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John Edwards's Gamble (Dems desparate for conviction)

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 10:39 AM
Original message
John Edwards's Gamble (Dems desparate for conviction)
what Democrats need isn't moderation and wishy-washiness, but a demonstration of conviction.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43112-20...

washingtonpost.com
John Edwards's Gamble

By E. J. Dionne Jr.

Friday, January 28, 2005; Page A27


What if the problem the Democrats face cannot be explained by all the careful calculations of the careful political calculators? What if their 2004 loss was not primarily about losing a few Catholics here and a few married women there? What if the Democrats' challenge is about passion, not positioning?

John Edwards is wagering a lot, maybe his whole political future, on that list of what-ifs. The 2004 vice presidential nominee, the guy with the dad in the mill who gave the most remembered stump speech of the Democratic primary campaign, will rejoin the debate with a new speech in New Hampshire on the first weekend in February. From the sounds of an interview at his Georgetown house earlier this week, Edwards intends to pick up where he left off in that "two Americas" discourse of his.

"It needs to be clear to the country what our core beliefs are, and the last thing we need is strategic maneuvering," Edwards says. "What people want to see is leadership and strength and conviction. This is about what's inside us. It's not about how we get to the right place."

Wearing blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt, Edwards moves from passion to laughter to hard political calculation. If some might see in Edwards's comments about core beliefs an implicit critique of the Democrats' 2004 campaign, he tries to exorcise that thought by speaking only warmly and respectfully of John Kerry, the man who put him on the ticket. These guys may turn out to be rivals in 2008. For now Edwards wants to stay on the sunny side.

It's true, of course, that rejecting political calculation can itself be a form of political calculation. Conviction politics was a big winner for Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Even President Bush's critics concede -- well, they don't concede anything these days, but they might grudgingly admit -- that Bush's core political edge is just that, the appearance of strength and of standing for something.<snip>

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aden_nak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
1. That always was one of Edwards' strenghts.
And I am glad to see he is playing the card. It can't hurt, in my opinion, to have some Democrats who can hit the "conviction and resolution" notes. I'm also glad to see that he hasn't dropped the Two Americas meme, which was polling so well that most of the other primary candidate campaigns began picking it up.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I agree -
:-)
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fob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. The Passion of The Dem?
Sadly even EJ has to go the "wardrobe route"

Wearing blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt..."
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aden_nak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. It'd be nice if it didn't matter.
But it does. George Bush is riding a wave of populist support because he talks with a drawl and wears cowboy boots. Edwards has a populist card to play with about 1000 times more legitimacy than Bush's. But ironicly, if he doesn't dress down for Casual Fridays when addressing the right audiences, it won't matter.
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fob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. I'm not saying that "the man of the people" thing DOESN'T work,
although if it's genuine, like Edwards, it works that much the better (although bush*s faux-cowboy down-home act disseminated through a compliant media is pretty damn effective too). What I'm saying is it's unfortunate that Dionne chose that snarky method to bring it up, especially when Edwards is a GENUINE populist.
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aden_nak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Well. . . what would we expect, really?
Only Republicans are allowed to be painted as being "rural" or "blue collar" folks. All Democrats are over-educated liberal elitists, of course. We don't wear blue jeans, just three piece suits or black turtlenecks on the weekends.

Which is why I always wonder why the Republicans seem to have all the fucking money. :P
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Chef Donating Member (453 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
3. Edwards
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 11:05 AM by Chef
Since the Democrats have moved toward blurring the line of class and economic issues that have traditionally separated it form the Republicans, the phony social issues have become the things the Republicans have used (along with terra) to beat Democrats. We need to recapture the class/economic high ground to win. More power to John.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. In Moral Politics, Lakoff writes about how Republicans go to great lengths
not to talk about class. You either made it because you worked hard or you didn't make it because you didn't work hard.

I wish I could remember the rest of his argument and the points he makes. Nonetheless, it's true.

Republicans never talk about class, yet I feel that class and opportunity (and the disappearnce of a class of people who made most of their wealth from earned income and could still afford nice homes, educations for their children, vacations, and a happy retirement) is the story about America today.

It would be great if we could find a politician who could put class back on the table (ie, like Clinton did). I think one of Kerry's problems was that he couldn't put class on the table as the central story about what was happening in America. Gore couldn't do it either (thanks to the stories about growing up in the hotel, his father being a Senator, and because he kind of floated through a good prep school and college).
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. The dirty secret of America is that the ruling class talks about class ...
... a lot. In private. Among themselves. When they think no outsiders are listening. But in public, of course, nobody ever mentions anything except the "middle class," to which everybody claims to belong.
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Virginian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
5. John Edwards is terrific. His message is the right one.
Unfortunately, it seems like his "two Americas" was not picked up by the party as a whole for the last election.

