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

One Comment

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    Reader Comments (2)

    I agree that not being in office can be a considerable advantage for Edwards. In the past, senators running for the White House have often had their voting records used against them during the campaign (ex. Kerry was branded a ‘flip-flopper’ for his voting record/stance on issues), and that shouldn’t be a major issue for Edwards if he decides to join the race in 2008. His old Senate voting record would hardly prove viable ammunition for his opponents. However, name recognition is a big part of a successful presidential campagin. It is no coincidence that Hillary, Condi, McCain, and Guiliani are polling well. Of course, considering Edwards unsuccessful VP bid in 2004, he probably won’t have the same name recognition battle to fight that candidates like Bill Owens, for example, will face.
    November 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFearAndLoatingOnCampaignTrailOf2008

    Yes! Of course Edwards is not the perfect candidate. Democrats looking for a sure-fire winner will wonder about a man who could not carry his home state. But on the stump (and on the blogs) you can’t fault his strategy and delivery.
    November 21, 2005 | Registered Commenterdavid.d.perlmutter

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