That was John Edwards in 2004, after he didn’t win the Iowa caucuses. Doesn’t sound much like John Edwards today, does it? That’s perhaps because, at the time, John Edwards was a client of David Axelrod — the political consultant who handled Deval Patrick in 2006, and who handles Barack Obama now.
Adam Reilly has a very interesting article up on the Axelrod messaging phenomenon — that’s where I saw the Edwards quote. That quote blew me away, frankly. Everyone has remarked upon the striking similarity between Obama’s and Patrick’s rhetoric, from Obama’s remarkable “Together we can hope” line at the DNC (even Deval never joined “Together we can” and “hope” in that way, AFAIK) to “Yes we can” and his talk of overcoming cynicism in politics that is so reminiscent of the Patrick campaign. But to see nearly identical words coming out of yet a third candidate — one whose message now is so radically different — was, to me at least, startling.
Still, maybe it’s no big deal. Maybe that’s part of what good political consultants do — find rhetorical devices that seem to work for the campaigns that their clients want to run. Maybe, as Reilly says, Axelrod is the Democrats’ answer to Karl Rove.
But it makes me nervous.