Friday, December 01, 2006

John Edwards Book Tour

John Edwards is running around Iowa promoting his book consisting of stories he collected about childhood remembrances of home. It is his book because he did the editing. The ability to critically read and correct the work of others may be one of the skills America wants when choosing our next President.

Home: "What became clear to me after reading those essays was that whatever superficial differences, the wealth we grow, the place we grow up in, there are similarities in values. The result of that is there is a connectedness to all of us." … A childhood home is about the safety and security we hunger for today in a dangerous adult world.

Very interesting. The centerpiece of Edwards 2004 pursuit of the White House is his Two Americas Speech of us vs. them outrage. This time around his effort operates as the One America Committee. After years of being at home in his big house on his expansive estate, he has apparently concluded that wealth is a superficial difference between citizens and what is really important are the common values we share.

Edwards promotes 'Home' in Iowa: Chief among Edwards' platform is battling poverty, both at home and abroad. An increase in the minimum wage is a good start, he said. … Edwards admitted his Senate vote to authorize the war was a mistake and said changes must now be made to begin bringing troops home, as well as demanding more accountability from the new Iraqi government. "The choices are bad and worse; there are no good choices. Anyone who thinks this is not a civil war is living in never-never land," he said. "I think we need to take steps to leave, and the best way to leave is to do that, not just talk about it."

A poor child who became rich through lawsuits rather than commerce, John Edwards was and still is the favorite of the Madison socialists exactly because of his belief that government is a force for good and corporations are not.

Joel Rogers: Where Edwards diverges from Kerry is in addressing a series of issues of distinctive concern to progressives--inequalities of race and class, abusive corporate power, neoliberal globalization, ghetto poverty and prison, and the importance of worker and community organization outside the state. And what makes him distinctive is not just that he regularly touches these third-rail issues but is effectively running on them. He is unabashedly pro-union. He regularly challenges white audiences to confront "the white problem" of continued racial injustice. His "two Americas" stump speech is all about class. He appreciates and notes the sheer pervasiveness of corporate crime--from tax evasion to union avoidance, predatory lending to environmental degradation, unsafe working conditions to subsidy abuse. He is sharply critical of the "Washington Consensus" on international trade and finance.

I concede the desire to be safe in our homes is a common bond between all of us, but the question is how best to achieve this dream. The socialists believe they can retreat from conflict and the consequences will not harm us, just like the consequences of retreat from Vietnam only affected people of color over there. I’m not convinced that cut and run will have the same benign results for Americans in this very different conflict.