Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

New England Verities II

There is already a dim awareness dawning at the New York Times that local favorite son considerations still matter a lot. But now that previously-ignored verity is trotted out by the Times to bolster the usual media love and hopes for Senator Edwards:

As he was last week in Iowa, Senator John Edwards was the man in motion at the end of the race. Almost half the voters who chose him here did so in the past three days, an indication that he was gaining but ran out of time. Mr. Edwards now heads to next week's contest in his native South Carolina a presumptive favorite son.

So, here's the Times' thought: After finishing just a few points behind first-place John Kerry in Iowa, John Edwards "bounced" all the way from about 8% in the New Hampshire polls to a grand 12% in the actual vote - while during the same period John Kerry bounced to 39%. But the Times says Senator Edwards just ran out of time. Yes, perhaps if Senator Edwards had kept going for, say, another three months he could have been a contender in New Hampshire.

Why must the Times pretend that there is reason to believe Edwards was on the upswing in New Hampshire? Can't it be enough for the Times to just point out that Senator Edwards may do well in the South - which Senator Kerry has essentially chucked overboard? And why can't the Times admit that Kerry's "win" in New Hampshire was probably inflated by the exact same "presumptive favorite son" considerations that the Times awards to Edwards in South Carolina? And what's wrong with mentioning that Senator Kerry has a personality and bearing that is likely all but unbearable in the West - but that Senator Edwards' personality and bearing don't have that problem?

It's also dawn at Fox News, which notes:

Despite spending a good part of the past year campaigning in New Hampshire and holding more than 100 town hall meetings, Edwards could not overcome the built-in advantages of the New Englanders.

"They're from right next door," Edwards said of Kerry and Dean. "They're expected to do that."

Edwards wants to make a stand with a win next week in South Carolina, his native state.

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