In a presidential nomination contest in which the four leading Democrats include a woman, an African-American and a Latino, the Netroots' great hope is a blow-dried, big-haired, wealthy, middle-aged white man, not unlike the blow-dried, big-haired, wealthy, middle-aged white male nominees who have come before him.
The fascination of the Netroots for John Edwards (who has won the last 500 or so DailyKos straw polls by wide margins) is incomprehensible, unless perhaps it is that they flock to what they know and understand best? Gary Hart, Al Gore, Warren Beatty -- the 2008 version?
Is he the cool, handsome, accomplished, kind big brother they always wanted?
Or could it be ... a man crush? If so, I can't say I blame them. Hard to have a man crush on Hillary Clinton (and not just because she's a woman) or on Bill Richardson (sorry); and as for Barack Obama, maybe they're still a little scared of the consequences.
And they know they shouldn't be so smitten. They know that Edwards is not good for them, that those big old red flags (the war and pretty much anything he's ever voted on) will be ignored at their own peril, that in the end he will disappoint them and embarrass them in front of their friends.
Or maybe it is that the Netroots recognize, just in time, that Democrats are "advocates for every other group except for white males," as Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, put it to the author of the recently published The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma (seriously).
After all, with Nancy Pelosi firmly ensconced as House speaker, a whole dozen women in the Senate, two Latino and one African-American Senators, the white men of the Democratic Party have gone over and beyond what should be expected. Or at least over and beyond what the G.O.P. has done. Well, except for the first black Secretary of States and Latino Attorney General; that was a Republican thing.
Anyway, no less than Toni Morrison confirmed way back in 1998 that we HAVE had a first black President in Bill Clinton, who is now campaigning appropriately hard to make sure we don't get a second one.
Whatever spell Edwards has cast over these hardened lefties, the good news is that actual voters are more resistant to his dimpled charm. The bad news is that they seem to be falling for another kind of siren, Hillary, but at least no one can accuse them of being love-blind, perhaps just overly pragmatic.