Chapel Hill's John Edwards acknowledged the reality of his position last week and dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president.Clearly, the numbers weren't there, and there was no indication that they were going to magically blossom on Super Tuesday. It's ironic that the candidate who inadvertently drew so much attention for a haircut was among those most successful at keeping his focus on substance rather than surface. Throughout his campaign Edwards doggedly refused to be distracted from the issues he has concentrated on for years: health care, the dangerous influence of big-money corporations, the plight of the poor.It may be, in fact, that Edwards' focus on those concerns was one of the things that cost him. Everybody says they want candidates to stick to the issues, but it's hard to make headlines by actually doing that. Celebrity, personality, conflicts, the who's-ahead-now drama of competition, all those things, sadly, are a lot more attention-grabbing than hammering again at the corrupting influence of corporations.Edwards had the misfortune of running against two powerful opponents who have celebrity, money and the chance to make history on their side. Still, the campaign and the country are better off for Edwards' having been in the race. He put important ideas and themes on the agenda, and we hope he continues to work to keep them there.On various political blogs, a number of disappointed Edwards supporters have said that if they can't vote for him, they won't vote, period. That way, surely, lies folly. To those people we can only paraphrase Voltaire and implore them not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. When he announced his decision, Edwards told the crowd not to worry about him, he'll be fine. We have little doubt of that. It didn't take long for him to ease back into civilian life; while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton met in a televised debate Thursday night, Edwards was here in town, at the Smith Center Wednesday night watching the UNC basketball team dismantle Boston College.