming from his political opponents. I’m willing to believe that, freed from the obligations and pressures of office, he’s now showing the “real” John Edwards, one who is in fact willing to take on corporate power in an uncompromising way; but I wish he’d shown more leadership or courage that way during his Senate career. Perhaps he should have simply addressed this issue and described his evolution, in which case I’d have been more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Absent this, and given that he’s not superior to Clinton in experience nor Obama in ability to inspire, I am one of the many who leaned toward those two. In many ways, Biden was probably my favorite, but the media wrote him off from the beginning, and that tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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