Thursday, May 24, 2007

Considering John Edwards

The excitement generated by the “First Woman - First Black” president mano-a-mano between senators Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) tends to obscure the fact John Edwards may very well be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the top job by Summer 2008.

It is to this nation’s, the mass media’s, and even the Republican Party’s credit the facts of their gender in one case, and race in the other, have not served to immediately discredit the efforts of Clinton and Obama.

That said, it remains highly unlikely a woman or black man can be elected president. Just look at the protection already afforded Obama thanks to the anonymous and violent vituperation directed at him.

Running for president is a tough game so that race and gender are not the only problems confronting the aforementioned campaigns. A recent comparision of events in Ohio by "The Economist" had Obama generating a lot of excitment, but showing signs of inexperience with organization. Clinton on the other hand, had a well-scripted and not very compelling affair stuffed with Dem bigwigs.

When you think about winning presidencies, you think about the Republican Party and you didn’t see any black people or women in their debate last week before the fair and balanced machinery of Fox News.

You saw a big ‘ol country club gathering of gray-haired white guys trying to out-tough one another.

Which is what brings us back to Edwards (almost).

The great wild card hanging over the Democratic Party nominating process remains Al Gore. The former vice president just launched a new book this week and if you hit one of yer basic mega-chain stores like Barnes and Noble on Tuesday, you found that book, reduced price sticker and all, staring straight at you upon entering.

the scribe knows this because he found the purchase of “The Assault on Reason,” too easy to resist and got a copy.

Edwards also released a book on poverty this week that sounds good and important, but Gore would have to be given the nod in terms of whose tome made the bigger splash.

For now, however, Gore’s not running, which means the scribe probably should have bought Edward’s work instead.

Last night, the scribe and his brother sifted through the ashes of the war funding debacle and what it meant for the Democrats.

And that was a morose discussion.

But we did what Democrats do, MovedOn, and finally concluded that that our support currently lies with the only white guy within spitting distance of things presidential on the Donkey side and that’s, again, John Edwards.

Yes, Edwards remains the undisputed king of the southern trial lawyers, and we don’t mean that in a positive way.

His accent and demeanor bear all the marks of a zillion guys throughout the courthouses of Dixie shucking along, getting their money from wherever, talking out the side of their mouths and winking at the judge.

It’s no wonder Edwards spends $600 on a haircut as a way of separating himself from the pack of scoundrels Republicans revel in associating him with.

He’s trying to make his legal brethren all look like the poor man’s John Edwards.

Later, as it turned out, Edwards popped up on Tavis Smiley’s PBS chatfest. He had just given a very worthwhile and much-needed speech criticizing Geo. w. Bsh’s use of the “WAR ON TERROR” lexicon as a cudgel in every corner of the American political universe.

One can only hope some people were listening; although a cursory review of the morning papers was not promising.

And while Edwards still has a way to go before leaving a true residue on the overtaxed minds of the American people, credit is due for his long slog across these United States in the wake of the 2004 election defeat, and for the way he has insisted upon his own relevance and bookmarked a place in the presidential sweepstakes.

As the scribe’s brother noted, Edwards' presentation goes beyond the biographical emphasis of Obama’s campaign, and the cautious professional-pol arc projected by Sen. Clinton's. He’s been thinking about most current issue and has a policy suggestion for most of them.

That’s important once you get in there and the customary shit rain begins to besiege your administration.

The former senator’s answers to Smiley's questions were all on the money and beautifully expressed.

He said the Democrats in Congress had flubbed the war funding debate and missed an opportunity to end the war through that body’s power of the purse.

highwayscribery proposed this approach a few weeks ago when the thing was still raging.

(“The president is endangering the troops by keeping them in the field now that the American people have decided to end the war.”)

But as the introduction to Gore’s book observes, the political conversation in this country flows one way: from the big boys down to us small fries, but not the other way.

When Smiley observed the fact “poverty is off the table” as an issue in American politics, Edwards said, “That’s because there has been no leadership on the question,” which is true and he promised there would be upon his election.

Oh hope!

Edwards pointed out that New Orleans is a “national embarrassment” and reminded viewers that he’d launched his campaign from that beleaguered and once beautiful city’s Lower Ninth Ward to make an important point.

highwayscribery thinks that is the kind of discussion truly needed in America; that we cannot not allow Rudy Giuliani and his politics of defeat to turn the upcoming electoral contest into a battle about who can be tougher on terrorism.

There are other things, other threats to our way of life, that Americans will more likely face in their day-to-day battle with the smaller world than a bomb on Main Street.

John Edwards gets that.

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