So both Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards will drop out of the race today, Edwards in New Orleans and Giuliani in Simi Valley. Giuliani will endorse McCain, while Edwards will not endorse immediately, though Obama seems to be courting his nod. Both these events are for the good, I imagine. Regular readers know I hate Edwards with a passion, and I legitimately feared for the future of humanity when contemplating a White House populated by the likes of Norm Podhoretz and Dan Pipes.
The electoral implications, however, are more complicated. As Matt Yglesias says, Giuliani’s drop-out, coupled as it is with a McCain endorsement, combined with Huckabee staying in the race, will all but guarantee McCain the nod, as Romney will have to surpass both the pro-war/independent base of McCain and the evangelicals behind Huckabee, and winning without those groups is practically impossible. And given as McCain will be much, much harder to defeat in a general election than Romney (though I’m sure it can be done), this is bad. Meanwhile, I could go on for hours debating whether Edwards’ drop-out will help Hillary or Obama in and of itself. An endorsement, of course, would lead to a definite net gain for the candidate endorsed, but without that I really don’t know which way it’ll go. On the one hand, Edwards and Clinton both get blue-collar support; on the other hand, Edwards and Obama were splitting the “change” vote. On the one hand, Edwards and Obama were the two left-of-center candidates; on the other hand, Edwards is often mistakenly viewed as conservative. Dana Goldstein’s piece on the matter is inconclusive, and cites a national poll showing that Edwards voters prefer Clinton to Obama, but not by much. So I really don’t know. Hopefully the apparent offers on the part of the Obama campaign to make Edwards Attorney General will work out, he’ll endorse, the combined Obama/Edwards might will lead to a landslide victory on February 5th, and then Obama will renege on the AG promise. Hey, a boy can dream.
So, for now, let’s give a hearty congratulations to Dan Drezner, who, while not endorsing any candidate, undorsed both Giuliani and Edwards on the basis of their godawful Foreign Affairs pieces. And someone ought to send some bouquets in the general direction of Neil the Ethical Werewolf and, most of all, Petey, the most committed, hardcore Edwards supporter ever to dominate Matt Ygleisas, Ezra Klein, and TAPPED’s comment threads. They both made the primary season more intellectual and entertaining, and they deserve props for that.