John Edwards reconsideredAugust 19, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
For all the talk of Edwards’ phoniness and self-aggrandizement, his actual legacy is proving (unintentionally) selfless: He – and his wife — made the Democratic field more progressive, courageous, and humane. Edwards set the bar on health care, pushing his competitors to field better policies and offer more concrete commitments. He helped redefine the foreign policy discussion by arguing that, in supporting the Iraq War, Edwards – and other hawks — were not merely misled, but fundamentally mistaken. Since the close of the primary battle, Elizabeth Edwards has proven a far more relentless and effective critic of John McCain’s health care plan than Barack Obama.
Indeed, it was the one aspect of Edwards that most everyone agreed was authentic and admirable — his love and commitment to his dazzling wife Elizabeth — that has been tarnished. The money paid to Hunter and the lies Edwards told his staff should sicken decent people. But so far as his legacy goes, there’s something almost fitting in this denouement: The candidate the media accused of relentless self-promotion and hollow public policy commitments ends his career with his personal image wrecked but his political commitments ascendant. The media may say they told you so, but they didn’t.