Nineteen delegates? That’s all?
Before people get too worked up over John Edwards’ endorsement yesterday of Barack Obama, let’s remember that this “working class hero” — i.e. Edwards — was run out of the Democratic campaign as a miserable failure and phony.
He managed just 19 delegates before he dropped out. The reason?
The man with the $400 haircuts had no credibility with working class Americans back then, and he doesn’t now. In fact, he joins another candidate, Barack Obama, whose main appeal is with wealthy Americans. The notion that his endorsement of Obama helps the Illinois Senator to connect with people who actually work for a living is outrageous.
Let’s remember a few things about Edwards:
As reported in an article called Estate of Denial, the New York Post had this to say about Edwards’ humble background —
The megarich Edwards, worth upwards of $30 million, is slated to use the very symbol of American blight as a political prop to announce his candidacy tomorrow: the Lower Ninth Ward of Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.
It’s a far cry from his new Shangri-La nestled amid soaring Carolina pines on a 100-acre estate outside of Chapel Hill.
“It’s one thing to be a millionaire, but it’s totally tone-deaf to be using Katrina victims while you’re putting the finishing touches on your multimillion-dollar mansion,” said one Democratic operative.
Edwards’ posh estate is a work in progress, with a recently completed 10,700-square-foot main mansion as its centerpiece.
The $3.1 million ritzy pad sports 10 rooms, 61/2 baths, two garages, a huge country kitchen with hardwood floors, and sweeping verandas to soak in the view of the verdant pasture.
Two other residences – one for 22-year-old daughter Cate and one for visiting friends and family – are already under way, according to Orange County, N.C., property records. A two-story, 6,366-square-foot mini-mansion is about 70 percent complete.
On the day that he dropped out of the race, the LA Times pulled data from exit polls showing that Edwards, like Obama, did best among the wealthiest voters:
In New Hampshire, he finished third among lower-income voters, taking 16% of those earning less than $50,000 a year, according to media exit polls. He won 17% of those voters making more than $50,000. He won 11% of voters without high school diplomas and 18% of college graduates.
In the Iowa caucuses, he lost handily to both Obama and Clinton among voters with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 but took a quarter of those in households earning more than $50,000, beating Clinton in that category (and placing second in the state overall, his best showing in the campaign).
And a new Los Angeles Times/CNN survey of California Democrats, taken before Edwards dropped out, showed him performing far better among upper-income voters than lower-income voters.
Let’s also remember that this “man of the people” was one of the few who did not protest when ABC News and WMUR-TV decided to toss the “second tier” candidates out of the debate. Edwards generously told the Union Leader: “I’m staying out of that. I don’t get to set the rules for the debates. I’ll let the people who are in charge of the debates set the rules. And I’ll be there.” I bet the Biden, Dodd, and Kucinich supporters out there remember Edwards’ solidarity with “the people.”
On the campaign trail, Edwards’ campaign themes went nowhere with most Democratic voters. In calling for Edwards to quit the campaign, my local newspaper, the Citizen, had this to say:
Edwards was humiliated in the Nevada caucuses Saturday, attracting only 4 percent of the vote.
Edwards was jubilant when he finished second in the first test of the candidates in Iowa, but it was euphoria soon lost. He ended far behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in New Hampshire, sliding to attract only 17 percent of the Democrats and the unenrolled in the record turnout of Granite State voters.
Edwards tilts so far to the left it’s a wonder he doesn’t tip over. It’s been more evident in this campaign than previous ones. His has been liberal rhetoric like that right out of the early 1920s.
As Hillary Clinton demonstrated in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, that far left rhetoric of Edwards and Obama is not cutting it with middle class America. So, if Barack and his supporters want to believe that Edwards is an asset that will throw up a smoke screen to hide their elitist attitudes and policies, they are deluding themselves.
Edwards himself had this to say to NPR on May 9th about the value of his endorsement:
“I would not inflate the value of my supporting or endorsing any candidate. That’s blown way, way out of proportion.” He contends endorsements carry more weight with the media than with voters: “I don’t think they make a huge difference.”
And there’s no guarantee those 19 delegates Edwards won will switch to Obama. In the final analysis, Edwards reached out to Obama with an empty hand. No doubt he is hoping Obama will help fill it with a cabinet or VP offer.