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Why I like John Edwards - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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December 17th, 2007


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01:48 am - Why I like John Edwards
Much of the reason can be summed up in this quote from an excellent NYT article by the ever-brilliant Paul Krugman
At the opposite extreme, John Edwards blames the power of the wealthy and corporate interests for our problems, and says, in effect, that America needs another F.D.R. — a polarizing figure, the object of much hatred from the right, who nonetheless succeeded in making big changes.
I agree completely with Edwards, and I want someone as president who isn't afraid to work to roll back the destructive free-market excesses ushered in by Ronald Reagan. I want a president whose policies will deeply horrify doctrinaire conservatives (paleo, and neo, and libertarian), as they work to force all manner of large corporations, from energy and drug companies with their inflated prices and excessive profits, to chemical companies, with their unchecked pollution, to toy companies, with their lead containing toys, to behave in a more responsible and humane manner, while also closing off all of the tax breaks that have allowed wealthy individuals and corporations to pay far too litte in taxes.

I think Obama is both too inexperienced and insufficiently liberal to manage this and that Clinton is too much of a centrist (aka a corporate pawn). I like all three candidate vastly better than any possible Republican candidate, but I'd honestly like to see John Edwards as president. I'd even more like to see Dennis Kucinich as President, but I know that won't happen, and Edwards still has a chance, albeit not a very good one at this point.
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Comments:


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From:heronheart
Date:December 17th, 2007 01:02 pm (UTC)
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My major concern with Edwards is that historically, Americans don't elect Senators to the White House. With the exception of Kennedy, they overwhemingly go for sitting presidents, governors and vice-presidents.
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From:athenian_abroad
Date:December 17th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
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Peculiarly, Edwards's youth and inexperience may protect him from this phenomenon. The conventional explanation for the difficulty that senators have in reaching the White House is that they have to run on their records as legislators, which, the legislative process being what it is, is replete with arcane procedural maneuvering ("I voted for the appropriation before I voted against it") but which rarely features unambiguous, headline-grabbing wins. Moreover, a legislator has many, many votes to comb through, meaning that they can be depicted as being for or against just about anything. (As a youthful oppo researcher for a Democratic primary candidate who shall remain nameless, I worked out a way to portray Dick Gephardt -- of all people -- as a supporter of the B-1 bomber, which would have played poorly with primary voters.)

Edwards, a single-term ex-senator, doesn't have much of a legislative record, and doesn't seem to base his campaign on what little there is.
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From:heronheart
Date:December 18th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
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I hadn't thought of this in terms of attack ads. The phenomona goes back further than attack ads. I think voters want to see a President who has some perceived experience as a powerful executive. The fact that Hilary was such a prominent and visible First Lady may be sufficient to associate her with an executive office to get her in. Similarly Giuliani, as a prominent former mayor of New York City may be perceived as sufficiently "executive" enough to be elected President.
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From:mindstalk
Date:December 17th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
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Umm, all three of the leading Democratic candidates are Senators, of short duration. The Senator from New York, the Senator from Illinois?
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From:heronheart
Date:December 18th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
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"Umm, all three of the leading Democratic candidates are Senators, of short duration."

Which is a *very* big problem for the Democrats this election cycle, especially given that a former Governor (Hucklebee) is becoming the leading Republican contender as well as the anointee of the Religious Right. Hopefully, Hilary's status as a former First Lady will be enough to make her appear "Presidential" in the eyes of the typical (uneducated) American voter.
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From:heron61
Date:December 18th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
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I'm not particularly worried about Mike Huckabee, he's far enough to the right and so much of a fundy, that I think he'll alienate a fair number of people, and honestly I can't see any Republican winning this election. Clinton has the best shot, because she has awesome name recognition and can bring nostalgia for 90s prosperity as a major part of her campaign. While I like Edwards best, I thing Clinton has the best chance of winning.
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From:heronheart
Date:December 18th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
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"I'm not particularly worried about Mike Huckabee, he's far enough to the right and so much of a fundy, that I think he'll alienate a fair number of people, and honestly I can't see any Republican winning this election."

