It’s time to take a serious look at John Edwards - - again.
Capitalizing on the “anybody-but-Hillary” wave that swept over Hawkeye State Democrats last Thursday, former Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate Edwards emerged as a second-place winner in the Iowa caucuses. He achieved this despite his comparatively low levels of campaign funds, and a campaign organization that perils in comparison to that of both his first place rival Barack Obama, and the opponent who now in some sense “trails” him, former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And given this, and given the highly unpredictable nature of this entire campaign cycle, it’s worthwhile to consider anew what an Edwards presidency might look like.
First, on military matters and foreign affairs, Mr. Edwards would enter the White House having pledged to end within his first eleven months in office, the very war that he voted to support in 2003 when he was a Senator. Similar to his former presidential running mate John Kerry, Edwards has the dubious distinction of having “voted for the war,” before he choked-up, quivered his lip, apologized, and vowed to help “end it.” The “repent and change your ways” approach has been a viable campaign strategy for Edwards, but it could make for some rough going after inauguration day.
Among his rivals Obama and Clinton, Edwards seems to have successfully positioned himself as the “most anti-war” candidate. And while this seems to have given Edwards significant appeal with the extreme, pacifist left-wing of his party, it doesn’t make for a successful presidential administration.
The problem for a “President Edwards” would be found in the reality that, rightly or wrongly, the United States will need and want to have some level of military presence in Iraq for years, if not decades to come. Given the stabilizing effect of last year’s “troop surge,” and given that by the middle of 2008 the Bush Administration will likely have significantly scaled-back the number of troops in Iraq anyway, the notion of an on-going military presence in that region is becoming less of a problem to all but the most radical and far-left leaning in the Democratic Party. President Edwards, needing to behave like an actual President and not just a left-wing candidate, would thus inevitably renege on his pledge made in Iowa, and therefore chip away at his own credibility just a bit.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.