Thursday, December 28, 2006

JOHN EDWARDS? MAYBE

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I haven't made my mind up about John Edwards. I liked him when I first met him in the 2003 and, until Howard Dean came along, I was thinking Edwards was the best the Democrats had to offer. By the time Dean dropped out of the race it was time for the California primary and I had no problem voting for Edwards. But I still don't completely trust him. I mean it isn't like the kind of deep distrust I feel for ruthless, unblinking pathological liars like Bush, Lieberman Cheney and McCain. I'm not even certain Edwards is as untrustworthy as political animals like Clinton, Biden, Obama, and Kerry.

I was pissed that Edwards allowed a big pussy and careerist pol like Kerry to push him around and keep him from challenging Bush's stolen 2004 election-- as though Kerry owned the millions and millions of votes against our country's headlong rush towards fascism. And I was pissed off last summer when Edwards lamely allowed his name to be used by the Rahm Emanuel forces seeking to shape a less progressive Democratic team that would be challenging Republicans in the congressional races. On the other hand, I was happy to see Edwards respond to grassroots anger and immediately revisit his endorsements and add an Emanuel bete noir from North Carolina, Larry Kissell. And I liked the straightforward, hell-with-political-calculations approach Edwards took to the Murtha-Hoyer dust-up (endorsing Murtha's Quixotic bid).

So I'm still undecided here. I have a feeling his populism is genuine and that he really does mean what he says about two Americas and that a President Edwards would work hard and effectively to start the long and difficult process of cleaning up after the criminal clique that has held our nation in thrall for the last 6 years. So I'll be watching closely and keeping an open mind, maybe even cheering John Edwards on a little.

One of my friends, Bob Geiger seems to feel Edwards' announcement today had a far greater significance than anyone else has given it, beyond the drama of announcing in the backyard of a Katrina victim in the 9th ward and beyond his clear and unambiguous mea culpa regarding his 2002 pro-war vote in the Senate. (He called it "a mistake" and explained that "we need to reject this McCain doctrine of surging troops and escalating the war in Iraq. We need to make clear we're going to leave and we need to start leaving Iraq.")
But more than anything, Edwards announcing so early and, more importantly, the way he's entered the race has changed the entire landscape for aspiring Democratic nominees.

For Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich-- the only other declared candidates at the moment-- Edwards is setting a standard for energy and relevance that they will either equal or drop quickly from the radar screen, as Edwards attracts all of the early support and media attention.

For Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Barack Obama (D-IL), Joe Biden (D-DE), John Kerry (D-MA) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), along with General Wesley Clark and Governor Bill Richardson, the sheer magnetism and established support that Edwards brings so early, forces them to either declare their intentions as well or risk losing support to the former North Carolina Senator with every passing week.

And why exactly would I say something like that when we're not even out of 2006?

To begin with, Americans are bone-tired of disliking and disrespecting their president and, I believe, are unusually anxious to begin the presidential season to, if nothing else, give them the feeling that a change is coming sooner than later. People hungered for a change in the Congress and made it happen-- now that strong desire to take out the trash moves to the executive branch of government.

Second, Edwards is starting his campaign in an interesting way by making it not about him personally, but about the problems of the world, the loss of global American prestige, our domestic strife and the extent to which his campaign is about getting people to make change now and not wait for the actions of a newly-elected president.

"We want people in this campaign to actually take action now, not later, not after the next election," said Edwards this morning. "Instead of staying home and complaining, we're asking Americans to help."

Finally, many people, including yours truly, believed in hindsight that Edwards would have defeated Bush in 2004 had he been at the top of the Democratic ticket. Edwards was undeniably a more engaging personality than John Kerry and with so much of the vote driven by sheer disgust with Bush, Edwards would have picked up Kerry's 49 percent of the vote and then some based purely on the likeability factor -- that's not the way a president should be chosen but, in our country, it just is.



UPDATE: RESULTS ARE IN... ALREADY?

No, I'm kidding, But the American Research Group (ARG) just released polling data for the early primary/caucus states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Predictably, Clinton is ahread in each state. Edwards is coming up on her in Iowa (beating out Vilsack) and his native South Carolina. Obama is #2 in Nevada and New Hampshire. No one else-- including Kerry, Biden and Clark-- breaks out of single digits... anywhere. Jonathan Singer has all the numbers at MyDD, including the Republican numbers. Giuliani's ahead in Iowa and Nevada and McCain is ahead in South Carolina and New Hampshire (with McCain #2 where Giulini is #1 and Giuliani #2 where McCain is #1). Gingrich is #3 in every state. No one else is into double digits in any state. No one cares about Mitt Romney anywhere, not even Nevada where there are loads of Mormans or in New Hampshire, which is in the Boston media market.

