Edwards is an excellent speaker. I'd gotten an inkling of that already from seeing him on TV, but it's far more noticeable in person. His punchlines were good (the most memorable: in reference to the plans to do an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, he commented that the surefire way to know that this was a bad idea, was that Dick Cheney went on national television to tell us that it's a good idea), and his talking points were pithy and easy to remember for the most part. He has the passion, too, that key element that Kerry and Gore were lacking (and that Bill Clinton had so much of). I also liked what he had to say -- universal healthcare seems to be his primary issue, along with sensible foreign policy (not just getting out of Iraq but repairing our reputation in the world), energy and the environment, and the living wage. A good balance of vision and specifics, although I bet some of those get lost and/or refined, as time goes on and especially if he gets the nomination. He ended with a Kennedy-esque call to action, which struck me as both stirring and disingenuous; he can call his a grassroots campaign and himself a Washington outsider all he wants, but as a former Senator and a former vice-presidential candidate, there's only so far you can push that before you start looking like a phony. Still, it was convincing. I am almost convinced.
Not quite, though. I've always known that Edwards's political views were closest to my own of all the top-tier candidates for the election. But can he win the nomination, and can he win in the general? I really can't decide; all of the major candidates have pieces about them that I find interesting and ways in which I think they are seriously flawed. So I'm not ready to throw my weight behind anyone yet. I'm also irritated that I feel like I have to commit this soon. The presidential election is still well over a year away. Why are we already devoting so much attention to this? I understand the desire to anoint a front-runner and throw all the weight of the party behind getting them elected -- the Republicans have been doing this for years, and for the most part it's been a successful strategy for them -- but I also find it frustrating. Do we have to narrow our options so soon? Whatever happened to the dark horse option?
So, still musing. No answers yet. Now I'm really eager to get a look at the other front runners. Wonder if Barak and Hilary are planning visits anytime soon?