05/15/08 — Convenient nod: Here’s why John Edwards’ endorsement not worth a look

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Convenient nod: Here’s why John Edwards’ endorsement not worth a look

Does anyone else smell the stench of political patronage in John Edwards’ announcement Wednesday that he will be supporting Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination?

He will probably say that it is because his state had not yet spoken and that he wanted to see what the will of the people would be in North Carolina.

And if he were a regular superdelegate, we might buy that explanation.

But the truth is that Edwards is a national figure with power — and responsibility — to the Democratic Party that reaches beyond state lines. He is someone who has been watched and questioned for months — always saying he would make an announcement when he had something to say.

So, why the wait?

The words “Cabinet” and “best offer” come to mind.

While that analysis might seem a little harsh, the alternative is even worse.

How much political courage does it really take to anoint the obvious winner when the tide has clearly shifted his way?

If John Edwards had really wanted to be a power broker, he should have made a decision on whom he would support months ago — when it really was a horse race and there was the possibility that he would choose incorrectly and possibly damage his own alliances.

That’s what you do when you are a leader — you head out first, ahead of the pack, when it is a whole lot riskier to do so.

But as it played out, Edwards has managed to snag a big media splash for an endorsement that — right now — really does not make that much difference.

So, why do it?

Politics is all about alliances and strategy. This endorsement really makes you wonder if, quite possibly, Edwards has done a bit of negotiating with Obama — perhaps for a Cabinet-level post — or maybe more.

It sure would suggest that he was waiting for the best offer — and got it — and now is ready to put his “influence” behind one contender.

We will see what the next couple of months bring.

And to all those pundits out there who seem to be under the false impression that an Edwards nomination brings a North Carolina vote ... not so fast.

This state doesn’t follow anyone. We will make this decision on our own — and it will be for the best candidate come November, John Edwards endorsement or no John Edwards endorsement.

Published in Editorials on May 15, 2008 10:58 AM