I just posted this over at a private forum where friends were discussing with regret Edwards’ withdrawal from the race, speaking about how most people were focused on the more superficial aspects (the haircut, for instance) while ignoring how he ran farther to the left than both Clinton and Obama, along with hopes that he might have a role to play in a planned Democratic administration. My thoughts took a more involved turn towards how things stand now as we approach Super Tuesday, and so here they are, with a number of edits to protect privacy:
Meanwhile, here’s something to consider — the reactions here about Edwards aren’t all that different towards saddened reactions on the right to Thompson’s withdrawal (ie, the one ‘really’ talking about the issues is out, the media and people never really gave him a chance, they only wanted to focus on something seen to be superficial, in this case Thompson’s purported laziness vs. the haircut, etc.). And similarly there’s talk over whoever is the Republican nominee should include Thompson somewhere in the High Position plan.
So far, so familiar. But I really do get a sense of self-loathing outrage and frustration over how the race has shaken down on the GOP side, something that verges on the politically suicidal. As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s *still* not even February yet, just, and as [one poster] has (I think correctly) pointed out over the years, temporary disruptions on the right do not equate with the long brewing fracture that has yet to actually happen, so forget premature celebrations on that front. But skipping around my usual preferred locations to observe what’s going down, the infighting is getting bitterer, the denunciations angrier, and many, many times, you get people saying, “It doesn’t matter, we’re going to lose anyway, no matter what.” Thinking back to the inflated puffery we got in spades after 2004, it’s amazing how swiftly any sense of real confidence has collapsed on a broad framework.
In contrast, I just don’t get that from the Democratic side. As [one poster] has said and as [another] reinforces, we are dealing with two people in the race who aren’t out to really upset any apple carts, and we know that and have to live with it. And I’m not blind to the fact that there’s a substantial ‘anyone but Hilary’ mood out there. But things are coalescing rapidly in terms of a general (GENERAL, not specific) approach to this election and platform on the Democratic side, while as I told [another poster] last week in a phone conversation and have muttered a bit since then, ultimately this election is going to be decided by two factors beyond anyone’s control — Iraq (still there, still not ‘going away’) and the economy — with a third being understandable concern over where the Supreme Court goes next. But that last one is determined after the election, not before (not unless Stevens suddenly passes within the next few months, and if THAT happens all bets are off).
With that in mind, two things to consider:
* Petraeus and the Armed Forces will ask for a freeze in the troop reduction levels, saying that they need to stay elevated for some time to come in order to ensure security in Iraq. This would mean that things could stay at the very VERY fragile but in-comparison-to-the-immediate-past calm level for some time to come, but that would mean it could do so past the election. It could easily be used by the GOP as a sign to all that the surge as worked. Watch that one carefully.
* Meantime, GOP members are starting to drop like flies in Congress — a swathe of representatives have indicated they are retiring and a number of their seats are considered up for grabs and/or likely to go Democratic. On a lesser level, the same can be said of the Senate. The likelihood of the Democrats in both houses increasing their margin of majority is strong (sadly, the likelihood of them rolling over at many points to the White House is still strong too).
The game is so long at this point — nine months to go! — that I’m perversely fascinated. Perversely because watching and waiting is about all we can do, I think. But we’ll see.
Meantime I’m still going to concentrate on those state propositions and some other local measures. As well as wait on the next election cycle, which in California is early June. Busy year.