For what it's worth I have decided to support John Edwards.
This was not an easy call.
My own work on Internet politics and on American political history indicates that Hillary Clinton should be favored, that Barack Obama has the potential to be a Reagan or Roosevelt, and that John Edwards is, on the whole, attacking the Nixon-Bush Thesis of Conflict frontally, just when that thesis is collapsing of its own weight.
But statements like this, so simple and straightforward, keep coming to me:
President Bush wants everyone to keep playing the Beltway game. But this isn’t a game - lives are at stake. Young men and women are dying almost every day and Iraq is descending further into civil war. It’s time to end the game - we can’t wait. Congress must tell the president something very simple: No timetable, no funding. No excuses.
There is something fearless in this. And fearlessness has been a hallmark of the Edwards campaign ever since Elizabeth Edwards' cancer turned fatal.
It's fearlessness that the American people need right now, more than anything else. Fearlessness before the Bush Junta. Fearlessness before the media lies. Fearlessness before our own faults. Fearlessness before our own responsibilities. Fearlessness in the face of death.
In fearlessness there is strength.
We have nothing to fear but fear itself, yet fear is a very powerful enemy. Fear has had us in its thrall for six years, come next week. Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
We know now that terrorists can be brought to justice. We have seen it in Germany, we have seen it in England, we have seen it in Spain. We have even seen it here. Each time we act calmly, rationally, legally, without fear, we gain.
Each time we act out of fear and panic, as in Iraq, as in the NSA wiretaps, we lose. It's not just a question of right or wrong. It's a question of what works.
Acting like a Nazi doesn't stop the Nazis -- it only makes you one.
I have had problems with Edwards and his campaign. I thought firing the bloggers was stupid. I think his position on gay marriage is idiotic. I have no idea about his executive capabilities.
But it's also apparent that John Edwards doesn't see himself doing this job alone. Tragedy has battered his ego into something stronger, and wiser, than could have been imagined, perhaps even by himself. Hillary Clinton has become Nixon before our eyes, and Barack Obama remains a work in progress. The rest of the Democratic field consists of the unready, the untested, and of yesterday's men.
I won't even go into the Republicans. None has broken with the Bush Administration in any meaningful way, and none can, because Republican voters, by and large, refuse to make the break themselves, in anything other than rhetoric. So be it. Let time in the wilderness be their measure.
Can John Edwards win? He's first in Iowa, has risen to second in South Carolina, and money is not really his problem. His problem is the media, and its constant harping on the "horse race" to the exclusion of all else.
So get new media. That's what Americans are already doing. That's an ongoing process which will continue. As I've written here many times, the media of the 1960s didn't get the conservative movement, and the newspapers of the 1930s didn't get Roosevelt. In both cases it took new media, and the mastery of that media by the new movement's operatives, to change the tone of the debate.
John Edwards is, for me, the clearest path to where we need to go. So I'm with him. I'm just sad it took me so long to admit it.