Saturday, September 1, 2007

Another Candidate Visit... John Edwards in Concord, 8/25

Last Saturday, I went to a White Park in Concord to listen to John Edwards as he made a campaign stop. Elizabeth was there and said her piece before the John spoke. Their kids were all there too.

Going back... I started my day with Beth turning on the DVD of Bobby. It was early, and I didn't really want to be awake yet, so I was sort of fading in and out of consciousness. I wasn't paying especially close attention to the movie, but I was able to basically follow the beginning of it, and I was able to get a bit of a sense of RFK, from the interspersed footage of him on the campaign trail. I got enough of a sense of RFK that I was thinking that he really reminded me of Kucinich. (Or is it the other way around?)

I'll be the first to tell you that I don't know a whole lot about RFK. I know he was the brother of John and Ted. I know that he was JFK's attorney general. I know he was running for president and was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan. And I know that he did a "poverty tour". That's about it.

What I got from those clips I saw in the morning was that RFK seemed to be a guy who was about optimism and hope. That's where the parallel with Kucinich comes in.

I happen to have caught a couple of minutes of Kucinich's appearance on that Logo Network "debate" that they aired earlier in the month. I was struck by just how contagiously upbeat the guy is. I was actually wondering how much of it was really his character and how much of it was a front. I wondered whether he was all smiles when the cameras were off or whether he goes home, turns the lights down, and sits down for a good cry every night. (Or perhaps instead of a good cry, maybe a round of banging his forehead against the nearest wall.)

You see, I like Kucinich. I like him a lot, and I think he brings something very real to the debate. I also think he's small in stature and just a little too funny looking for the electorate. I think it's a real shame, but I think his appearance is really what's going to once again keep him from getting anywhere in the Democratic primary. I'm not saying that the primary voters will vote strictly on the basis of perceived "electability", but I am saying that I think that a perceived lack of electability will act as a deterrent in their voting choice. So, while I think they'll give Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson a fair shot (all perceived as being able to possibly beat the Republican candidate), I don't think they'll give Kucinich the same benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, when I finally really woke up, we got showered and dressed and went out to breakfast. There was something happening on the town common, so we went to spend some time wandering around there. The weather was oppressive, so from there we went home and relaxed until it was time for Beth to go to work. A few hours later, after I had sufficiently cooled down, I decided to make the trip to Concord to see Edwards.

This time around, I didn't ask any questions. I snapped some photographs and I listened. I was impressed by Edwards. He seems earnest and he seems to care about people. Frankly, he seems more genuinely caring than any of the other candidates. Of course, this raises the question of whether the sincerity is a well-rehearsed act, or whether it's absolutely honest. Who knows? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I have no reason to believe that he's uncaring. (I don't have any real reason to believe that Hillary's uncaring, either. No reason but my gut instinct, that is. But I won't give her the benefit of the doubt.)

After the event, I came home and watched the movie that had started my day. This time, I watched it from beginning to end, and I paid attention. My verdict: A really solid piece of work. If I hadn't seen it for myself, I would never have guessed that Emilio Estevez could have been responsible for such a terrific film. I was actually extremely impressed. And I strongly recommend the movie.

Anyway, this time around, I was struck by how RFK-like Edwards is. Of course, to some degree, this is a conscious decision on Edwards' part. That is, he's chosen to make himself in the image of RFK. Of this, I have no doubt. The "poverty tour" is the obvious tip off, and I'm certainly not the first to have pointed it out. Well, if he's going to choose to model himself on someone else, there are certainly worse options available.

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