Go ahead, underestimate John Edwards

originally posted at DailyKos.

Why not, everyone else always has. Just like them, you'll be wrong. Yesterday, kos posted a list of all the Rasmussen polls about current candidates running for 2008 - all but those involving John Edwards. Yesterday, MissLaura skipped Edwards on her Presidential roundup, saying "I went back and forth about the Edwards poll thing, and decided not to since it had already been mentioned".
Over at MyDD, the Breaking Blue and Jerome's stories are apparently a subsidiary of the Obama campaign. Jerome has Edwards listed as a "second-tier" candidate.
Hillary Clinton meets with Republican operatives and their advice, not to worry about "what’s-his-name, Obama". No mention of Edwards.
Go ahead, underestimate him....

just like everyone else always has. I'll give you one guess who comes out on top - every time.

Like, in his FIRST big civil trial.

In fact, Swain had a favor to ask. He had a case in Asheville that the insurance company was offering to settle for $25,000. He wanted a second opinion.
...
Edwards found that a 58-year-old man had been given an overdose of the drug Antabuse at an Asheville hospital, leaving him partially paralyzed and unable to talk. As an alcoholic, the man was not a sympathetic figure; the hospital argued that drinking contributed to his condition.

The defense attorneys for the hospital and their insurance company were expecting an easy settlement. But instead of sitting across the table from the elderly Swain, who had a history of settling cases before trial, they found themselves confronting a young lawyer eager to make his reputation.

Edwards went to trial. The jury awarded $3.7 million in December 1984 -- then the largest personal injury award in state history.

The two law firms split the $1.2 million contingency fee. The insurance industry sent lawyers to figure out what went wrong. They didn't want to be surprised again. Five months later in Greenville, they were.

Or, there was the Jesse Helms machine that was going to steamroll him in his bid to unseat Lauch Faircloth in 1998, as Edwards' himself said:

As the election approached, Edwards told the crowd, "everybody said, 'That young fellow thinks he's going to take on the Helms political machine in North Carolina? Who does he think he is?"

The result?

As always, Edwards aimed high. When he told his mom he was running for the Senate, she asked, "The state senate?" No, said Edwards, the one in Washington. In 1998 Edwards challenged G.O.P. incumbent Lauch Faircloth, then 70, who did his best to portray Edwards as an ambulance chaser. Edwards was prepared for that and worse, according to pollster Harrison Hickman in an interview with the New York Times. When Hickman warned the novice candidate about the ugly nature of politics, Edwards replied, "I appreciate your saying all that to me. But I have to tell you, if you have ever had to climb up on the examining table in the medical examiner's office and tell your son goodbye, there's nothing they can do that's worse."

Edwards won a resounding victory in the primary and survived Faircloth's attacks in the fall, winning 51% of the vote.

Then, of course, there was the 2004 Presidential Election:

Thursday, August 14, 2003
Edwards already at do-or-die stage of presidential campaign
North Carolinian must translate advantages into support

He's doomed.

...at the end of a segment on Edwards' candidacy during ABC News' "This Week" Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos said that several Edwards advisers predicted he would abandon the Senate race by Sept. 16. That's when Edwards has scheduled a formal announcement of his presidential candidacy in his boyhood home of Robbins.

doomed!!!

The result?

The Vice-Presidential nomination, not a drop out.

So, go ahead. Underestimate him. Keep talking about and focusing on Obama and Hillary. Meanwhile...

And the Democratic Frontrunner Is... John Edwards?
Joe Klein scopes out an Iowa poll showing the former vice presidential candidate with a surprising lead among Democratic Presidential hopefuls.
...
The Des Moines Register is reporting these numbers in a poll of Iowa Democrats conducted in October by Harstad Research for a group called Environmental Defense:

* John Edwards 36%
* Hillary Clinton 16%
* Barack Obama 13%
* Tom Vilsack 11%

Among county Democratic Party leaders, the numbers are even more startling:

* Edwards 40%
* Vilsack 15%
* Obama 11%
* Clinton 8%

So, he leads in Iowa, but what about nationally?

McCain leads Clinton by four points (47 to 43 percent) and Obama by five points (43 percent to 38 percent). But — in an interesting twist — the Arizona senator trails Edwards by two points (43 percent to 41 percent).

Great, but what about other primary states?

Edwards criticizes both parties at Las Vegas union meeting
LAS VEGAS - Former Sen. John Edwards criticized Republicans for passing "immoral" tax cuts and Democrats for focusing on the political center at a meeting of mine workers Tuesday in Las Vegas.

