North Carolinaâ€™s John Edwards has emerged from a long, difficult political path to the top of the nationâ€™s Democratic ticket with Sen. John Kerry. There were plenty of doubters along the way. They are still scratching their heads, stunned.
His relentless drive and upbeat message were first recognized when he embarked on his political career in 1998. Against the odds, he defeated U. S. Sen. Lauch Faircloth. Though just a first-termer in the U.S. Senate, his legal skills came into play in various settings. Al Gore considered him as a running mate in 2000 before choosing Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Edwards was the under-rated candidate as he sought his partyâ€™s presidential bid but emerged as the last still standing against Kerry, outlasting political heavy-weight Richard Gephardt. It was during that campaign that he was recognized as charismatic campaigner with a message that connected with voters. He talked about the â€œtwo Americas,â€ one for the privileged and another for all the rest. His message was often directed toward factory workers and middle class Americans. He got rave reviews and ultimately convinced Kerry that he would make an excellent running mate.
So many, some in his own party, said he was wasting his time. So many said he should be in Raleigh tending to business instead of embarking on what they considered a hopeless mission. What a bunch of doubting Thomases.
Even if you disagree with his political views, Edwardsâ€™ success should be a signal to those nay-sayers who offered all that discouraging advice. We should view our rising stars with support and encouragement, not doubts and detractions.
Edwards saw an opportunity and made an incredible success of it. If he does become the next vice president of the United States, it will be a monumental achievement for a North Carolinian.