edwards takes on lobbyists at yearly kos, earns my endorsement

According to John Edwards’ campaign manager, Joe Trippi, his candidate “challenged the entire Democratic Party to reform itself and end the practice of taking campaign money from Washington lobbyists” during his speech at this year’s Daily Kos convention… Maybe it’s strategic. Maybe, since he’s not getting donations from lobbyists in the same amounts that his rivals are, he’s decided that this might be a way to level the playing field. I choose to believe, however, that he means it. Maybe I’m just tired of being cynical, but it feels good to believe in something every once in a while, and today I believe John Edwards when he says, “We don’t have to wait for a new law – the Democratic Party can end the game today – and from this day forward say to Washington lobbyists – your money is no good here anymore.”

During the speech, Edwards went on to say, “The system in Washington is broken – it’s rigged to serve the interests of those with the most money to throw around, rather than the best interest of the American people. The type of change America needs will never be achieved if we just replace the insiders from one party with the insiders from another party. That’s why the Democratic Party must lead the way in taking a bold step toward reform that will return the power in Washington back to where it belongs.”

I haven’t watched any of the footage yet, but I’m told that Edwards’ speech can be found here, and that the debate that took place between the candidates that attended the Yearly Kos can be found here… And, as it looks as though Gore isn’t going to come to the table, I thought that I might as well make this official. I’m onboard with Edwards through the primary. Stay tuned for lots of propaganda about the handsome, brilliant champion of the poor and marginalized.

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  1. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I’m with you, Mark. Edwards has been staking out much stronger and liberal positions on the war, health care, and energy than any other Democratic candidate.* If he would start talking about land use and transit, steam would probably start blowing out my ears and my beanie propeller would be spinning.

    *I guess Kucinich has actually got a stronger position on the war.

  2. ypsidweller
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I hope that people will keep flooding newspapers and other vehicles with messages about the riggedness of things. Remember how John Kerry was low-low-low down in the polls and then, poof! we awoke to find he’d won in Iowa. It was rigged, a DNC installment situation.

    Same thing is happening with Clinton now. Empirical evidence would say she’s not leading, but the media says now she’s doubled her lead over Obama, doubled that again over Edwards. And it absolutely doesn’t ring true. We can’t have another 2004 Kerry-gets-installed situation but this time with Clinton. We just can’t.

    (People on TV love to talk about what Edwards has been doing the last few years, and they mention the hedge fund thing. Why don’t they say more about his work for the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at U of North Carolina, which he helped establish and then directed over the past few years: http://www.law.unc.edu/povertycenter/default.aspx?)

  3. Posted August 7, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I’m with you, Mark. I even put my wallet into it and gave $ to his campaign. Not a princely sum, but I did my part for now.

  4. Sacred Cow
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    How exactly does he plan on “ending this game today” without any means of Republican compliance?? Cutting off these contributions from one party only is nothing short of political suicide. I’d prefer our candidates promote ideas that would actually help Democrats WIN elections, not sink their chances. He may not want to admit it but campaign finance reform IS an issue for Congress to address, not for a rogue Presidential candidate or single political party to tackle by themselves. I would love to see lobbyist money eliminated from the process as much as anyone, but the concept of Democrats unilaterally rejecting any such donations while those same funds flood into Republican coffers is nonsensical politics. Change has to occur on all sides, otherwise it is worthless.

    Of course I’m not really a fan of this “son of a millworker” anyway. While I like some of his liberal positions, his unabashed support for Unions makes me sick.

  5. Robert
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    This thing is going to be over by the second week of February. Once the polls close on super-ridiculous Tuesday, we will know who the candidate is going to be.

    What may influence all those millions of primary voters in the big states, is what happens in the 4 states who vote earlier, NH, IA, SC, and NV.

    Edwards is leading in Iowa and will likely do well in South Carolina. He looks to be third in New Hampshire, but a second place showing there could be enough for him to be the leader going into outrageously nutty Tuesday.

    As for ypsidwellers comments about why Kerry won Iowa in 2004, he is just dead wrong. Kerry had the real organization there and the real strategy. Edwards was a strong second as you might remember, which was a big surprise to the dopey people Dean had running his campaign there. I like Dean but the “outsiders” he had running his campaign were dopes. They had 40 million dollars to spend, and blew it because they didn’t know what they were doing. They were so stupid they bought everyone a bunch of laptops and crap like that. It was idiotic. They literally could have spent $400 dollars on ever single person who voted in the Iowa Caucuses. That’s how much fricking money they had. I promise you any reasonably experienced campaigner with 40 million dollars going into Iowa could have gotten a bag of wet kittens those delegates.
    Everyone I have ever met who says otherwise had just crawled out from under a rock in 2004.

    Oh, and by the way, people who can’t see their own fuck-ups never win elections. That’s not to say they have to be open and honest about the fuck-ups, it just means they have to really get what actually happened, and not just have some whiny bullshit excuse which makes them feel better.

  6. Edwards Fan
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Edwards is also leading on the issue of Trade.


  7. Sacred Cow
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I tend to think Edwards stance on trade is his weakest position, stuck in an era long since passed in this country. If people are willing to work in a factory in Malaysia for 90 cents an hour, it’s probably because without that factory job they’d be lucky to make 40 cents an hour doing something else. Sure most of those jobs seem deplorable to us Americans, but there is no reason to believe they wouldn’t be even worse off without that job. Not everyone can make $50 an hour screwing bolts into a piece of metal like our beloved UAW. I’m not suggesting free trade is the ultimate panacea that cures 3rd world ills, but I also find it unlikely that these people experienced a better quality of life 30 years ago when those jobs didn’t exist. Ideally they would make more money, but let’s not pretend their lives have gotten noticably worse from taking said jobs. If they were worse off, or if better jobs existed elsewhere, they wouldn’t be in the factories to begin with.

    I also find it a bit politically naive to champion a program that would essentially raise the prices of most products on American consumers, all so people 5,000 miles away can have slightly better working conditions or higher wages. It’s certainly an admirable goal I can respect, but not something I’d want to sell to the American public. Americans want cheap products, period. They don’t care who made it. Imagine selling Thomas the Tank engines side by side, one produced as is while the other was made through “fair wage” practices that made the product 35% more expensive than the alternative. How many Americans would truly buy the expensive one as means of voicing their support for fair wage practices?? Not many.

    I think Edwards stance is in contrast to most Americans, and probably contrived to garner support from domestic Unions in the primaries (he has been one heck of a Union-panderer to date). Free trade has its ills, no question about it. But I would still contend the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

  8. Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Uh, there’s no such thing as “free trade.”

    All trade is conducted under certain conditions and restrictions, whether it favors international production or domestic production. To call one “free” is to use marketing terms on a policy and economic issue.

  9. Robert
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Hey Sacred Cow, do you think people in Africa, working the diamond mines have a much improved “quality of life” over what they would be doing otherwise?

    Where do you get your ideas about such things. Do you have any actual experience with auto manufacturing jobs?

    I found your characterization of union work pretty offensive. Do you also feel the same way about US coal mining jobs and unions?

  10. ypsidweller
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    This is Ypsidweller’s wife, using his handle–as I can’t get past it on this computer to sign on in my own name. The comment about Kerry was from me (sorry Ypsidweller, for misrepresenting you).

    Anyway, now we know even more about Kerry’s organization and Iowa and Shrum and all that–and the key ingredient, that he gave himself a critical loan to revive his near-dead campaign–there’s no question that we have to make our voices heard louder than the DNC and the funny money and the so-called organizational strengths of a given candidate. Kerry’s helping Clinton now, which is nice of him–he’s got many good qualities, and I worked hard trying to get him elected, even if he wasn’t an ideal choice. (I wasn’t a Dean supporter, though it sounds like Robert assumed I was–was that what the fuck-ups part of the post was about? Or about Edwards? Hard to tell.) I was at Cobo Hall the night before the election, where Kerry was and hoarse-voiced Stevie Wonder, all of us so full of hope and conviction–alas. But neither one, Kerry or Clinton, was/is the candidate we need or even, despite everything, deserve.

    If it comes down to Clinton vs. a Republican, not to worry . . . I’ll vote for Clinton. Outside of politics–such as speaking about the arts way back before she was a senator–she’s impressive as can be. But my first choice is up there with Obama, Edwards–okay, Gore. And I’d love Feingold to share the ticket with one of them, but he’s too critical in the Senate for us to lose him there. Plus, the VP job has been deeply tainted–might be no one will want that job now.

