Dick Gephardt, a fairly serious candidate, is exiting the presidential race after running fourth in Iowa, so that leaves ... John Edwards? It is hard to get much feel at all for Edwards, the millionaire trial lawyer and senator from North Carolina. What is he for? What is he against? What did he ever do, come to think of it, besides earn money in the courtroom? He is (somewhat unaccountably, given his past occupation) the Nice Candidate. That's nice, certainly. But niceness is not quite the same thing as seriousness. A boyish-looking trial lawyer as leader of the free world. Um ...
In due course, the Democrats will settle on someone because they have to. And then? The job will be to defeat a thoroughly serious and, at this stage, thoroughly seasoned president on the grounds that ... that he gave us back too much of our tax money? That he should have left Iraqis in the sanguinary embrace of Saddam Hussein?
Somehow, the more volatile Democrats have convinced themselves that Americans in general hate and despise George Bush the way they do. This illusion has helped produce one of the most helpless presidential slates an American political party has ever fielded. The damage to a formerly serious party stands to get worse -- far worse -- from here on out.
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