"We've got enough politicians, what we need are leaders, " Edwards, the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket in 2004, told a crowd of about 500 members of the United Mine Workers of America, which represents coal mine workers in Canada and the U.S.

For the past year, the former North Carolina senator has been crisscrossing the country as an anti-poverty advocate while laying the groundwork for another presidential bid. On the heels of a sweep through Iowa, Edwards met with two union audiences in the Las Vegas area - miners gathered for their annual convention and a labor-led coalition supporting an increase in the state's minimum wage.

The Primary Schedule?
Iowa - he leads.
Nevada - he is THE union candidate.
New Hampshire - ?
South Carolina - the old home state.

So, please, go ahead, underestimate him. Mock him. Put him down.

I dare you.

Comments

listen, i love john edwards

listen, i love john edwards as much as anyone, and I think he has a good chance of winning the nomination. but you have to admit that if obama jumps in, he sucks a lot of the oxygen out of the race. an obama candidacy would hurt edwards more than anyone else, save hillary, perhaps. edwards has to finish top two in Iowa, win SC and Nevada. that's a tall order, especially if whats-his-name decides to run.

Obama hurts Hillary more

They split voters - they are closer in ideology.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

hmm

Your ideology claim is suspect - all three have about the same lifetime ACU score. Ideology is nearly impossible to measure when it comes to presidential campaigns. They're notoriously light on substance and heavy on rhetoric. Obviously, an Obama candidacy hurts Hillary, because it takes away her status as the unquestioned frontrunner. But I suspect that Edwards will lose a great deal of support to Obama. Why? I simply don't think there's enough room in the campaign for two relatively unexperienced hope machines. Add the fact that Obama is, for better or for worse, the flavor of the month, and Edwards has the short end of the stick.

Now, he's still top 3, but, as I've said earlier, he has to finish top 2 in Iowa and win in NV and SC. Difficult to do against Hillary and Obama, not to mention the fact that Clark will also be fighting hard in some the same states Edwards will be banking on.

Sure it will be hard.

Otherwise, everyone but Edwards would just quit. This is going to be a long, bloody battle. I think that John Edwards has become a much more serious candidate in the last two years, and by that I mean a more serious person, he was obviously a serious "candidate" last time - he beat a lot of experienced politicians.

In this election, John Edwards is going to be talking about the hard decisions that other Democrats have been ignoring for fear of being labeled liberal. Universal healthcare, public financing of campaigns, intervening in Darfur and Uganda, a living wage.

I think that those who hear him speak will understand that he is for what they are for, progress. Many will flock to Obama and Clinton, no doubt, this is going to be fun.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

obama

I think Obama hurts Hillary a lot more than Edwards. But, I also think that Obama makes this a 3 way race instead of a 10 way race, which helps Edwards.

Good job on the diary though, another bluenc diary on the top of KOS recc list.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

I agree with BleuSouth

If Edwards is smart he met with Obama, promised him VP, and Obama started running.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Right On!

As you probably know, I'm supporting Obama. However, I do very much like Edwards, and for me he would be a strong second choice. However, for whatever reason, he seems to have become the Rodney Dangerfield in the present field of Democratic presidential candidates. The media, the pundits, and the party big wigs seem to count him out, and for no discernible reason.

For those supporting Edwards, the good news is that what matters most, and way more than a legion of experts speculating before the fact, is what the voters say two years from now in Iowa and New Hampshire. Their opinion will be decisive, and with that decisive audience Edwards is doing just fine, thank you very much.

I supported Howard Dean in 2004, and I came to realize, through an agony of unremitting pain, how truly irrelevant early polls can be.

Frankly, even though this petty prejudice against Edwards is maddening, the fact that he is so far under the radar might be to his great advantage. By the time a year and half has passed the experts will have grazed on the carcasses of more than a few, and they eat first those who are fat and fun to kill.

Your analysis however, is excellent and very, very persuasive.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

That's true.

Dean was second in my mind after Edwards, so I always wanted the best for him. When Edwards was struggling and Dean was doing well, seemed like it would end that way.

Ford offers another example of how polls CAN be wrong, not that they always are - look at Santorum. But, in a "caucus" like Iowa, it really comes down to who has the experienced advocates that know how to work the system. At least, that is what I've read and heard.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I assume you're referring to

I assume you're referring to Harold Ford, Jr? If so, the polls were right. The day of the election, the polls had Corker winning by about 4-6 points. As I recall, that's pretty close to the final margin.

we're talking about far-distant polls.

