What Would Toby Zeigler Tell John Edwards?
By: Mark W Adams

Cross Posted at American Street as part of my usual Friday gig,
and posted at Ara's Blog because he's the one who asked.

Bartlet: (quoting) "By God, I'm 50, alive, and a king, all at the same time."
Toby: I turned it on just as they got to the scene when Richard, Geoffrey and John were locked in the dungeon, and Henry was coming down to execute them. Richard tells his brothers not to cower, but to take it like men. And Geoffrey says, "You fool. As if it matters how a man falls down." And Richard says, "When the fall is all that's left ..."
Bartlet: "...it matters a great deal."
The scene my favorite fictional president was remembering was from the Oscar winning A Lion In Winter, (1968), the story of Christmas 1182 with Henry II and a typical family get together -- everybody at each other's throats. A time when honor was held in the most high esteem, yet seldom achieved, yet the way great men and women left this world is still remembered centuries later.

A leader who knows how to fall won't just be remembered as a Richard, or a dick, but if he truly inspires, they call him Lionheart.

So the question arises what is the honorable thing for John Edwards to do now that his fall from the lofty heights of being a presidential candidate is all but certain? If you were his adviser, his Toby Zeigler knowing that the fall was all that was left, what would you tell this former Dauphin to ensure that the fall indeed mattered a great deal? How should he be remembered?

Is the honorable thing simply falling on his sword? Or should he fight on, resurrecting another memorable Peter O'Toole role, dream the Impossible Dream? Is it simply enough to have fought the unbeatable foe, trying to right the unrightable wrong -- then just walk away?
And the world, will be better than this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star.
And who knows? I'll share with you all the facts and calculations that "prove" it's next to impossible for even Barack Obama to get to the White House later today, let alone why anyone should still hold out hope John Edwards has any shot in hell of even being a kingmaker.

But for now, I'm thinking that John must slog on. Besides, as Elinor of Aquitain told her Husband, Henry, "In a world where carpenters get resurrected, everything is possible."