One would have hoped that both Reagan and the Bushes (I&II) would have been so far right that they would never have been elected either. Fundies are to some extent admired by the general public for their percieved earnestness and willingness to submit their own desires to some alleged greater good. While Bush is widely despised at present I haven't heard a lot of that being expressed towards Republicans in general (among the general population). The "illegal immigration" issue plays to the Republicans advantage and is currently being flogged very heavily on CNN and Fox "News".

I agree that Hilary is the best chance for the Democrats, but while she probably would restore the rule of law, I'm not sure that Corporatist law, ie NAFTA is all that much of an improvement. The fact that she was a board member of Walmart leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
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From:athenian_abroad
Date:December 17th, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
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I agree with Krugman that we will be best served by a candidate who is prepared to deal with the Republican sound-and-fury machine as it deserves to be dealt with. I'm just not sure that the relatively untested Edwards is the best person for the job.

Hilary Clinton, who (lest we forget) invented the term "vast right-wing conspiracy" (on national television, no less), knows better than anyone just what the machine is prepared to do when its lock on power is threatened.

Krugman, I think, is over-reading the "mood of the voter" going in to the election cycle. He seems to believe that this time we can have it all, if we just ask for it. In other words, that this is 1932 without the Great Depression. But without the Great Depression, 1932 isn't 1932. Personally, it looks to me a lot more like 1994 -- a temporary fit of pique. Once GWB is sent packing, the voter "mood" will be discharged, and we'll return to politics as normal.

The thing about "corporate tool" is that it's code for "wants at least some allies with wealth and power." The Democrats have a built-in problem: we're the party of the powerless and the unpopular. That's a good thing -- it's the whole point actually -- but when you define "your side" as "powerless people," it turns out to be hard to get anything done. It turns out that the powerful have, you know, the power. So...if we have to buy off the investment banking industry in order to have the firepower to crush the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries...well, I can live with that. For now, anyway.
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From:heron61
Date:December 17th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
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In other words, that this is 1932 without the Great Depression.

Given the way the economy is headed, it's won't be 1932, but I'm guessing by next Fall it will look a whole lot closer than the US has been in several decades.

Hilary Clinton, who (lest we forget) invented the term "vast right-wing conspiracy" (on national television, no less), knows better than anyone just what the machine is prepared to do when its lock on power is threatened.

Yes, and I trust her implicitly to root out the fundys and restore some semblance of respect for law. However, in addition to worrying that she thinks she might be able to actually win in Iraq, all the plans and all the rhetoric I hear from her is the same centrist, pro-business line we saw under Bill Clinton.
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From:kalyx
Date:December 17th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
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I'm down w/ Kucinich myself. My SO is behind Edwards. We've been talking a Edward/Kucinich ticket. I hope the Universe hears us and this happens. I would have to volunteer and do everything I can to get them into the white house.
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From:sara_super_id
Date:December 17th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
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I love John Edwards!
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From:heavenscalyx
Date:December 17th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
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I really quite like Edwards, and I think he has a better chance of winning than Clinton or Obama, based on the petty but not insignificant factors of his clearly Anglo last name and Southern accent.

Kucinich gives me the shivering willies. He amassed a sizeable anti-abortion voting record before 2004. I believe that people can change, but I also believe that politicians change whenever they need to, and revert to type later. I can't forget that Romney took office claiming to be pro-choice, and reversed himself within a year or two of being in office.
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From:heron61
Date:December 17th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
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Kucinich gives me the shivering willies.

I definitely have the same reservations, but he also honestly seems to have changed.
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From:heron61
Date:December 18th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
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I think he has a better chance of winning than Clinton or Obama, based on the petty but not insignificant factors of his clearly Anglo last name and Southern accent.

I completely disagree with this part. I think any Democrat has a very impressive chance of winning this time, but that Clinton will have the easiest time of it. In addition to there being no chance that anyone will dig any unfortunate skeletons out of her closet (those all being dug up and presented to the press years ago), she has excellent name recognition and given how much of a shambles the economy is in, having her talk about 90s economic prosperity, while her husband stands nearby and looks as charismatic as ever is pretty much a guaranteed win. Yes, lots of far right nutjobs hated Bill Clinton and hate her, but he was still overall the by far most popular president since Reagan and a whole lot of people like her too.
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From:helen99
Date:December 17th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Agreed, completely. I'd certainly vote for him.

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