Gentlemen of the jury, there are many kinds of silence. Consider first the silence of a man who is dead. Let us suppose we go into the room where he is laid out, and we listen. What do we hear? Nothing — this is silence pure and simple. But let us take another case, a case put before us this very day.

Having decided to drop out of the Democratic primary race, John Edwards declined during his New Orleans speech to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. He offered, in a manner of speaking, silence, but as Cromwell in A Man For All Seasons pointed out, “Silence can, according to the circumstances, speak.”
What does Edwards’ silence betoken? He knows Clinton is polling well ahead of Obama in the big states and that his endorsing Obama might help to even things out. By saying nothing, he is, in effect, standing with Hillary — the sanctimonious lawyer-smoothie with the southern drawl and the $400 haircut, playing it safe and showing his true colors. The dominant theme, as always, being “let’s see what we can get out of this.” Card-shuffler, back-room dealer.