Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Personal Pain Becomes Public Politics

Weekly Presidential Politics - 3/28/07

The recent announcement of Elizabeth Edwards's latest battle with cancer was as an objective of an issue you will ever get in a political campaign. Cancer does not care about Democrats or Republicans. Cancer does not care about ideology or on which side of an isle you sit. Cancer is terrible. Cancer is a tragedy. We all agree on it. The news of Elizabeth's latest battle with cancer is as sorrowful of a development in a campaign you will ever see. It's an issue everyone wishes did not exist.

But it is an issue.

I wish no one would talk about it. I wish we lived in a country where a personal announcement does not have to be made in front of a throng of cameras with flashing bulbs and eager reporters writing down your pain on a notepad. I wish we lived in a country where, even if the announcement had to be made, pundits did not immediately politicize the issue like it had a hundred times the weight of a vote in the Senate or an executive state budget.

But it is an issue.

I am guilty of the aforementioned punditry. Upon hearing the news, I felt terribly for Elizabeth, John, their children, and all those close to the family. Shamefully, my mind eventually turned to the impact this will have on the upcoming race. After all, to write a presidential politics blog while avoiding the biggest development of the race would be impossible. It had to be discussed.

So my buddy Darren and I began an email correspondence, which you can read here, discussing the political impact. For fear of redundancy, I won't use this limited space to repeat too much of what was written. Suffice it to say, my previously supreme confidence of an Edwards nomination has all but disappeared.

So what do I think will happen?

I think it's politically foolish to think these developments won't hinder his campaign, for reasons you can read by clicking on that link. Before the announcement, I was confident the Edwards campaign wouldn't have peaked until the primaries. Now, I fear it peaks this week or the next. The Edwards family will be lauded for courage, determination, and for what they say is putting the country before anything else. In time, however, the decision to push forward in a rigorous campaign with an ailing wife with children aged eight and six will be looked on as a decision very few Americans would have made had they been put in that same situation. Thus, Edwards will not win. The mounting pressure of an uphill battle will be supplemented with the idea that the next year might be wasted in a campaign, when Edwards could be spending time with his wife and family. One night, the decision will seem easy and clear.

John Edwards will withdraw from the Democratic Primary before a single primary vote is cast.

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