"I'm a different candidate," Edwards said in an AP interview. "I would hope you can see it; then I wouldn't have to explain it." A quote, published by the Union Leader one day after the New Hampshire primary. Just how different? I ask myself that question.
Last August Michael Sherer, in salon.com, listed this: "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." A shot across the bow and the establishment observed.
The Council on Foreign Relations, in May 2005, launched an Independent Task Force to review current policy toward Russia with John Edwards and Jack Kemp as chairs. That let me know 2008 aspirations were rounding out past down home rhetoric.
Before Edwards was born on June 10, 1953, I took a bus trip across the South. Taken before the 1948 election (arguably the most important in 20th Century politics), I think of it sixty years later.
To pick on Edwards as the Boomer-of-the-Moment is perhaps irrelevant, but that he's the one who harks back to earlier days is not. Before Interstates left us wondering what was down there with the real folks, we could see character in our meanderings. I listened to Dixiecrats expound in Raleigh and Veep Alben Barkley lay out Truman's plan in Nashville. I spent quality time in the Big Easy and delighted in the history of Jackson's Hermitage. Most of what I remember, however, are two benches at the University of Alabama for two kinds of students, and chenille bedspreads hanging on fences to excite travelers into parting with pennies. Workers boarded and got off local buses as they commuted to jobs.
Before even declaring for his shot at the presidency, I remember Edwards espousing some kind of New Deal initiatives to lift people out of poverty. He's studied poor folks pretty well, helped by the Katrina fiasco and his own struggles to escape a life where "the mill" is a dodo in NAFTA times. I'd be very worried about his logic if I thought he wanted to return to the good ole days. Trust me, the only thing which was great about the Great Depression was when it ended. It took a worldwide meltdown to bring prosperity to the United States. We wring our hands now, thinking about how global conditions could put us in the same fix.
What would happen if John Edwards became president? I hope all those people who met in Chapel Hill have some good ideas on economic justice in this country. I agree with JRE. You can't "nice" robber barons. Neither should we throw the baby out with the bath water. Franklin Roosevelt recognized that when he called the New Deal a pump primer. Boot straps then were attached to walking the next mile. Now we boot a piece of hardware and watch Republicans pose solutions by kick starting. This country is not so backward that we need to rely on one-person vehicles. But it is not so affluent that we all can soar in the sky. As we go through this rocky road, maybe a bus is the best metaphor. Mass transportation, anathema to Republicans, shoves us all into the never-ending question of how to have our American dream without upsetting the Oiligarchy.
Who's going to be nasty and who's going to be nice? Who is going to lambast consumerism without pointing fingers at the consumers? Who's going to worry about the polls--or listen to Rothenburg reports–instead of voting their pocketbooks? And when that still, small voice creeps in about "middle class" or "working class," who among us will not remember that "there but for the grace of God go I?"