My Photo
Location: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Andy Martin predicts John Edwards will win Iowa

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”
For Immediate Release:
(CHICAGO)(January 3, 2008) This year I celebrate forty (40!) years in broadcasting. Some time after February 5th we will be having a commemoration. During four decades I have done everything there is to do in radio and TV: field production, on air talent, talk show host, commercial production, and advertising sales. Whew.

For the past couple of weeks I have been laying out a column on "The Democrats, Iowa and November." Here it is.

Republicans usually say they want to run against Hillary Clinton. I took an opposite approach. As a Republican, which ticket would I find hardest to fight in November? The answer may not be so obvious. It seldom is.

I want to stress that I did not do any field research for my conclusions. I base them on the usual gaggle of TV heads, the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. And all of the above filtered through forty years of broadcasting experience.

In particular, I know how to produce a doozy of a TV commercial. I've done it. And tonight, just as I was finishing off a ham and cheese sandwich and getting ready to write this column, I saw "the" commercial that is going to move votes this evening and tomorrow.

What I came up with as a bottom line over the past couple of weeks is that the Democrats should nominate John Edwards for president and Barack Obama for Vice president. That ticket would be tough for the Republicans to play defense against. I have always been an Obama skeptic, and I still am. But I think voters would accept him for VP even if they think he is not ready for the Oval Office.

Picking between Edwards and Clinton for President was easy. Mrs. Clinton is wooden. She is miserable on TV. Because he was/is a trial lawyer, Edwards understands the arena. He does well on the tube (or flat screen). Mrs. Clinton may have money and she may have organization but she is death warmed over on TV. I don’t think she can change.

The tube sees what it wants to see; the screen reveals what it wants to reveal.

As I was listening to the blah, blah and getting ready to write, excerpts from the three closing ads of Clinton, Obama and Edwards were broadcast. Clinton's final words were wooden. Obama's last words were leaden. And Edwards final message was golden. I have seldom seen a more powerful advertisement. By effacing himself, Edwards allowed an explosive message to enter living rooms: economic insecurity, loss of a job, the relationship of a father and son. Care and concern. It was an unbelievably powerful message.

Edwards knows how to read a jury. As a lawyer myself, I appreciate that. The ability to read and respond in a courtroom is part talent, part science, part art. Part gift. Ultimately, Edwards reads the mood of the Democrats better than either of his two principal competitors. Working with much less money than either, he had managed to keep his smaller ship afloat in Iowa. That resilience reflects staying power. And Edwards is actually slightly ahead of the political curve. Economic issues are only now coming to the fore.

Wall Street excesses, corruption. Flim flam mortgage schemes. "Private equity" pirates stealing from public shareholders and pension funds, parties with grotesque excesses, there is a long road ahead as we face economic challenges this year. Republicans may not want to hear this message (although Governor Huckabee understands it) but we are in for a rough economy. Oil at $100 a barrel? What does that mean for summer driving?

Edwards understands the battlefield better than either Obama or Clinton. Clinton's "experience" means nothing when we face new and uncharted challenges; Obama's optimism is useless when he lacks the cohones to stand up to the plutocrats because they are all his contributors, from Warren Buffet down to Chicago's Pritzker family.

What can I say? We don't call this newspaper Contrarian Commentary" for nothing. Edwards strikes me as the man who could strike fear in the hearts of Republicans in November. And his final TV ad confirmed for me that he knows how to attack, and he has the personal means to attack far better than either of his two competitors.

What does this mean for Iowa? Here I put on my "Midwestern" cap. I know Iowa. I have campaigned there. The state's small cities and Des Moines are familiar to me. I was once listed in the Des Moines telephone directory. Iowans are solid, loyal, and sensible. If Edwards has managed to hold on to as many of them as he has, for so long, with so few resources, he is going to have a reliable vote on Thursday. His commercial message will move votes. Count on it.

Edwards, of course, needs to win; Clinton and Obama do not. They each have a $100 million war chest to continue. Edwards does not.

Can Edwards win? I think he will. If not, he will be so close as to make the caucuses a photo finish. If he does win, it becomes a three-way race to the convention floor in Denver.

In my opinion, John Edwards is the strongest Democrat, that Republicans should least want to face, in November.

Remember, the camera never lies.

NEXT: PART Two: The Kiss of Kucinich: Obama makes a small slip with big consequences
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. Copyright Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers national and international politics with more than forty years of experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Andy is currently a candidate for U. S. Senator from;,


Post a Comment

<< Home