JOHN EDWARDS UPDATE….I’ve mentioned before that I think the Democratic race is down to Kerry, Dean, and Edwards, and apparently William Saletan agrees. In Slate today he makes the case for Edwards:

A year ago, Edwards batted his eyelashes and talked down to audiences like an oily courtroom lawyer. He hedged his statements in a way that suggested ignorance or cowardice. No more. If Dean’s strength is speaking bluntly to the right, Edwards, like Joe Lieberman, has shown a facility for speaking bluntly to the left. In Concord, he stiff-armed a series of demands. Would he support medical marijuana? Not until the scientific debate was resolved. Would he denounce Israeli atrocities? He rejected the premise. Would he repeal the USA Patriot Act? “You need to know I voted for it,” he told the questioner.

Of course, as Saletan notes, Edwards has been speaking pretty bluntly to the right recently too, and, like me, he thinks Edwards’ themes resonate pretty well:

At the Concord event, two caught my eye. One is the sense of honor on which the free market relies. As Edwards put it, “This is about a real belief in capitalism. It’s a belief that our markets can do well, but in order for them to do well, we need honesty, we need truth, we need responsibility.” The other is the work ethic, which Edwards reinforced as he proposed college subsidies for students who work 10 hours per week. “The work won’t hurt ’em. It won’t hurt ’em a bit,” he argued as the audience laughed. “This will make them appreciate their college education.”

Edwards may not be absolutely everything I’d like in a candidate, but who is? Overall, he sounds pretty good to me, and I think he might sound pretty good to a lot of other people too.

Now, let’s hear a bit more about his foreign policy, OK?