Bye Bye, "Populist" John Edwards

From beginning to end, the Times couldn't find any liberal ideology in John Edwards' "populist" campaign against big business and for universal health care.

Julia Bosman and Kate Zernike marked Democrat John Edwards' surprise exit from the presidential race in "Abruptly, Edwards Ends His White House Bid."

The tone is at least less fawning than the paper's initial reaction, posted online yesterday. Still, notice that to the bitter end the Times refused to call Edwards (who launched and ended his campaign in Katrina-stricken New Orleans and in the middleexcoriated big business and called for universal health care) a liberal. Instead he's always a non-ideological "populist."

"He pitched himself as a populist, but it was hard to overcome what became known as the three H's: his haircuts ($400), his house (28,000 square feet in Chapel Hill, N.C.) and the hedge fund where he worked after his 2004 loss (which invested in companies that foreclosed on mortgages of Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans, the city Mr. Edwards was trying to make the emblem of his antipoverty work).

"He also alienated many onetime supporters by abandoning his campaign approach of 2004, when he steadfastly refused to criticize his rivals by name, and by reversing his position on many of his Senate votes. Mr. Edwards insisted that his message of populism was unchanged and that his tone had simply become more urgent."

Why not simply say that Edwards' positions have become more hard-left since 2004?