Ford had built up a nice big lead at one point, not Casey sized, but momentum and the polls seemed to be his.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

no way

when rasmussen polled the race in december of '05, i recall they had ford up by about 5-6 points. by the new year, he was down by about 3-4. he and corker traded the lead the whole time. ford was never in the driver's seat.

He was leading in the polls....

even though people had no intention of voting for him. If you don't agree with the example, I'm sure we can both agree on the sentiment.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

What about Bill Richardson (New Mexico)?

Richardson reminds me of what Wesley Clark had in '04. Both are strong candidates, and could win a general, but they don't have the campaign structure to win a primary.

If Richardson picks up steam, he may be one to watch.

In a general, Richardson would be key in bringing out the split-ticket hispanic votes in key states, such as Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Edwards voted good as a Senator for our state, but I just wish he did more for NC while he represented us. He has a great foundation, but that should have been something he put together on the state level when he was here as well.

eh

I thought he would have made a bigger splash in 04 than he did. I just dont think he has the ability to get support outside of the southwest. Not because of ideology or race, but because I just dont see him doing much on a national level in terms of fundraising or name id.

I like him for the most part, but I liked him a lot more before reading about all the free trade stuff he has done.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Great Diary

I strongly support John Edwards. He's smart, is a terrific speaker, has integrity and substance, and if he can get his message across to the public I believe he'll win. Not to offend anyone who supports Obama, but I can't for the life of me figure out what he stands for. I've listened to him speak and answer questions. His "prepared" remarks are always well delivered and well received. In an impromptu setting, however, he flaps in the wind and when he's finished talking I don't know what he said. My eyes glaze over.

I think George is correct about there being an advantage to being under the radar at the moment.

Stan Bozarth

Whistling Past Edwards

How much of this MSM/ punditocracy could be attributable to the recent 5 minutes o'fame of Thomas Schaller's idea of ignoring the South in order to build a Democratic majority? A Southern politico at the top of the ticket wouldn't necessarily appeal to a strategy of fertilizing greener pastures out West.
I understand that Schaller isn't advocating abandoning the South, but that's the way I've heard it pushed by armchair strategists who just listen to talk radio.
Do you think Edwards may just be too 'red state' for the blue party?

It's funny...

he's running a more progressive campaign than most others. Not very red state to opt for universal health care, living wage, and public elections.
That is a good point, about the Schaller book, hadn't thought of that. Although if you look at the major players, they all have ties to the south. Well, not Obama I guess.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

"Progressive Populism"

is the way I've heard it described, and I think that's something that either scares MSM or causes them to sneer about class warfare. I think Edwards is great, and is conceptually rebuilding populism from the foundation up. There was an alternet article back in May that said something like he was "trying to define the next New Deal in an era of globalization" at a meeting in Chapel Hill. I think that is just what we need. Progressives have nit-picked policy and procedure for too long-- going to the map over this program or that bill, letting the content define the party. I think Edwards is working to redefine the context, the broader parameters of the whole political discussion.
That's difficult to fit into a soundbite, and harder to write inside-the-Beltway blogs about.

exactly

In the same vein as Tester and Webb. Two "conservative" Dems.

The problem seems to be that the media has bought into the Republican bs that if you like hunting and fishing you are a Republican and if you are a Democrat you either are a commie or you are a DINO.

Maybe we should paint a picture since these guys cant read position statements.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

New Deal.

I'm looking back more and more to the New Deal, when Democrats showed how government could help regular people. That is the feeling we need to restore in the United States, only then will the defeat of the neoconservative movement be complete.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

It will be tricky

There's a lot of resistance within the party and within the populace as a whole to the notion of returning to New Deal-style policies. Look at where the major funding for the party is, and ask yourself, 'Are these folks likely to support a return to the big-government days?' I don't think it's likely. Edwards wil have a difficult road to walk if he's going to insist on a more collectivist approach.

It would also be something of an evolution on his part - he was, after all a member of the DLC for years.

Speaking of Polls...

There's an interesting article about John Edwards at the Clear Politics Blog by Peter Brown the Director of Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute. The article begins...

Lost amid the hype about Barack Obama's presidential prospects, and the conventional wisdom that the Democrats' 2008 nomination is Hillary Clinton's for the asking, John Edwards has been overlooked.

But the former one-term senator from North Carolina, who was the party's vice presidential candidate in 2004, is perhaps its best chance to win the White House.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen