Wednesday, January 30, 2008

GIULIANI DID THE COUNTRY A SERVICE BY GOING AWAY. EDWARDS' DEPARTURE IS A TERRIBLE BLOW-- BUT I'LL PROBABLY VOTE FOR HIM ANYWAY

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Around this time in the election cycle in 2004, the grassroot's first choice for president, Howard Dean, was driven from the race by a vast MSM conspiracy led by Bush allies Clear Channel and Fox. Dean was still on the California ballot when we had our primary but I decided to vote for John Edwards and not send some kind of amorphous "message" by voting for Dean. Right now I'm actually leaning towards sending a very clear message to Obama, Hillary and other Insider Democrats that I expect candidates of our party to stand up for progressive values.

Ironically there was no lack of vast MSM conspiracy over Edwards' candidacy either, although one based on ignoring him and what he stood for. Most Democrats are clueless about what John Edwards has been saying for the last year. They just know about The Haircut. A populist leader scares the hell out of corporate interests. Neither Hillary nor Obama is offering anything any corporate powers need to fear. They're both infinitely better than any of the pygmies but both are basically Insider candidates and neither ever held a candle to Edwards. My gut tells me the Clinton Machine is the worst eventuality the Democrats could offer but I don't feel that Obama, on balance, is so much better than Hillary for me to bother voting for him. We'll see.

I just got a phone call from one of Ken's and my oldest high school friend's, Stephan. He's a retired public school administrator in New York City who's going back and forth between Obama and Hillary. He likes them both and his main concern is electability. He didn't seem all that aware of what Edwards was all about except that he "seemed gay." I wonder how many Democrats are aware-- even vaguely-- that Edwards beat Hillary in Iowa and that focus groups showed him winning almost every single televised debate. Whatever modicum of coverage he was getting before Iowa, completely disappeared after the caucuses.
Edwards' biggest problem may have been that he was too compelling-- so compelling that his rivals effectively adopted his agenda. From the beginning, Edwards was positioning himself as the champion of Americans struggling to get ahead financially. And rather than simply offer populist rhetoric, he backed it with a serious, comprehensive set of policies.

By the time Clinton and Obama had fleshed out their respective agendas, however, there simply wasn't that much difference among them. Pundits frequently criticized Edwards for his unabashed populism and, it's true, his rhetoric was the most openly confrontational of the three leading Democrats.But in terms of what the three were actually proposing to do, the agendas were virtually identical-- not to mention widely popular, if the polls are to be believed. We're all populists now.

...Critics frequently accuse Edwards of being a phony and I claim no special insights into whether that's true. Maybe all of the talk about fighting for struggling Americans is heartfelt. Or maybe it's all just an act, the kind a good trial lawyer like Edwards could surely pull off. But whether genuine, artificial, or (as is usually the case with politicians) some combination thereof, Edwards' advocacy has served his party-- and his country-- well.

One of my friends working for Obama's campaign just sent me a statement from his candidate about Edwards. "John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters-- the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this-- that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America."

I recall Hillary said something equally touching, if slightly less eloquent. It would be great if whichever of them become president incorporates Edwards' perspective into the system of running the country. I can't imagine Hillary ever would, although she may actually believe she will. Obama? Probably not... but at least a chance, I guess.

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10 Comments:

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking forward to voting for Edwards here in Illinois on 2/5. Thanks for suggesting that I still do so. I wish he had hung on -- first to his Senate seat, and second, to his presidential campaign. I'd like to think the country deserves better than it will now get.

 
At 2:22 PM, Anonymous t4toby said...

I'm a little mad that he dropped out before Super Tuesday. It would have been nice to send that message.

 
At 6:19 PM, Anonymous me said...

Howie, perhaps you were right a few weeks ago when you said (or implied) that the national campaigns are hopelessly corrupt, that there's no point in trying to affect them in any way, and that our only hope is the smaller, local elections.

It's just not possible for the opinions of normal people to be heard when all the messages are controlled by Murdoch, GE, Exxon, et al.

Perhaps trying to take more statehouses and the odd Congressional seat will be more effective in the long run.

As far as the White House, Congress, and the Court are concerned, I'm already resigned to it being controlled by even more criminals after Bush finally leaves.

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Carol Doty said...

Your last paragraph is exactly right. Hillary doesn't understand that lobbyists are bad for the country, that Wall Street looks after its interests, not about OUR interests. When she said she will take lobbyists money because "Lobbyists are people too," it was quite clear that she has no understanding of JRE's message.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Dr. Tex Nology said...

Howie, I think you nailed it when you wrote that unlike Hillary, Obama has “ at least a chance” of bringing Edwards’ perspective into the system of running the country.
Hillary has had to entrench herself in her ways for self preservation if nothing else ... after all the Republican Kill Bill wars.
At least we have a chance to push the Edwards agenda on a younger, less experienced, less entrenched Obama.
And don’t dismiss Obama’s natural talent, his ability to inspire people with his speeches. He actually has a power that Hillary doesn’t ... the power to inspire disenfranchised people to organize and mobilize. Whether or not he will use his talent to do that remains to be seen. But at least with him, there’s a chance.

 
At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Ron Paul, but it's shameful the way the MSM have turned him into an "unperson." The NBC Nightly News put up a montage photo of all of the "major" candidates and Paul had been airbrushed out just like Stalin did to delete all mention of people whom he had eliminated in the meantime.

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in Mass. but am going through the same angst about Edwards' departure. I have serious trust issues with Clinton and Obama. If I can't decide by the 5th, I will probably just vote for Edwards so I get to color in the circle next to his name and feel good.

That said, I agree that both Obama and Clinton are many times better than any of the potential Republican nominees. I almost pity the poor Repugs. Naw . . . they totally deserve it.

 
At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Go John, DON"T Go!

 
At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Edwards' biggest problem may have been that he was too compelling-- so compelling that his rivals effectively adopted his agenda. From the beginning, Edwards was positioning himself as the champion of Americans struggling to get ahead financially. And rather than simply offer populist rhetoric, he backed it with a serious, comprehensive set of policies."


"...Critics frequently accuse Edwards of being a phony and I claim no special insights into whether that's true. Maybe all of the talk about fighting for struggling Americans is heartfelt. Or maybe it's all just an act, the kind a good trial lawyer like Edwards could surely pull off. But whether genuine, artificial, or (as is usually the case with politicians) some combination thereof, Edwards' advocacy has served his party-- and his country-- well"

Well, so much for judgement. Maybe he used your contribution to pay off his mistress.

Could it be that you've made the same diasterous judgement aobut Obama?

 
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