There’s a certain buzz about John Edwards elucidated by Stephen Greene at VodkaPundit and also by Robert Novak in the Chicago Sun-Times. Many are comparing Edwards to Clinton (minus the frequent "bimbo eruptions", of course). He seems to be what the Democrats are looking for, a moderate Southerner who has little baggage.
Of course, the problem with Edwards is that he has so little baggage precisely because he’s so little known. He’s a one-term Senator with hardly a distinguished national record. Before Iowa his name ID was low and his campaign style couldn’t make up for the incredible lack of traction he was getting. He’s still well behind on fundraising and isn’t expected to do much better than fourth in New Hampshire.
Edwards certainly has a bright political career – as a possible VP nominee and later Presidential candidate. Unfortunately his chances at the national race seem slim – he probably will only come in second in his home territory of South Carolina behind either Clark or Dean. He doesn’t have the money or the manpower to be an effective competitor in the brutal national race that lies ahead.
While Edwards would be a difficult Democrat for Bush to beat, he is also inexperienced and his performance at the St. Anselm debate was not reassuring. His inability to understand two key issues – the Defense of Marriage Act and the basics of Islam made him look inexperienced. He may have an excellent speaking style, but that isn’t enough to win him the race. I’m guessing that Edwards drops out after South Carolina – although with the way the race keeps changing, anything could happen between now and then.
UPDATE: Thankfully I’m not alone in this – David Frum thinks exactly the same. Edwards has the style, but not the substance.