A worthy heir of LBJ, Carter, and Clinton

The last three Democratic presidents have been southerners and each one — Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton — was a disaster. This Washington Post profile of Sen. John Edwards suggests that the south’s latest favorite son falls somewhere within the sorry tradition of LBJ, Carter, and Clinton. Author David Broder seems to think (erroneously in my view) that Edwards’ approach to government most closely resembles that of Carter, probably the worst president of the three. Broder claims that Edwards’ southern “populism,” like Carter’s, is not firmly anchored to any set of ideas or any party faction.” But the remainder of the article locates Edwards comfortably in the mainstream of modern “Senate Democratism.” His principle Senate accomplishments seem to be his lawyering on behalf of Clinton during the impeachment proceedings and his work in opposition to President Bush’s judicial nominations. And the centerpiece of his presidential campaign is his criticsim of John Ashcroft for threatenting our liberties and freedoms.
Edwards poses no threat in 2004, although he could find himself on the bottom of the Democratic ticket. But Broder’s profile suggest to me that Edwards has the ambition, the money, and the intelligence to be a serious player in future presidential elections. Indeed, in 2008 he could end up being Hillary Clinton’s most formidable opponent in the Democratic primaries.


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