If you were still in doubt as to whether or not John Edwards is trying to set himself up to run for President in 2016, check out his interview with the Washington Post.
One of the unfortunate results of the whole Reille Hunter scandal is that it has led people to forget just why exactly the political career of John Edwards self-destructed in the first place. All of the focus on his personal life has created the false impression that Edwards was a victim of the "morality police." It's left the door open for him to achieve a Gary Hart-style rehabilitation.
The truth of the matter, of course, is that the whole Reille Hunter affair was really just the icing on the cake when it came to the collapse of the Edwards campaign. Long before the general public even knew who Reille Hunter was, John Edwards had pretty much transformed himself into a political nonentity. This was because, consistently over 2007 and 2008, John Edwards proved himself to be one of the most empty-headed, shallow politicians to have ever been forced upon the American public.
American history is full of leaders who emerged stronger from scandal. Often times, the most sordid of scandals actually forced these politicians to grow up and become the type of leaders that we continue to celebrate to this day.
Judging from his interview with the Post, John Edwards is not one of these men. If anything, he's emerged from Hunter scandal with even less substance than he had beforehand.
For example, when asked if it was a mistake to continue running for President even while this scandal threatened to explode and his wife was battling terminal cancer and the primary race was obviously shaping up to be a battle exclusively between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Edwards replies, "Time will tell."
Well, Time has told, John. Time tells us that, even before the Hunter story broke, you were pretty much a total nonfactor in the Democratic primaries. Time also reminds us that your campaign's reaction to being in third place was to launch a series of personal attacks on both Obama and Clinton. Though Time is hardly an expert, I think Time would probably agree that there's something really quite arrogant about insisting on staying in a race that you obviously can not win even though you fully know that, by staying in that race, you're massively increasing the chances of a sordid little story coming to light and causing your terminally ill wife to be publicly humiliated while she fights for her life.
Now while this would seem to suggest that John Edwards, if nothing else, was being incredibly selfish, it turns out that he wasn't running just for his own pleasure. John Edwards was a man on a mission. And that mission was apparently to expose the fact that there are -- believe it or not -- poor people in America!
Or as Edwards himself put it:
"If you were to ask people during the campaign who's talking most about [poverty], it was me. There's a desperate need in the world for a voice of leadership on this issue… The president's got a lot to do, he's got a lot of people to be responsible for, so I'm not critical of him. But there does need to be an aggressive voice beside the president."
It's really hard to know where to start with a statement like this. First off, I guess I'll point out the obvious. It is true that John Edwards spent a lot of time talking about poverty. It's also true that he's still talking about poverty. Quite frankly, that's about all that John Edwards is doing as far as poverty is concerned. John Edwards specializes in talking. Indeed, a close examination of his political career will reveal that he's far more comfortable talking about problems than actually taking the risks necessary to solve them.
Humorously, Edwards feels the need to assure us that "(t)here's a desperate need in the world for a voice of leadership on this issue..." I have to wonder just where exactly John Edwards is getting his news from. Every world leader has -- in some way -- set himself up as a "voice of leadership" on poverty. Whether promising to keep the middle and upper classes from ever having to risk poverty or trying to rally the lower classes against those that they hold responsible for poverty, the exploitation of the uneven balance of wealth and resources in the world has pretty much served as the fuel for every government currently in existence.
If anything, John Edwards appears to have the type of viewpoint on poverty that could only be afforded by somebody who has never actually had to deal with it on first hand basis.
Edwards goes on claim that be staying in the presidential race, he pushed Obama to embrace "progressive" positions. Actually, I believe Edwards has that backwards. If anything, Obama's continued presence in the race inspired everyone from John Edwards to Hillary Clinton to John McCain to move sharply to the right in an effort to paint Obama as an extremist.
In the end, Obama did not make the economy his focus because of John Edwards giving speeches on poverty. He made the economy his focus because he knew that was an issue he could exploit all the way to the White House.
Welcome back, John Edwards.
Thank you for reminding us why we showed you the door in the first place.