Battlepanda: Matt Yglesias contemplates John Edwards


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Matt Yglesias contemplates John Edwards

In a lot of ways, the idea that John Edwards should be President of the United States was always a little ridiculous. A few years from now in 2008, I think it's going to look even more prima facie ridiculous. Nevertheless, for those of us who feel that the Democrats have been ludicrously unable to devise a persuasive, accurate, and potentially effective rhetorical critique of the contemporary Republican Party and tie it to a reasonable account of what values would motivate a decent governing party, I think there can be little disagreement that Edwards has done much, much better than the rest.
"Prima facie ridiculous" as opposed to plain ol' vanilla ridiculous? Is that just a fancy way of saying "jaw-droppingly redonkulous", like, lets say, a bad actor who's worldview has all the nuance of a black hat/white hat western becoming president in his golden years? Or a playboy draft-dodger getting elected over a decorated war hero on a patriotism/national security platform?

What Reagan and Bush II really proved is that Americans are not out to elect intellectual heavyweights. Rather, they're looking for someone whose heart is in the right place, and taking for granted the fact that there will be plenty of advisors to look after the head stuff. In crass, political terms, this means we have to stop looking for presidential candidates based on IQ or experience or credentials and start looking for a salesman with a good pitch. And in that arena, Johnny Sunshine is a star. Heck, as long as we're bringing in crass, political factors, the fact that he's from the south surely doesn't hurt either. As for his actual ability to run the country? Who cares! The real choice before America every four years is between two systems, two different ways of looking at the world and two very different policy tracks. Unfortunatly, the voters tend to boil this complicated decision down to "would I like this guy in my living room for the next 4 years?"

Unless the Dems have some extraordinarily talented governor socked away somewhere, I'd say go with Edwards.