Not that rarely as it can look to us we are forgetting about something or rather somebody who really meant once a lot to us or to our community. Remember him? John Edwards once radiating new Democratic star is now forgotten. While it's long been clear that John Edwards' political career is over, there has been relatively little written about what the man meant to the Democratic party he sought to lead. And, though assessing what Edwards meant to the party is complicated by his personal self-destruction in recent years, there is a strong case to be made that he was a major influence on both the direction Democrats have taken and the message they have embraced over the last decade. The fact is that people responded to his message and it moved other Democrats and the party in the right direction. But after his personal tragedy and the indictment, he lost his voice and any power to sound the alarm that the divide between the two Americas has grown to epic proportions. His political career started in 1998 when he defeated Republican Senator Lauch Faircloth and it concluded in 2008 when he was failed in his second attempt at the Democratic nomination. In Edward's first race he cast himself as a conservative southern Democrat and that positioning, in the ideological middle, was widely regarded as the way to win for Democrats as evidenced by the successes of Bill Clinton at the presidential level. As the Bush presidency wore on, however, Edwards adopted more and more of a populist approach to politics - casting himself as a voice for the voiceless. It was during his 2004 presidential bid that Edwards developed his now-famous "Two Americas" rhetoric - built on the idea that the country was growing more and more riven between those who have and those who have not. While Edwards drew heavy criticism from his rivals, both Democrats and Republicans, for his seeming ideological transformation over the decade in which he strode the national stage, his movement in many ways mirrored that of his party. The end of the Clinton presidency brought an end to the idea of co-opting the political middle as the lone successful strategy for Democrats. The first Bush term created a sense of amazement among Democrats about the direction he was taking the country. That amazement turned to outrage in the 2008 campaign. And Edwards, admittedly more of a political chameleon than most, was there every step of the way - sometimes leading, sometimes following but never irrelevant to the direction in which the Democratic party was headed. The end of Edwards' public life makes the legacy he left on the party easy to forget, but, if you just take a moment to rethink, it was real and definitely meaningful.
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