By Jeremy Barr
When former senator John Edwards announced his candidacy for president on December 29th, 2006, he was asked by the press how he would dispel the notion that senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the Democratic front-runners. Rather than take an early shot at his competitors, Edwards’ response range with a tinge of populism that would become a central focus of his campaign. He said: “The change I want to see happen… has nothing to do with the candidates. It has to do with getting Americans involved and engaged in changing their own country.”
Although Edwards frequently shifted his message throughout his (second) presidential campaign, his belief that people should get involved for the betterment of their country remained constant. As the issue of the Iraq War began to slip from the minds of voters, Edwards launched a full-scale attack on special interests and corporate greed, tying them to his notion of there being two Americas: one of the rich and one of the poor.
Now that Edwards has bowed out of the race, there is only one candidate who can take up his fight: Senator Barack Obama. Although both Obama and Clinton have talked about “change” and getting people involved in government again, only Obama seems to really mean it. In a race that is less about policy discrepancies and more about motivating people to act and to serve, Obama is the obvious choice. Now Edwards just needs to make it.