You have got to love Washington. It is one of the only places where people who have lived here, worked here, partied here, made themselves rich here, suddenly pull the “outsider” trick.

Joe Trippi is the ultimate Washington insider. But now, presto change-o, he is the outsider. He has gotten his hands on the John Edwards operation and is in the process of destroying it with an overly harsh, shrill, negative “anti-campaign.”

Edwards’s numbers in Iowa are dropping, his only chance to stay in the race is to win there, his money is drying up and he is forced to accept matching funds and limits. He has received the enthusiastic support of one of America’s most adept lobbying operations, the trial lawyers, and is out there railing against those who lobby.

He has turned from a strong populist with good ideas, who talked about poverty and the two Americas, into an overly self-righteous, angry politician who has begun to hurl personal attacks. Too bad. There is not much hope in Edwards’s new message or his style of campaigning. There is little inspiration, even less appeal to real change that offers something positive. That is not the John Edwards that was so new and fresh and charismatic. This is not the John Edwards whom I have praised in the past.

My guess is that this is the Trippi MO at work. The same MO that sank Howard Dean.