Edwards on The McCain Doctrine

I still question why people take John Edwards seriously as a potential President, but I do have to give him credit for a great political move, which might have an impact beyond his personal campaign. Catching up on what I missed over the weekend I find that on This Week he labeled escalation of the Iraq war (aka the surge) as “The McCain Doctrine.”

Considering the current unpopularity of the war, and considering how many people from both parties have come out against the idea, if this term sticks it could potentially sink McCain’s campaign. McCain’s popularity comes from a reputation as a straight talker and incredibly favorable media coverage. Although his name is tied to campaign finance legislation, I doubt this is a major issue for those beyond politcal wonks. He does deserve some credit for opposing Bush on torture, but I also doubt 2008 voters will be thinking of this. If voters only primarily know two things about him, that he is reportedly a straight talker and he supported escallating the war when most were calling to leave, people might decide they no longer like what he is saying.

Edwards is basing his campaign on a “feel good” approach believing that most people vote on their gut impression of the candidate and not the issues. He is probably right with a majority of voters, although this approach greatly reduces that chances that I personally could consider supporting him. However Edwards does realize that there are exceptions, and sometimes an issue can make or break a campaign. The McCain Doctrine could be a serious obstacle for John McCain to overcome and, while still a front runner, his victory certainly cannot be taken for granted.

This was a great move for Edwards should he manage to win the Democratic nomination and run against McCain, but it doesn’t actually help his own primary prospects very much and this helps all potential opponents of McCain from either party.