John Edwards: Mystery to the Press
The Beltway Establishment is bewildered and bothered by John Edwards — he's never fully been one of them. The national press also had a difficult time understanding and defining him clearly, describing him in turns as optimistic or angry, as a populist or a phony. He started this election cycle with a bang, putting out one hard-detailed policy initiative after another. His health care plan had the blogosphere abuzz and was an unexpected shot in the arm for a flailing progressive movement. Edwards followed up with environmental, education, economic, trade and labor plans that reinforced the perception that he was walking a true progressive path, so much so that Ralph Nader went on television to call him "the most progressive mainstream presidential candidate I've seen in years."
Obama and Clinton, who for months kept promising to unveil their plans, were caught off-guard by the aggressiveness of Edwards' positioning. And when they finally revealed their plans, their ideas tended to be sketchy in some instances and, in others, stunningly similar to the ones Edwards had put forth long before. The media mostly looked the other way at this policy boosting, and instead focused on an almost fetishistic anointing of either the first female or the first black president of the United States.
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For another point of view about the media brownout of JRE, read the Wilmington Star's piece today in which two supporters gave a similar, but more succinct viewpoint to a reporter. It's about the media's obsession with gender and race, not issues.