Today I hear that John Edwards is dropping out of the Democratic race, following the withdrawl of Rudy Giuliani from the Republican race yesterday. Apparently Edwards was hoping that in a meaningless primary in Florida (no Democratic delegates will be seated) that voters would feel free to vote for him. Maybe they did, but clearly not enough of them did.
Edwards has always been a tireless advocate for the poor and the disenfranchised. It is significant that he will make his withdrawl speech in New Orleans, which has never received the kind of help from the Federal Government that President Bush promised right after Katrina.
So the candidates who remain are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and John McCain and Mitt Romney for the Republicans Yeah, I know that there are still other Republicans running, but they won't win. Huckabee's shoe-string campaign couldn't afford even a narrow loss last week in South Carolina, but that's what they got. Ron Paul is only still running because he has the opposite problem from Huckabee-- a lot of money to spend and no sizeable base of support within the GOP. After millions of people gave him a ton of money a few weeks ago, Paul pretty much has to keep running because otherwise those Paul supporters would be furious with him for wasting their donations, and something tells me they're not the most forgiving type. It's conceivable though that he could still run in the General as a Libertarian.
Being a Democrat, I'm going to focus on our side. I may put up a post on the Republicans later this week.
I do feel that on the Democratic side, we are left with on balance two candidates who I could support. Right now I am for Obama (I was for Richardson but he quit), but while I've been critical of Hillary in the past I won't have any problem supporting her if she does win the nomination. Obama's commitment to get us out of Iraq is much more believable, and if there is one good thing about his meteoric rise from just being a community activist in Chicago, it's that he's not all that far removed from ordinary life as lived by ordinary people (and if he doesn't remember what that was like you can be sure that Michelle Obama will yank him back to reality in a hurry.) Beyond that, he's right when he talks about moving beyond 'red' states and 'blue' states and remember that we live in the United States. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have been marked by hyper-partisanship which has resulted in one party being shut out of the process when one side has complete control, and gridlock when that is not the case. I personally think that all began with Newt Gingrich and his politics of slash-and-burn campaigning, but regardless of how it started, there is no question that things are more charged than they have been in the past. The atmosphere in Washington today, far from being an honest debate on the issues with the idea of reaching a solution to the problems facing the country and its people, is now about playing a game of 'one-upsmanship' and 'gotcha' against the other side. To be blunt, I believe that President Barack Obama could change that while President Hillary Clinton could not.