Stuck in the Middle With Illinois


Brian Beutler hails John Edwards’ new line on electability:

I think most journalists would agree that I’m the most progressive, Senator Obama next, and Senator Clinton closest to the center. But I’d be willing to bet that if you ask most Americans the same question, they’d reverse it.” That’s not only, he says, because “she’s a woman and he’s an African American and Ah talk lahk thee-is. It’s simple geography. Ask Middle Americans: You’ve got three Democratic candidates. One’s from New York, one’s from Chicago and one’s from rural North Carolina. Who do you think is most like you?

I think we all can see what Edwards is driving at here, but in the real world Hillary Clinton grew up in the suburban midwest before moving to Arkansas. Barack Obama was born in Kansas and Chicago is actually in the middle of the country, whereas North Carolina is on the coasts. Maybe a better way of putting it is that Clinton and Obama both kind of sound like people who went to really, really, really good law schools where they learned to make arguments designed to sound good to other lawyers, whereas Edwards went to a less-good law school where they teach you to make arguments designed to sound good to juries.