23 Comments:

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Edwards talks about poverty, but he co-sponsored a massive increase in H-1b Visas - he's 2 faced

There's no way in hell I'd vote for him

 
At 1:24 PM, Blogger Joe Talarico said...

I agree with most of what you say, but am more optimistic regarding Edwards. He is the right man at the right time; his progressive populist message is one whose time has come; he is the guy to help establish a long-term democratic majority. It's time ofr a new new deal, and he's the best I see now to lead this.

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he talks about the war, but he voted for it

he talks about the patriot act, but he voted for it

he talks about poverty, but he cosponsored a massive increase in h-1b visas, and voted for mfn-china

he talks about the cost of healthcare, but made himself a fortune sueing doctors

face it, this guy is a total 2 faced jerk!!!!!!!

 
At 2:27 PM, Anonymous paul lukasiak said...

I'm personally very surprised at the amount of animosity that Edward's announcement has created in the blogosphere --- it seem practically orchestrated, in fact.

That being said, I have to give props to Edwards for the "McCain Doctrine" line about escalation/surge. Its a brilliant move politically:

1) If Bush does decide to go with "escalation", Edwards has managed to define it as "McCain's plan" that Bush is following, rather than Bush coming up with his "own decision".

2) While Biden is trying to get headlines telling Bush that its his war, Edwards is going to wind up being the point guy in opposing escalation, because the media has already moved on from Bush, and is focussed on McCain as the GOP front-runner for 2008. Edwards has directly challenged the "McCain Doctrine" -- and Edwards is going to be the guy that all the Sunday gasbags are going to want to be on WITH McCain...

3) He's forcing the rest of the Democratic field to take a stand that most (Hillary, Obama) would rather avoid taking at this point -- not just opposing the "Bush" plan, but going directly after the GOP frontrunner..... (Gore is gonna have to make up his mind very fast, because Edwards is definitely making a play for the progressive grassroots here...)

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

paul, I noticed that you forgot to ask

'is it true?'

isnt 'what's right' more important that 'who's right?'

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Bil said...

I thought Edwards did a fine job in his debate with Cheney. I particularly liked his response after Cheney dissed Edwards lack of a record in the Senate, that Edwards came back with this looong list of votes Cheney had made including, and he dragged it out, "He Even Voted Against ... Meals on Wheels!

I think he could have done a spectular job of imitating Cheney talking out of the side of his mouth if he had chosen.

Anonymous, EVERYBODY is two-faced, politicians are just better at it.

And we are looking for presidential candidates, so that is a who's right decision.

 
At 3:06 PM, Anonymous mommybrain said...

Howie! Welcome home! I like Edwards, have from the git. I think he didn't pursue the stolen election onaccounta his wife's illness, and that's another reason I like him. Unless Gore enters the picture, I'm an Edwards woman. Oooo, Edwards/Gore. Purists can exit politics if they want. Gotta play in order to win.

Merry Happy.

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous mommybrain said...

PS and OT: Think Angelides could survive another run at it in 2010?

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bil,

so you're saying the fact that everything edwards has done with the power he's had is the exact opposition of everything he says is not a valid criticism?

'got kool-aid?'

and as far as 'who's right' goes, did anyone notice that both candidates (kerry & bush) in 2004 were skull & bones?

it's another case where kerry's *actual record* bore little difference between himself and bush

sorry, i need to hear more than 'donkey good, elephant baaaaaad' bleated

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Bil said...

Anonymous,

Got a candidate or just trash talk?

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Anon 1:28,
Is everyone who sues a doctor full of it? Maybe the doctors that Edwards sued were negligent. In fact, I remember reading an article that Edwards was very careful of what cases he took, because he didn't want to be labeled an ambulance chaser(people will call him that regardless). I am taking a wait and see approach.

