One of my students, Ben Boudreaux, edits the blog, Horserace08, which tracks the contenders for the 2008 presidential contest. He recently posted that:
[John] Edwards could find himself to be at a considerable disadvantage in the 2008 election because he is the only potential candidate to date that is not currently holding an elected office—though Mark Warner will be joining him in that category soon.
That is possible. On the other hand, NOT holding office does allow Edwards not to be blamed for votes, policies, and any upcoming disasters. Also, if there is a big anti-incumbent backlash in 2006/2008 he can avoid it. Now he can play “populist outsider” too–a role he plainly relishes.
Of course, one of the main benefits of office-holding is being in the public eye. But his speaking tours and blog outreach may make up for that publicity deficit, at least among activists who are paying attention. Indeed, Edwards’ nascent campaign seems to be a good test case in what blogs can do for a candidate or what one can do with them.
Finally, there is the time factor. Being a Senator or Governor means that every once in a while you have to spend time being a Senator or a Governor. Edwards’ is pretty much unrestricted by anybody else’s clock: he can devote full time to campaigning.
Originally posted November 17, 2005 at PolicyByBlog