I would love to see him take the time to promote his message in the "red" states. No one really campaigned there. He might just get some new people on board.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
6. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. I remember reading it and thinking that someone --
-- on Karl Rove's rollodex dropped this off at a local paper somewhere.

I mean, who gives a flying crap about someon's brother's DUI?

Did Edwards' brother fart in church as well? Let's get a panel on Larry King to discuss it AT ONCE!
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Virginian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. Ok, I'll bite, How old was it?
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 05:33 PM by Virginian
And what difference does it make? Are you running a parallel between Carter, Clinton and Edwards? They all had brothers with substance abuse histories?
If that's what it takes for a Dem to get elected to the White House, Drink up, little brother. Cam Kerry, you have a few, too. If anyone knows the brother of a Dem politician, buy him a drink.
I guess it's a lot of pressure following in the footsteps of these successful men. Pressure that Jeb didn't encounter.

on edit:
... and was it so old that the arrest constitutes harassment?
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. It's evidence that they come from typical American families -- and...
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 07:48 PM by AP
...the "typical" part isn't that you have substance abusers in your family (look at the Bush family).

The typical part is that most families in America aren't able to get powerful people to bail you out of trouble.

Actually, Roger Clinton's last name was the same as theh governor's, but the governor wasn't going to give his brother preferential treatment.
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
7. Finally a populist with a real economic message!
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98geoduck Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
8. Then why didn't he support Dean?
Oh yeah, he was on the medias side then. Just like when he voted for the war, then against it. Give me a break.
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aden_nak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yeah, almost all the Dems screwed up on the Iraqi vote.
And they should recognize, publicly, that it was the wrong vote. But if you're going to slap down every Dem that voted as such, you're going to have very, VERY few left to run for office. Just consider it an EXTRA debt they have to pay back to the American people.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #8
24. Support Dean when?
Support Dean when they were rivals during the primaries? Edwards didn't "support" any of his rivals during the primaries but he also didn't trash any of them.

I don't think Edwards and Dean disagree on much of anything. In fact, Dean stated after he withdrew, that he felt Edwards was the best choice for President. Dean knows that Edwards is a "for the people" kind of guy.

Too bad Dean didn't really spend time in the South. I think people would have grown to like him. Dean comes off as a regular joe and understands that the South SHOULD NOT be written off. The Kerry campaign didn't feel the same, unfortunately.

If Dean gets DNC Chair, I hope he visits every state Dem Party HQ. He is correct when he says, from the ground up in all 50 states!

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DemDogs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
25. He didn't support Dean because he was running
He was on the media's side? That doesn't even mean anything.
Dean dropped out of the primary race before Edwards, and Dean liked Edwards, if that matters to you.
Your "voted for then against" language sounds like freeper-talk. You need to get yourself a special alarm for that, if you can't tell when you start sounding like a freeper.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
12. thats the truth!
You cant go wrong by sticking with your heart.
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KissMeKate Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
13. Didnt Dionne trash Dean for exactly this?
eom
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saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. I would like to have bugs in all the cocktail party venues --
-- of Washington to find out what the powerbrokers are saying about an Edwards candidacy in 2008.

One party activist I know well says Edwards is the One. He lists Elizabeth's health as John's first issue, then after that, gives John Edwards the inside track plus two or three lengths.

Next is Clark.

After that, the field is far back and real blurry.
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hopein08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
19. I have been waiting, waiting, and waiting...
for someone to say this!

We need to not change but to stick to exactly what we stand for!

I am so glad that it was John Edwards that said it! I knew I picked right when I started liking him!
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Digit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 09:47 PM
Response to Original message
22. Atta Boy, John!
Can't wait to hear what you have to say.
It will be a breath of fresh air.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
23. A return to populism
"It needs to be clear to the country what our core beliefs are, and the last thing we need is strategic maneuvering," Edwards says. "What people want to see is leadership and strength and conviction. This is about what's inside us. It's not about how we get to the right place."

ABSOLUTELY! We need to return to our core values. Particularly, our value of equal opportunity for all. POPULISM is the way to go. NO ONE seemed to know who the Democrats were the last election. Standing with one foot on each side of the fence, wont cut it. Repuke lite will not work! Forget about the labels! Democrats are DEMOCRATS and we know what we stand for. We need to articulate that and forget about pandering to the Republicans.

Regarding Edwards bro, I met the guy once at an event I volunteered at. I only spoke to him for a few minutes, but he seemed to be a down to earth, really nice, working man. He is an electrician who works hard to support his family. NOTHING sleezy about the guy at all. Salt of the earth. SO WHAT that TEN YEARS ago he had a few beers and got pulled over. Whatever. I really don't think he has a substance abuse problem, he sure didn't come off that way to me.

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DemDogs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
26. What's great about this
1. Everyone knows Edwards really feels it.
2. Edwards didn't use a lot of obviously pandering language.
3. Edwards not only didn't say we need to change, he said we needed to talk about what we always have cared about.
4. Finally, a messenger with a message.
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