Edwards Set The Agenda

To my mind, Edwards made a grievous mistake, both as a question of politics and issues, when he decided to give Obama a free pass. It effectively ended his campaign, both as a question of issues and politics. But I must agree with this from Ezra Klein:
Much more so than Obama, it was Edwards who forced a new style of politics, untethered by the fear and timidity of the 90s, adamant that liberalism was an electoral boon and economic justice a popular sentiment. Knowing they had to defend against his challenge, both Hillary and Obama edged closer to his appeal. This left the Edwards campaign without much substance on which to distinguish itself, but it left the Democrats in a much stronger position overall, and forced them to argue for, and commit to, a much broader and more inspiring agenda than we otherwise might have seen.
Thank you John Edwards for that.

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    Having just completed the quizl in Jeralyn's (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:21:59 PM EST
    post and found out I should be supporting Edwards, I agree.  

    Edwards set the agenda? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by HeadScratcher on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:29:50 PM EST
    C'mon. The primary season is usually a rush to the base of the party (liberal side on Democratic, conservative side on Republican) and then a mad rush toward the center for the general election.

    Ted Kennedy in 1980, Gary Hart in 1984, Paul Tsongas in 1992, Bill Bradley (the best of the bunch) in 2000, and Howard Dean in 2004 best illustrate how a great candidate pushes the agenda to the left and then the winning candidate tries to capture the middle.

    If it wasn't Edwards it would have been someone else since Hillary and Barack are running a general election during the primary season.

    John Edwards was just trying to answer the question "why vote for me".

    Competition is good in primaries. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Geekesque on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:04:10 PM EST
    Whether Edwards is a sincere progressive who has seen the light or just someone who shifted positions to further himself is irrelevant.

    He took those positions to compete for primary voters, and forced the other candidates to compete with him.

    The primary voters are going to wind up with policy platforms very much to their liking.

    I don't agree with that (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:15:00 PM EST
    It was clear last year what the important issues were going to be.  Edwards just declared before everyone else, and been before he declared had been running the longest.

    Hillary (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jgarza on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:16:52 PM EST
    let me rephrase a bit.  I think it made Hillary have to go more populist, since her base is poorer less educated Dems.

    Well, while everyone is seeming to say (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:24:58 PM EST
    "Edwards is done", I have to ask (particularly in light of the main post):  "Why?"

    Jane, over at FDL, has a very good post referencing Froomkin and asking both "what are these 'agents of change' doing to effect change?" and "why not [exhibit leadership] now?"

    The post here seems, like so many others, to assume that Edwards (and the other candidates) made the One Big Push That Shows Everyone How Seriously They Take Change, and now they can kick back, having punched that part of their ticket.

    Lazy.  Intellectual and philosophical couch potatoes.

    Look at it from another perspective.

    Bushie's still pushing to expand Executive Authority.  He's a lame duck.  He's got about a year left, and he's not stopping.  Last week it was mushing up whether Congress was in session, or out of session and whether he pocket vetoed an appropriations bill or not.  He, a lame duck, went out and picked yet another totally needless, unwarranted and meritless fight. It was in defiance of settled law, but it was totally in service of his agenda.

    Today, he picked another one, dredging up the idea of "shoulda bombed Auschwitz" from the bin marked Crappy Ideas For Use of Military Force Advocated Only By Those Who Never Studied The Issue (or Won't Listen to The Pros Who Did).

    He's not giving an inch.  So, why should we?

    So, why is it that a little jig to the Left a full 10 months prior to Election Day is, per the general assumption, all we can expect?

    Why can we not expect - and demand - from the candidates who want us to believe they will be Agents Of Change Through Leadership - that they show us both their aggressive pushing their program and their leadership in doing so.

    Why can we not demand and expect that Senators Obama and Clinton take up the mantle of defeating the FISA bill (and preventing extension of the so-called Protect America Act), along with Senator Dodd?  It seemed everyone (myself included) thought Dodd's filibuster was not going to work - but he had the courage and leadership ability to make it work.  And, lo and behold, the Fourth Amendment lived to see another - what - month and a half?

    Why can we not expect Senator Edwards to, for example, lead a protest march on one of his issues - be it economic injustice, ending the war, whatever?  Or to use his floor privileges to lobby Senators?  And put Bushie in the position of having to either arrest a candidate for President for exercising the First Amendment of the Constitution he swore to uphold, or let the spectacle go forward?  Cindy Sheehan won an appeal of her conviction today - the government convicted her of a crime which did not exist for protesting at the WH, and she kept on kicking and won at the DC Circuit (opinion here, a 22 page .pdf).  Imagine that.  A person convicted of a crime that does not exist - wins on appeal.

    Or a protest to force the issue of Gitmo before the Supreme Court.  71 people took their courage and wore orange jumpsuits there - and allowed themselves to be arrested.

    Maybe a little speechifying on the S.Ct. steps about how "under a Candidate X administration, we will have justices who can look at torture and not spend years pussy-footing a way around condemning it to protect their Repug party friends."

