The Democratic Party has produced an almost non-stop stream of hilarity already this season, but Politico distills it into one shining moment. In reporting that John Edwards will not likely endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, David Paul Kuhn says that Edwards wants to retain a strategic influence over how events will unfold at the convention. One of his aides cast Edwards as — well, I’ll let Kuhn report it (emphasis mine):
John Edwards is unlikely to endorse either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton before the nomination is decided, according to interviews with several members of the former candidate’s inner circle.
At least three individuals who have recently spoken to Edwards expect that he will choose to stay out of the fight, though they warn that no one other than his wife, Elizabeth, can be certain of his thinking.
“My gut instinct, at this point: He’s probably going to remain neutral and sort of try to play on that Al Gore status as party elder,” said a former Edwards operative who is in regular contact with the former North Carolina senator and who asked that his name be withheld.
Party elder? John Edwards has served all of one term in public office at any level. He served in the Senate for six years, half of which he spent running for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency. He opted to retire after one term because his own state wouldn’t have re-elected him anyway, and then ran for President again and didn’t come any closer than he did on his first run.
How exactly does that make Edwards a party elder?
Of course, this thinking explains why the Democrats think that a candidate with only half a Senate term is somehow the most qualified for the party to nominate to run the nation. Obama is halfway to becoming a Democratic Party elder already. All he needs is two failed Presidential campaigns and a retreat from the Senate to make it.