edwards breaks left… is it out of desperation? does it matter?

I like Edwards and I like what he’s saying about the “Corporate Democrats” that run the party, but I can’t help but think it’s motivated by where he’s polling nationally relative to Hillary and Obama. That’s not to say that he doesn’t believe it. He very well may. I just wonder why he’s been ramping up the rhetoric these past several months. I’d like to think he’d be saying these things even if he were leading in the fundraising race, but I don’t know. I suppose on some level it doesn’t matter. What ultimately matters is that, for whatever reason, he’s shining a light on a system that’s horribly damaged. Hopefully he’ll have an opportunity to keep going, despite the corporate media’s insistence on making the Democratic primary a two-person race… Here’s a clip from AlterNet:

Last week, John Edwards fired a broadside against corporate America and, more significantly, “corporate Democrats,” the likes of which hasn’t been heard from a viable candidate with national appeal in decades.

Edwards is en fuego right now, and if he keeps up the heat, his candidacy will either be widely embraced by the emerging progressive movement or utterly annihilated by an entrenched establishment that fears few things more than a telegenic populist with enough money to mount a credible campaign.

“It’s time to end the game,” Edwards told a crowd in Hanover, New Hampshire. “It’s time to tell the big corporations and the lobbyists who have been running things for too long that their time is over.”
He exhorted Washington law-makers to “look the lobbyists in the eye and just say no.”

[Quoting Edwards:]

Real change starts with being honest — the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It’s rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it’s rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They’ll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are — not for the country, but for themselves.

[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it’s perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don’t stand a chance.

[End quote.]

It’s a structural argument, and Edwards didn’t pull punches in calling out his fellow Democrats, saying: “We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other.” The rhetoric was a clear signal that Edwards is going to beat the drums of reform as a contrast to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the primaries…

My hope is that momentum really starts building for him like it did for Dean at the grassroots level… And, I think I know what might do it for a lot of people. I think that Edwards should reach out to Gore and offer him a cabinet-level position focusing on the environment and alternative energy. Gore, I’m thinking, may go for it, as he probably wouldn’t have any shot at all to guide policy in a Hillary Clinton White House. The only thing stopping him, would be the thought that Obama might take the nomination, but I think that’s unlikely if it comes down to him and Clinton. So, there’s my advice. Get Gore on the ticket in some non-VP capacity. It would give Edwards the push he needs to break into the top tier. And that and a win in Iowa would put him in the Oval Office.

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  1. Kerri
    Posted August 27, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s a risky strategy, but it really is his best bet to set himself apart from Hillary and Obama. I hope he’s sincere, but who knows. Personally, I don’t even really care why he’s saying it as long as long as he’s getting the message out.

  2. dorothy
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    i love edwards and stand behind everything he says, but i don’t believe he has a snowball in hell’s chance. we’re better off backing a hillary/obama ticket to get ourselves back in power, even tho i can’t quite align myself on their side. get real and go with what is possible, not what you hope for. i went thru this in the 60’s— i gave money to castro, followed mcgovern, etc., etc. trust me, sometimes you have to go with someone who can win and let your deepest hopes and beliefs slide. there’s no way to get exactly what you want.

  3. oliva
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I heard this morning, not sure it’s true, that Edwards has said if he doesn’t win in Iowa he’s dropping out. Surprising to hear that, isn’t it? (Seems like he wouldn’t say that out loud yet.)

  4. Posted August 28, 2007 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I understand what Dorothy is saying, but I’m going to have trouble getting behind a Clinton/Obama ticket. I honestly don’t think Hillary can win. There are too many Democrats who can’t stand her, much less Republicans and Independents.

  5. oliva
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I’m curious about why people link Clinton and Obama. They just don’t seem linkable to me.

  6. Lisa
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I was really surprised about Edwards’ comments, because they do seem a break with what he normally says. I support Edwards, but also Obama. It seems to me they both have integrity and values I (mostly) agree with, which Clinton does not. Yes, I’m another one of those pesky ‘values voters’ we heard so much about last election…

  7. Ol E' Cross
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Edwards/Obama are essentially drawing the same voters. (I prefer Edwards but would be fine with Obama.) Hillary can take advantage of this, unless Edwards drops out in Iowa.

  8. Posted August 28, 2007 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Is this the same Edwards who is (has been until recently) on the payroll of and has several million dollars invested in mortgage companies engaging in predatory lending in New Orleans?

    Yep. I think so.

    Regardless his roots, it’s stuff like that which undermines his class warrior rhetoric.

    But, of course, they’ve all got their drawbacks, so it’s a matter of taking the whole package, regardless – and Edward at least has the rhetoric, and takes action to correct his deeds when they conflict with his words.

  9. Robert
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Edwards is going to win Iowa. That’s why he said he would drop out if he didn’t.

    Remember where Dean was before the primaries started? He was considered the clear frontrunner, much like Hillary is today. Remember what happened in Iowa in 2004? Dean came in third. Sure, Dean had a lot of money and great grass roots support around the country. But he didn’t have an effective campaign organization in Iowa. Kerry, who placed first in Iowa, and Edwards, who placed second, went on to those very positions on the November ticket.

    From the looks of the current campaigns I’ve seen in Iowa, I’d say Edwards is going to beat Hillary, and Obama is going to come in a distant third. Five days later, Edwards will win another caucus in Nevada. Then the momentum will be with him going into the New Hampshire, three days later. He appears to be trailing Hillary there at the moment. However, after wins in Iowa and Nevada, he’ll be widely seen as a legitimate possibility for the party nomination, and his numbers in NH will pick up considerably as a result. I still think he’d have a hard time beating Hillary there, though. But a second place finish in NH would not hurt him as the race proceeds into South Carolina and Florida for their respective primaries, one week later, on January 29th. Good showings in those two states would translate to the 18 states holding primaries and caucuses one more week later, on February 5th. If he makes it to that point, Edwards is expected to have good showings in the Southern (AL, AR, GA, TN) and Southwestern (AZ, OK) states, as well as California and a few of the generally more conservative states such as Alaska, Idaho,
    Utah and North Dakota.

    Edwards is in this thing as long as the other campaigns aren’t successful in their attempts to openly sabotage the impact of the Iowa caucus by moving Michigan’s primary to an earlier date. So there in Michigan, you can help the Edwards campaign by telling your state and party officials, that they must not move the primary up any earlier than February.

    Current national polls don’t mean much. What happens in Iowa and New Hampshire is going to have a lot more relevance than any of that. If Edwards has two or three of the five early contests in his column going into February, he is likely to win several of those Super-Duper Tuesday states.

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