“It wasn’t very long ago that I wrote in this space that, in the argument as to whether the Democratic contest for president is a twoperson or a three-person race, I was a member of the ‘John Edwards is in the Democratic top tier’ camp,” Stuart Rothenberg says in Roll Call.
“I argued his strength in Iowa, clear message and personal appeal make the former North Carolina senator a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, though not quite the equal of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) in the Democratic sweepstakes,” Mr. Rothenberg said.
“I see no reason to change that view, but I’ll admit I’m scratching my head more often at Edwards’ seemingly insatiable desire to run to the left — far to the left — of everyone in the Democratic race with the possible exception of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio).
“Increasingly, political observers are whispering that Edwards seems to be running much as former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) did in 2004, wooing organized labor and recycling a classwarfare message. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Edwards’ message is entirely new — in the previous cycle, his ‘two Americas’ theme addressed issues of class and race as well — only that, of the credible candidates, Edwards has filled the ‘Gephardt slot’ in the current race.
“While almost everyone has nice things to say about the former Missouri lawmaker personally, and Gephardt has his share of loyalists, he finished a disappointing fourth in Iowa last time, something Edwards presumably hopes to avoid.”