It is difficult to express the frustration that being involved in politics can bring. Supporting candidates that disappoint for the sake of appeasing the concerns of their handlers or that simply can not broadly appeal to the mainstream of voters can be heartbreaking to a hardcore, true believer.
I purposely did not want to support anyone this early in the cycle, but there is something about John Edwards that makes me believe he is the real deal. Maybe it is the way he has made fighting poverty a centerpiece to his campaign. Maybe it is his populist message. Maybe it is the way he handles extremely difficult things with integrity, like the decision to keeping running despite his wife's health issues (which speaks volumes both about him and Elizabeth--who I am more than sure--persuaded him to keep going).
And then there is his ability to connect with people. Whereas I did not support him in the 2004 caucus (in favor of some guy named Dean), I realized that it was because he has that "charisma thing" that the other Clinton had in buckets--and, frankly, I was wary of him, thinking he was all flash and no substance.
But, as I have listened to John Edwards subsequently, I know now that he is not a one-trick pony, he talks to people about policy with depth, thoughtfulness, and with a desire to really speak to people about what concerns them. He has plans for what to do about Iraq. He has a plan to address global warming. He has a plan to address health care.
I know...but, but, but...Does he benefit from being in the barrel last time? Perhaps, he has his boots on the ground in Iowa, but he was on the losing ticket last time, so it is half and half in my book. Does he benefit from his personal wealth? Absolutely. Does he benefit from being telegenic? For many casual voters, I'm sure.
However, at the end of the day, what I ask myself is, does he demonstrate a depth of character and could he handle the rigors of being president? This is what I hang my hat on. When it all comes down to it, we need a president we can trust to do the right thing and won't wither when a tough decision crosses his desk. I think John Edwards is worth my support. I think he will be a great president. I hope he gets the chance.
P.S. Read this article by Barbara Ehrenreich (author of "Nickeled and Dimed") "Catty about Cancer"