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Does Hillary know why Edwards is smiling?
It took months but I finally found someone I know personally who supports Hillary Clinton - a military contractor. His motto is "Vote Hillary or Else!"
Everyone else? They are looking at Edwards or maybe Obama. Yet for Obama they tend to sneak in the caveat of "I still don't know what he stands for. Unless he clear that up soon, I will be supporting Edwards." Also, support for those two slips away if Al Gore kicks his hat in the ring.
The other problem that continues to swirl around people I know is that of "getting out the vote." If Hillary does win the nomination, everyone I know will vote for her, but there is not a lot of volunteerism being vocalized. No where near the level that I saw in the 2006 mid-term election. The 2006 GOTV movement was huge, larger than I have seen since back in my Perot days. There is something about Hillary that just doesn't encourage folks hitting the street and getting the word out for her. And if her GOTV is weak, it will influence the GOTV for the House and Senate races that will be VITAL in 2008.
Yes, people will vote for her, but while holding their noses. That kinda attitude does not drive people to blow all their weekends knocking on doors, enduring cold November rains to had out brochures at polls or spend hours away from the family at a phone bank begging people to "Vote Hillary or Else."
You don't see that with John Edwards.
If you look past the polls, Edwards is the leader on the issues. I would say he is dragging the rest of the field with him.
"I don't need to read a poll, I don't need to see a focus group and I don't need to see what the other candidates are saying," said Mr. Edwards, sitting next to his wife in a blue van pulling away from Kitty's Fine Foods in Charleston. "I know exactly what I would do as president and that's why I have been leading on these issues. And it is exactly the kind of leadership I will provide as president."
Mr. Edwards and his campaign are rallying around the idea that he has demonstrated leadership by getting out front early on major issues, advocating "big change" and then almost daring his rivals to follow his example.
When he challenges other candidates to raise the minimum wage, he gets thunderous applause. Other candidates get that level of applause, but only when they snark off about Bush.
Edwards all seems to be revamping his campaign. Gone are the button-down, adviser steered campaign days of 2004, Edwards has placed himself in the hands of the people.
After running a decidedly traditional race for the White House in 2004 and in the early stages of this contest, Mr. Edwards has quietly overhauled his campaign with one central goal: to harness the Internet and the political energy that liberal Democrats are sending coursing through it. In a slow but striking power shift, advisers who champion the political power of the Web have eclipsed the coterie of advisers who long dominated Mr. Edwards’s inner circle, both reflecting and intensifying his transformation into a more populist, aggressive candidate.
“They want me to shut up,” an unsmiling Mr. Edwards said to an audience in Creston, Iowa, on Thursday — remarks that were videotaped by an Edwards campaign worker and posted both on YouTube and the popular liberal Web site MyDD.com. “Let’s distract from people who don’t have health care coverage. Let’s distract from people who can’t feed their children. Let’s talk about this frivolous, nothing stuff.”
Still, he is in the shadow of Obama and Hillary and he knows it. I think it has a specific effect on Edwards that a lot of people are not noticing - it is making him smarter, more daring and, should I even say this, it has given him a spine.
Could this explain the noticeable shift in Edwards' rhetoric recently? As Democratic strategist David Sirota said in an interview, what we're hearing from Edwards these days is a "full-throated populism."
For instance, aside from the Obama-Clinton flap, the next most significant moment in the YouTube debate came when Edwards said:
"Do you believe that compromise, triangulation will bring about big change. I don't. I think the people who are powerful in Washington - big insurance companies, big drug companies, big oil companies - they are not going to negotiate. They are not going to give away their power. The only way they are going to give away their power is if we take it away from them."
Yep, that is USDA Grade "A," organic, grain-fed, free-range SPINE with no GMO's or antibiotics. That could catch on.