Monday, February 25, 2008

Edwards: Economy and War Aren't Separable

This is good news for Obama, both because it may suggest an Edwards endorsement is coming soon, and because it tosses a great new meme into the Obama/Clinton fight, especially in Ohio (update: now Pennsylvania). Here's why: Obama has opposed the Iraq War from the start; Clinton voted for it and has never reneged. (She didn't even start talking about withdrawing troops until halfway into the primaries, when she realized how important it was to Democratic voters.) So Obama is winning the votes of folks who consider the war their most important issue. (And, incidentally, his position on the war is why he's more likely to win against McCain in November -- 2/3 of Americans now are against the war, and even when he's trying to sound more dovish, McCain still admits seeing American troops in Iraq "for decades.")

Meanwhile, though, the economy is starting to tank, and Hillary has been pretending that she somehow played a role in the good economy of the Bill Clinton presidency -- which isn't true, but hey. The economy is an especially important issue in the two states critical to Clinton's chances, Ohio Pennsylvania (with an uncertain industrial base) and Texas (with one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation). So Clinton's been winning (barely) the votes of people who think the economy's the most important issue, and has been banking on that to help her win Texas and Ohio.

Now Edwards comes along and points out the obvious fact that a war that's cost $3 trillion (all funded by debt) is having a tremendously deleterious effect on the economy and is hampering our ability to buffer any recession. (If we don't have the money to give lower- and middle-class tax breaks, start new government projects that create jobs, etc., because we've blown it all in Iraq, we're in trouble.)

And if people in Ohio and Texas Pennsylvania catch on to this truth, Hillary is toast -- and it will be her own hubris and lack of integrity, for supporting the war solely in the triangulationist belief that doing so would help her win the Presidency in the general election, that will have done her in. Classic Shakespearian tragedy, when the powerful fall due to their own fatal flaw. Good for Edwards for making himself meaningful again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post. My sense is that Edwards has delayed endorsement for the same reason that Al Gore has - as consideration for the possibility that neutral "party leaders" may need to intervene before the convention. Whether Edwards is such a party leader, i'm not sure.
Now, I think he does want to have a say before March 4. This is a good indication of which way he's leaning, but its also, as you point out, an important substantive point.