Although it draws attention to his laggard fundraising, Edwards decision to accept matching funds means he’ll have more money than either Obama or Hillary currently have (although they are both raising money faster than Edwards). 22 million to the approximately 19 million that the others have each raised. It also shows him to be less of a corporate shill. The major downside is that the amount of money he is allowed to spend in each state will be restricted.
These limits needn’t be crippling. Iowa and NH have tougher spending caps than the other states, but even there, the rules for how you allocate spending are flexible. For example, you can mark half of your spending for any state as fund-raising money, which is then exempt from state limits, up to a total of $8 million. You also get some wiggle room, since the limits don’t include TV-advertising expenditures in nearby markets. For instance, you can advertise on Boston stations that broadcast in New Hampshire without that counting toward your spending cap. Staff salaries aren’t included either—just advertising, polling, phone banks, and other nonhuman expenditures.
Edwards is a lot smarter than the press gives him credit for. I haven’t given up hope yet!