He was written off as an also-ran by much of the mainstream media. The USA Today even stopped talking about him in many articles discussing the Iowa caucuses. I don’t think they will fail to mention John Edwards tomorrow.
Edwards won his votes on his message and detailed policy proposals. He didn’t have Oprah Winfrey or flowery and nebulous speeches about hope. He didn’t have the massive name and organization of the Clinton campaign. He beat Clinton and came in a close second to Obama on substance.
The Clinton and Obama campaigns have been claiming that the reason you shouldn’t support Edwards was that he didn’t have as much money as they did and couldn’t win as a result. The thing they didn’t factor in is that it takes him less money to get votes. As of December 28, the International Herald Tribune http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/28/news/campaign.php reported Iowa campaign television ad spending as:
“Senator Barack Obama has spent the most, at $8.3 million, Clinton has spent $6.5 million and Edwards has spent $2.7 million, according to an analysis by CMAG, a firm that tracks political advertising spending.”
In all, Edwards had to spend less than one fourth as much as Obama and less than one third as much as Hillary Clinton did to gain the same numbers of votes. Moreover, let’s look at why Obama and Clinton are making that spending criticism of Edwards. Edwards is the only of the three major candidates that has agreed to accept public financing. That limits the amount of money he can raise and spend, but it is a part of his message.
Edwards wants to take the big money, the PACs and the 527s out of political campaigns. Others have talked about it, he is the only one who is willing to put his money where his mouth is and take a risk to do it.
Edwards second place finish in Iowa is proof that his message resonates, generates votes and makes him competitive even if you give him an extra burden to overcome. I hope this prompts voters to take a second look at Edwards and that they examine the detailed policy proposals of all three Democratic candidates to separate the real hope from the hype.