One unsurprising (Edwards), the other a bit of a stunner — although not as big of a surprise as hearing that Mark Warner was out.
John Edwards plans to announce his candidacy for the presidency in New Orleans, apparently before the end of the year.
Personally I think it’s kind of tacky to announce from the Lower 9th Ward, which is where it’s supposed to occur, but I am probably over-sensitive to Katrina issues and imagery. I was also offended by those Chevrolet commercials during the World Series that showed New Orleans underwater.
It’s just that Edwards making his announcement from a still-decimated disaster zone reminds me slightly of the 2004 Republican convention in New York City — as a blatantly political move. That said, it’s mitigated somewhat by the fact that Edwards does actually care about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and announcing from there could bring a much-needed media spotlight back to the Crescent City.
I think it should be patently obvious by now where my 2008 loyalties lie, but I’m glad that Edwards is in. I’ve liked him for awhile, and my slight disappointment over his choice of location from which to announce a presidential bid doesn’t change that. But even if I were ambivalent, I’d be glad for another person to enter the field. The Hillary Clinton people seem to want to “coronate” her, and I am deeply against the idea of coronations. That’s how the Republicans acted in 2000 with Dubya. The more legitimate contenders in it (and Edwards is definitely a legitimate contender), the more ideas will be floating around. People are likely to decide based on the debates this time. I think they’re sick of “personality politics.”
Bayh’s dropping out is a bit of a shocker. I really expected him to make a go for it. Perhaps he was intimidated by the MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll (warning: PDF document) that ranked him below the likes of Joe Biden. I don’t know. I think he realized, though, that he couldn’t win, and didn’t want to put himself and his family through that.
And it’s not because I say he couldn’t have won. He was pulling in a fair amount of cash from his donors, but it wasn’t buoying him any in the polls. The problem was that his voting base would have had to have a very good reason to choose him. Bayh is a centrist Democrat with ties to big business. The voters most likely to support him would need a good reason to choose him over others such as Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, and Tom Vilsack, who would appeal to the same group.