    For the moment, almost time (7 p.m.) for MSNBC and the AFL-CIO debate in Chicago, with Olbermann moderating.

  11. Sacred Cow
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I apologize for offending you. I was not trying to disparage the UAW per say, although I do believe their wages/benefits justify much of the outsourcing that has occurred in this country. I respect how our auto industry essentially created the American middle class, but I also realize times have changed. Paying UAW workers generous salary/benefit packages when someone in Mexico will willingly do the same work for 1/10th the cost makes no sense in today’s economic world. So while I respect the way the Big 3 treated their employees in the past, it’s quite obvious they are paying a hefty burden for it today.

    As to your question, I do not believe those working in diamond mines have improved lives, largely because I was under the impression many of those individuals are forced to work in the mines against their will. My comments were directed more so at the textile and other manufacturing services that have left our country for Asia and elsewhere. I do believe those workers have the ability to leave their job if they so choose, although to my original point they may not have another job available if they do so. There has to be a clarification between those forced into undesirable labor with a gun literally pointed at their head, and those who voluntarily choose to work in what may be undesirable working conditions. Thus I do not view an African diamond mine and a textile factory in China as one in the same.

  12. Kerri
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m an Edwards supporter, too, Mark. Most people I know have yet to pick a candidate, so I’m hoping those people will end up breaking for Edwards. My feeling is that if they haven’t yet gotten behind Hillary or Obama, they’re probably not too crazy about either one of them.

  13. Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Sacred Cow –

    In many cases, yes, the workers in southeast asian economies working for pennies on the UAW dollar are better off than they would be without those jobs.

    However, it’s also the case that our economic policies, as imposed on developing countries by the WTO, World Bank, and IMF, have destroyed the alternatives. In many cases, we have forced countries to adopt trade policies that decimate their agricultural economies, and then, when people have been forced off their farms and have the choice of low-wage factory work or nothing, talk about how the factory work is the best thing they have available, and how thankful they are to have it.

    This is related to Dale’s comment that “free trade” is by no means free from government intervention of various sorts. Just because the gun to their head isn’t literal and imminent doesn’t mean that “those who voluntarily choose to work in what may be undesirable working conditions” haven’t been coerced into their present situations. It’s easy to say, “if better jobs existed elsewhere, they wouldn’t be in the factories to begin with,” once we’ve (we = the “first world”) destroyed their existing economies.

    Americans want cheap products, period.

    It’s been less than 5 years since organic food was a completely niche product – the wild majority of Americans couldn’t understand why you would pay 25% more for something that had no discernable difference but for the price, if they’d even heard of it. These days, WalMart and Meijer carry organic produce, which shows me that Americans care about more than just price.

  14. Robert
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Murph articulated pretty well much of what I was thinking when I read Sacred Cow’s comments. Thank god for Murph. I was having enough trouble just stringing coherant sentenses together.

    I do agree with most of what Sacred Cow said. However, it was more what was not said that bothered me I think.

    Whenever I dwell on the details of these issues, I come to that same conclusion which has become one of the main themes here on Mark’s site…and that is that we are all fucked!

    With that in mind, Edwards is my first choice among the candidates currently in the race. For one thing, he’s such a decent guy on a personal level. But the main reason I’m for him is because he’s the opponent the Neo-Republic Party fears the most. He’s the one who could most effectively cut into their base, while still holding onto his own.

    As much as I like Obama, he’s the Dean in this race. His staff and supporters are going to fuck up his chances. I expect him to have the most money going into 2008 and then come in 3rd in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. That’s going to hurt him in the huge states voting February 5th, where he would otherwise do very well.

  15. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 12, 2007 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Robert:…he’s the opponent the Neo-Republic Party fears the most. Yes.

    Sacred Cow: I also find it a bit politically naive to champion a program that would essentially raise the prices of most products on American consumers. I don’t believe Edwards is naive. Unless, by naive, you mean holding to some conviction beyond polls. I want a president who’s willing to say inconvient things rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator to garner votes.

    Mark: Three words to fund his Michigan campaign: Block sucking party.

  16. oliva
    Posted August 21, 2007 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Obama is head and heart, Edwards is heart and head. Oh, what a refreshing thing after a president whose heart and head are merged in his gut and a VP whose heart is a gadget and his head is . . . you know where. More and more I hope for an Obama-Edwards ticket.