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bil,

it's not 'trash talk'

i grew up as a democrat, and i still believe in the original ideals

but yes, it IS an issue that the latest generation of democrats is selling us out!

as far as the trype of democrat i'd support, it seems like they dont have anyone like sam nunn (for example) anymore, someone who actually cares about the country as much as their ego

why is it that even people like phyllis schlafy and pat buchanan 'get it' when it comes to H-1b visas, but the democrats dont?

it only shows how bad the democrats have sold out the middle class, when they've moved more globalist than the 'old right' - and you're darned right that's an issue

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PhyllisSchlafly/2006/12/18/tech_industry_has_ulterior_motive_regarding_h-1b_visas

 
At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and jimmy the saint, no, suing doctors doesnt automatically make you bad, but yes, edwards DID select his cases very carefully, for 'jackpot' effect

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Edwards is articulate, with a quick intellect and has learned enough through the years not to let the republican spin machine define him. I think he's sincere.
He's the best runner in the field now.
But if someone else emerges who didn't support this war, all bets are off.
And you can bet Obama is entirely too self indulgent.

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Bil said...

H-1b visas, Anonymous BOTH parties cater to the corporate crowd, the Republicans likely worse.

Pat Buchanan gets it?

Is that your candidate? He actually IS what little is left of the Republican party that once believed in states rights and fiscal conservatism.

I'm an ex-Republican, independent for 20 years now. You sound like a strong anti-immigration guy; welcome to my old party. That gets you Brownback and/or Buchanan, interesting ticket....

 
At 6:38 PM, Anonymous teach said...

Edwards is my favorite so far.

I have always liked him.

And, yes it seems the response to this post is very over the top as far as that goes. Wonder who had feelers out for these?

Politics, interesting as all get out.

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwards is my choice for 2008. I think he has the best interest of the American people at heart. I don't have a problem with his vote for Iraq - he didn't conduct the war, and for that matter, Bush did not have to go into Iraq just because he got a go ahead, he could have still not gone.

I like Edwards for not only is he talking about issues he has gone out there and helped with minimum wage, unions and poverty.

He is against McCain and growing the militay in Iraq, which he stated today very clearly, and he is against the draft.

It is my choice for 2008,
Oh yes I forgot, he also brings a great wife into the picture with Elizabeth, she would be a great First Lady.

 
At 4:04 AM, Blogger Minor Ripper said...

I think Edwards is great but I just don't know what has changed since 2004 except that he is two years older. The more I think about the Dems in 2008, the more I think the nomination is Al Gore's to lose: he was robbed in 2000, has been consistently right on Iraq (unlike Hillary), and will not have a problem with either cash or name recognition... I wrote a story on this at www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

 
At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bil,

OF COURSE the republicans voted for H-1b visas! that's my point - not a dimes worth of differnece between them!

And edwards didnt just vote for H-1b, he co-sponsored it!

Brownback? are you kidding?

dont you ever check anyone's voting record?

 
At 10:03 AM, Anonymous teach said...

Gore is also good, and won it once already. With the weather patterns as they are, folks certainly are in the mood to hear about what they can do, is my best guess, especially those in Colorado and the North West.

I am not an Obama fan, but the media sure is hawking him. Edwards/Obama? Edwards reminds me of Kennedy to be honest. But, only in the young handsome populist sense. That works for me.

How about Gore/Edwards? Now, that is a ticket!!!

 
At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Naomi said...

Teach makes a great point:

I am not an Obama fan, but the media sure is hawking him.

If we're not vigilant, the media will micromanage the 2008 election. We are all staying on top of the talk but the rest of the country is just too lazy to do it. Or too bored to care...

The media may want to be "kingmakers"--but then who knows what motivates those whores?

All I'm concerned with is Joe Sixpack and his wife letting CNN, Fox and the "alphabets" choose what Joe hears and thinks, guiding his opinion and throwing the election to the GOP.

This is going to be the loooongest presidential race in history! Voter exhaustion will be through the roof. And when the polls results haven't moved in months, the negative/attack ads won't be pretty.

Of course, that may move the lazy electorate on the election reform issue, maybe even on genuine campaign finance reform!

I just wish we'd mandate that you can't declare more than twelve months before the election...

Naomi

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Bloch said...

Edwards was undeniably a more engaging personality than John Kerry and with so much of the vote driven by sheer disgust with Bush

 
At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not once in this thread, did i suggest that edward should be in prison - but looks like that might be where he's going

all i said was, that he's two faced

 

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