John Edwards and the art of losing well

With John Edwards withdrawing from the race, I think it’s important to take note of something sort of extraordinary: he’s leaving with his reputation not only intact, but actually enhanced.

When you think about it that almost never happens. Today, we tend to be a one shot society politically — hell, in every respect, really. But sticking with politics, look at the tattered bodies scattered across the field of honor: Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John Kerry, Bob Dole, Joe Lieberman (please try not to cry for poor Joe), Michael Dukakis and so many more. All were once serious presidential candidates, people given a real chance of winning, and all suffered damage to their public reputations, in some cases severe damage, as a result of running for and losing the presidency.

But not so John Edwards. Edwards leaves the race, if anything, more highly regarded by the Democratic rank and file than he was before. He remains a viable political figure.

Why? It’s about running and also losing with grace, I think. It’s about running on the side of the poor and the working class, instead of just trying to pile up huge mounds of cash from special interests. It’s about running on issues that matter, rather than personalities and negative imagery.

I’m showing my age here, but I remember reading a book (when it was new) written by Alistair Cooke 30 years ago, titled Six Men. It was made up of a series of short biographies of six men Cooke had known in his life who had a great impact on him, one of whom was Adlai Stevenson. He said at the end of the chapter on Stevenson, as I recall — and this isn’t an exact quote — that there are sometimes honorable reasons for someone not becoming the President of the United States.

John Edwards may never be president, but by conducting his campaign with honor he’s left both the Democratic Party and the nation at least a little better off for his having tried.

Thank you, John. We here at The Last Chance Democracy Café wish you and your family the very best.

4 Responses to “John Edwards and the art of losing well”

  1. hari seldon Says:

    I,m saddened that Edwards has dropped out. It looks like McCain is going to be the Republican nominee and I believe that John Edwards was the only candidate who could beat him. In my opinion, there are too many Hillary haters and bigots in this country for either Hillary or Obama to win.

    Further, Edwards was talking about the issues that have come to matter, (e.g. the economy), long before Osama and Hillary chimed in with their own plans.

    I wish John and Elizabeth Edwards well. Their elegance and courage have set a standard that is rarely seen in the viscious world of politics.

  2. hari seldon Says:

    I just noticed that in my previous post, I typed Osama rather than Obama in the second paragraph. I feel like a fool for having done this. And I also feel like the brainwashed assassin in “The Manchurian Candidate.”

  3. kouka96792 Says:

    I supported Edwards as well as Obama financially. Now I will only support Obama and hope that Hari is wrong about the number of bigots that remain in our Great Nation.

    At any rate, if enough “good citizens” show-up at the polls, their sheer number will be enough to overcome the bigots and crooked Republicans that have put this Nation and its citizens in such dire straights!

  4. alwayshope Says:

    I was so disappointed to see John Edwards leave. I had (finally) given up on Kucinich and was ready for Obama, then he ticked me off with his low road fight with Billary and I liked Edwards anyway, so I had hoped he would stay in. At least his message was heard and he will continue to spread that message. I read a post where it was suggested Edwards should be named Attorney General. That would be an excellent job for him! He would bring justice back to the DOJ.
    Obama or Hillary would be crazy not to use his talent and passion.
    I wish him and his family all the best.
    Keep up the good fight, John. We hear you and thank you for your efforts.

    Haven’t heard from Larkrise lately, I’ll bet she’s disappointed.

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