Matt Yglesias, who I'm pretty sure isn't actually voting for John Edwards, gives him props for saying "the war on terror is a bumper sticker slogan."
He had the balls to say what everyone knows is true (but only parenthetically) and is too afraid to say and . . . he wasn't struck down by lightning. Hillary Clinton's shameful efforts to play right-wing demagogue in response to Edwards have no sting whatsoever in my view. For years and years this kind of dogma has built-up among Bush administration critics that None May Say The Obvious about the "war on terror" lest they face dire, dire political consequences, but a party that doesn't have sufficient confidence in its national security chops to offer a really banal criticism of the Bush administration is bound to end up projecting that insecurity to voters in a way that's much more damaging than taking a 48 hour hit as the White House borrows the Clinton campaign's talking points.
Well, nobody likes Clinton campaign talking points. But the problem with Edwards is that he didn't used to believe "war on terror" (w/ or w/o "ism") was a bumper sticker slogan. Here's the senator showing leadership and striking good looks shortly after 9/11:
Edwards' problem is that the anti-bumper sticker line is yet another admission that he used to believe one thing when it was politically popular and he believes another that that's now (barely) politically popular. It's also another tacit admission, like with the Iraq War resolution, that Edwards is easily fooled and easily led. Whatever one thinks about the Clinton campaign, you can't blame Democrats for wanting to prevent a habitual (and oddly proud) dupe from facing one of the sure-footed GOP nominees. And I'm not sure you can blame reporters for yawning at Edwards's shtick.