    Old news by now, but still it’s very interesting, from http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-rove19aug19,1,1361660.story?coll=la-headlines-nation.

    . . . Rove’s weeklong broadside against Clinton — which he is expected to repeat in multiple appearances on television talk shows today — looks suspiciously like an exercise in reverse psychology that his team employed three years ago when it was preparing for President Bush’s reelection bid.

    The ploy was described by Rove lieutenant Matthew Dowd during a postmortem conference on the 2004 election at Harvard University the month after Bush defeated Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

    In the run-up to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when it was not yet clear who Bush’s opponent would be that November, Rove and his aides had begun to fear that their most dangerous foe would be then-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

    With his Southern base, charismatic style and populist message, Edwards, they believed, could be a real threat to Bush’s reelection.

    But instead of attacking Edwards, Rove’s team opened fire at Kerry.

    Their thinking went like this, Dowd explained: Democrats, in a knee-jerk reaction to GOP attacks, would rally around Kerry, whom Rove considered a comparatively weak opponent, and make him the party’s nominee. Thus Bush would be spared from confronting Edwards, the candidate Republican strategists actually feared most.

    Unlike Kerry, who had been in public service for decades, Edwards was a political newcomer and lacked a long record that could be attacked. And, unlike former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who had been the front-runner but whose campaign was collapsing in Iowa, Edwards couldn’t easily be painted as “nutty.”

    If that sounds implausibly convoluted, consider Dowd’s own words:

    “Whomever we attacked was going to be emboldened in Democratic primary voters’ minds.

    “So we started attacking John Kerry a lot in the end of January because we were very worried about John Edwards,” Dowd said. “And we knew that if we focused on John Kerry, Democratic primary voters would sort of coalesce” around Kerry.

    “It wasn’t like we could tag [eliminate] somebody. Whomever we attacked was going to be helped,” he said.

    Nicolle Wallace, the 2004 Bush campaign communications director, recalled at the Harvard conference that the campaign “refused” to even respond to Edwards’ attacks on Bush, not wanting to make him seem like a threat.

    Edwards was selected as Kerry’s running mate and now is vying with Clinton and Obama for their party’s 2008 nomination.

    Is Rove playing a similar game against Clinton? Is he trying to stampede Democrats into nominating her, having concluded that Obama, Edwards or someone else would pose a stiffer challenge to the Republican nominee?

    The White House declined to make Rove available to comment for this article. But political strategists said Rove’s visibility suggested he had no intention of fading from the game in 2008.

  17. Robert
    Posted August 22, 2007 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Excellent comment, Oliva. I think more people need to better understand those aspects of politics. We’d all be better off. As it is today, many people seem to think its chic to act as tough they are cynical about politics, while at the same time their naivete allows them to be manipulated so easily.

    I am in Iowa at the moment, where John Edwards just wrapped up a state wide bus tour. It culminated in Des Moines on Sunday with a post-debate party. It’s difficult to gauge how anyone did in the debate. Some of the long-shot candidates seem to have picked up a little support, but I’m not sure if there has been much movement among support for the top three, who the polls are showing in a virtual dead heat.

    I felt Edwards could have been less of a gentleman. It seems like that aspect of his personality is in some ways a strong benefit here, but it can also get in the way.

  18. mark
    Posted August 23, 2007 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I agree with Robert – great clip, Oliva. I’m going to put a link on the front page.

    So, Robert, what takes you to Iowa? You aren’t working on a campaign, are you?

  19. Robert
    Posted August 24, 2007 at 11:30 am | Permalink


    I’ve been talking to the Edwards campaign about a possible position with them. It’s pretty saturated here in Iowa though. They are not looking to take on any more paid staff here. I am probably going to go to California to do fund-raising, at least until Michigan’s threat to move up it’s primary is resolved. I’ll come back to Michigan if that happens.

    The Edwards campaign has 18 offices here in Iowa, and I’m impressed with their operation. They had an advantage in picking up where they left off here in 2004. They also seem to have picked up much of the Kerry people from 2004. Obama has a pretty good operation in the Quad cities, but it doesn’t look that great in the rest of the state.

    I’m increasingly getting the impression here that most delegates have made up their minds already. Barring a dramatic change in the field of candidates (i.e. Gore jumping in) I would say that Edwards has Iowa, with Hillary showing a decent second. I think Obama supporters around the country will be disappointed in his showing here.

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