John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama a few hours ago after dropping hints to the effect for the past week, and the predictable firestorm of debates over “the impact” and “what it means” has been launched. The fact is, the real impact of Edwards’ endorsement extends far beyond the 18 delegates he brings to the table, or whatever arguable measure of political clout he’ll provide. It was a strategic maneuver, and a goddamned genius one at that, at a moment that Hillary desperately wanted to call her own.
Clinton’s big victory in West Virginia was a predicted one, and her campaign is understandably pulling out all the stops (notice that she was interviewed on ALL the major networks today?) in trying to spin it into a burst of momentum and raise some badly needed cash in turn.
That entire plan was blown to pieces at about 7pm tonight. The endorsement was perfectly timed, and whatever hold Clinton may have thought she had on the spotlight yesterday has just been torn away by the meathooks of fresh controversy. The most important impact Edwards’ endorsement is having on the race is the fact that the conversation is once again all about Obama. For him or against him, everybody’s discussing his campaign- not Clinton’s. The West Virginia thunder has effectively been stolen.
The fact is, Obama represents something intangible and aesthetically appealing on a gut level to millions of people, something that’s (hopefully) impossible to artificially manifest. There’s an air of hope- however naive the concept- that a different kind of candidate brings, a candidate who doesn’t represent the current structure and isn’t impossibly tangled in corporate interests. He remains the presumptive Democratic nominee, and will likely remain so.
Sean Hannity, Fox news’ resident smirking, chin-thrusting attack dog is on my TV right this moment, crucifying Obama for what’s being called consultation with known terrorists. He’s making associations between Obama and Louis Farrakhan because the two are among the 19 faces that appear on the cover of Trumpet magazine. They’re continuing their exhausted assault on Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright, dismissing Edwards’ announcement because he’s… what, a populist faggot? Is Ann Coulter in rehab yet?
Look. Edwards has no official power, and his populist message isn’t likely to take hold, but that doesn’t diminish the nobility of his mission- or his endorsement. Edwards will ultimately provide validation for Barack among white working class voters, something that’s badly needed in the Obama camp. With November on the horizon, Obama needs Edwards’ connection to what are being called the “Reagan Democrats,” because McCain is already making a major push for them. And he’s succeeding.
In the meantime, hype is what matters over the next three weeks, and fewer people are believing Clinton’s. The tide is running deep and strong now, and her desperation to keep her head above water is beginning to show.
Jesus, she looks like a dying vampire. Whoever’s running that campaign needs to force-feed her some Ambien. Get her the hell off my TV for a couple hours.