Despite the relative lack of ink the MSM is giving him, John Edwards appears to be surging into a tie with Clinton and Obama in Iowa— and his organization has the experience of 2004 to help him close the deal at the caucuses.
Dan Balz’s campaign diary post at The Trail discusses the focus Edwards is bringing to his tough message to change American politics.
It is a call to arms that is raw and angry, populist
and pugnacious. It is a message that is as
exhausting and is it confrontational. It is a message
makes Al Gore's "people versus the powerful"
seem tame and timid in comparison.
One Edwards supporter, departing after a big rally
in Des Moines on Saturday night, said he hasn't
heard a message as passionate or strong since
Bobby Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign…
The enemy he sees is corporate America and
corporate greed. His message seeks not to unite
America but to finish what he describes as "an epic
struggle" against forces that are, literally, killing
America -- destroying jobs, holding down wages,
putting ordinary Americans out of work or denying
them medical care.
"You need somebody in the arena who will never
back down," he says.
This is strong brew for American politics and it’s usually portrayed in the MSM as too negative and too populist for the American voter. There’s a lot of feeling in the country, however, that the system is actually broken. When voters look at the economy being battered by the subprime mortgage scandal, runaway healthcare costs, and the long-term disappearance of jobs, while the nation is still mired in an unpopular war, serious change doesn’t look as unappealing as the pundits paint it.
It will be interesting to see whether caucus voters choose to stay with the corporatist politics of the mainstream frontrunners or break towards a message of confronting it. If Edwards actually wins in Iowa or breaks into the top two, watch for a furious attack on his anti-corporate message as "dangerous" and "simplistic."
See Memeorandum for discussion.