John Edward’s Non-Dean Scream

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Several people have forwarded along this video from John Edwards:

Both “rival campaigns” and reporters speculated that the moment was some kind of gaffe, that Edwards looks unhinged and paranoid*. I suspect these observers are underestimating the level of anger and frustration that motivates Democratic base voters. There’s something weirdly perfect about how the video — which was put together by the Edwards campaign — doesn’t even make clear who “they” are and what “they” are trying to shut Edwards up about. We can all probably fill in the blanks, of course, he most likely means “they” are the Hillary campaign and the media, pushing the haircut story in a way that makes it difficult for him to focus attention on “the two Americas.” But what makes the video work, for me, as a piece of political theater, is that you can project onto his anger whatever it is you’re pissed off about. (The war! Abu Gonzales! Global Warming! Toll lanes! The disappearance of the serial comma! Taking my tin foil hat away!) And people in the Edwards demographic are pissed.**

And, clearly, these same people feel strongly that the mainstream media is not talking about what’s important, is manipulated by outside forces, and is irrelevant to the conversation we should be having. I wonder why they would think that…

*This video contains no actual scream. The title of this post instead refers to an iconic moment in 2000 2004 [sorry for the late fix] when a candidate had an apparent loss of composure on camera and plays upon the idea that this video seems to be interpreted as being a similar moment (if you believe that the Dean Scream was itself harmful to begin with). I do not think this video is particularly harmful to the candidate featured in it.

**Edited slightly to clarify that I am referring to what I THINK Edwards means by “they.” Commenters are also correct in pointing out that he also calls out corporate media interests specifically.