Surely you know by now that John Edwards is suspending his campaign. As to the inevitable question, no, I have no thoughts on what this means for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. For the moment at least, I don’t really care. Because I just read this lovely post by Ezra Klein, in which the following graf appears:

And, finally, a word on Elizabeth Edwards. The first time I came to Washington as an adult, I came because she invited me. An avid blog reader, Elizabeth asked a handful of bloggers to come have dinner at their home in Georgetown. I’d just been hired by the Prospect, but wouldn’t start for months yet, and so imagined this a good opportunity to visit my new city. I remember standing on their porch, ringing the doorbell only to have John Edwards answer. I remember looking behind him, to the older women with short, spiky grey hair — Elizabeth, after a round of chemo. I remember John Edwards trying to have us convince her that her hair looked wonderful the way it was, and she needn’t color it. I remember the evident bond, and deep affection, their interactions displayed. But more than that, I remember how impressive she was, how quick and articulate and argumentative. It was her, not him, who made the biggest impression on me. He was the politician, but of the two, she was the political thinker, the one who devoured commentary and information, the one who conceived of their campaign as a product of the contemporary progressive moment.

Ezra is young. And he is gifted. And I despise him for both of those traits. (I also don’t know why I insist on calling him “Ezra,” as though we’re friends.) Beyond that, he’s a talented writer and thinker. Above all, he’s very sincere. Which is to say, although he’s well schooled in irony — like everyone else these days — he’s unafraid to write something heartfelt, even sappy. Like the above.

And on the day that John Edwards is leaving the national stage — to spend much more time with his family, I hope — sincerity is the way to go. I never supported Edwards in the primaries. Ahough I admired his policies, I was haunted by his 2004 debate with Dick Cheney. But I know that he made this a better race. And Ezra has nicely encapsulated why I’m going to miss John and Elizabeth Edwards so much. Because they, like Ezra, are unafraid to be sincere. And even a bit sappy. In an age of deep cynicism, such displays of public courage move me.

(Update: I should have linked to this, this, and this in the above post. They talk about Edwards’s impact on the race. And now that I’ve wiped my eyes, I’m already back to wondering if Edwards is going to endorse Hillary or Obama. And if such an endorsement will mean anything. Sick. And twisted. That’s what I am.)

(Update II: Eric, who just dropped by my office, insists that I should have said what follows in my original post. So I will. The thing that so captivated me about the Edwardses was their presence on the campaign trail at all. I hope that Elizabeth Edwards is going to live for many, many more years. But my understanding is that she may not. And so, every time I saw her being interviewed, or her husband giving a stump speech, I found myself thinking: how much time do they have left? And what about their kids? In the end, I was left with one of two conclusions: Either the Edwards candidacy was among the most self-indulgent episodes in American political history. Or it was among the most selfless. I believe that the latter was true. I think that John and Elizabeth Edwards genuinely care about this nation and want to make it better. And they devote themselves to that goal even though they might have very little time left together as a family. So now I’m starting to cry again just thinking about it. Thanks, Eric. You didn’t even leave me any tissues. Jerk.)

(Update III: I’ve been hoping, ever since I watched Edwards give his wonderful concession speech after the Iowa caucuses, that he’d end up as Obama’s running mate. Is there someone here who can make this happen?)