    Go ahead - I'm a candidate.  Arrest me.  Show the American people what Republicans do.

    Martin King routinely led from the front - why can our candidates not do the same?

    And why should we settle for only one oomph of change per election cycle?

    "a little (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:34:33 PM EST
    jig to the Left?

    Gotta watch your p's and q's around here.


    explain this, please (none / 0) (#7)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:43:45 PM EST
    "Today, he picked another one, dredging up the idea of "shoulda bombed Auschwitz" from the bin marked Crappy Ideas For Use of Military Force Advocated Only By Those Who Never Studied The Issue (or Won't Listen to The Pros Who Did)."

    I am looking forward to reading why this was a crappy idea/  Come on - amaze me.


    who wants to bet (none / 0) (#8)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:50:12 PM EST
    that the poster cant back this up?

    Hmmmmm (none / 0) (#10)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:05:08 PM EST
    "Former U.S. Senator George McGovern piloted a B-24 Liberator in December 1944, and his squadron bombed Nazi oil facilities less than five miles from Auschwitz. In 2005, he said "There is no question we should have attempted...to go after Auschwitz. There was a pretty good chance we could have blasted those rail lines off the face of the Earth, which would have interrupted the flow of people to thos death chambers, and we had a pretty good chance of knocking out those gas ovens." Reflecting the ongoing controversy, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum historian Peter Black's response to McGovern's argument was that had the reail lines been destroyed, the Nazis might have shot the Jews instead. He also said the government couldn't pinpoint where the gas chambers were and would have had to carpet-bomb the camp.11"

    But what would he know over the poster above?


    judith, (none / 0) (#18)
    by cpinva on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 11:16:16 PM EST
    you just made the poster's argument for him. lol

    it was actually the first thing that i thought of: bombing auschwitz wouldn't have been a good idea, in practice.

    ." Reflecting the ongoing controversy, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum historian Peter Black's response to McGovern's argument was that had the reail lines been destroyed, the Nazis might have shot the Jews instead. He also said the government couldn't pinpoint where the gas chambers were and would have had to carpet-bomb the camp.11"

    i suspect, but i could be wrong, carpet-bombing would have led to the deaths of a good many of those being imprisoned, and wouldn't have resulted in the closing of it. probably what the allied high command thought as well.

    add to that the fact that most concentration camps weren't high-priority military targets, because they weren't greatly contributing to germany's ability to wage war, and you don't have to be a military genius (and no one's accused bush of being one) to see why the concentration camps weren't bombed.

    neither, for that matter, were the POW camps.

    "in theory, theory and practice are the same. in practice, they aren't"


    Edwards Is Done (none / 0) (#11)
    by BDB on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:28:56 PM EST
    I agree that his policy positions had a good effect on the race and it was nice to hear a candidate willing to verbally assault corporations.  Personally, he lost me over the weekend, but I agree that overall his influence has been good.

    It may still be good, but I doubt there will be much influence.  His national poll numbers in the wake of NH are down to 12%.  He has a lot less money than Obama and Clinton.  He has less of a national organization.  He's going to get even less free media now than he did before.  All right as we're heading into Super Tuesday.  Unless Clinton and Obama pull out guns and shoot each other during a debate, Edwards is not going to be the nominee.

    He has every right to stay in the race - it's not his job to help out the other two candidates by dropping out, but he isn't going to win it.


    by the way (none / 0) (#9)
    by Judith on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 04:52:38 PM EST
    I stopped reading Jane's site after too many people grooved on the idea of calling Bush a Nazi. So here he is saying we should have bombed the tracks to a death camp AND the ovens burning people - but hey, let's call him an a-hole for that too?  


    Yes and No (none / 0) (#12)
    by koshembos on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:30:13 PM EST
    I agree that Edwards moving in with Obama was a grievous mistake. It made him the younger bother of Obama while everyone is looking for the older and wiser brother.

    I totally disagree that as a result the Democrats have "a much broader and more inspiring agenda."  It seems that we don't have a fully committed progressive candidate in the running. According to the outlined position Hillary is somewhat left of center and Obama is to her right.

    The upper middle class section that supports Obama the progressive does so without base and justification. Nothing in the facts indicates that Obama is any different than Boren and Nunn. It may even be worse than that, change and hope are the topics Bush raan on in 2000.

    Edwards Failure (none / 0) (#13)
    by koshembos on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 05:50:57 PM EST
    Just took the Dutch test offered by a post below and again it came up Edwards (as if I had any doubt). The final page of the test also makes strikingly clear that Obama is indeed to the right of Hillary.

    Why did Edwards fail so far? One simple reason is that Obama seems more sexy to the celebrities and to the upper middle class. (They just assume that Obama is progressive and sleep comfortable with themselves.) Edwards has also a terrible campaign staff. The decision to join with Obama to gang up on Hillary shows how clueless this team is. Edwards personally never succeeded in providing details for the large ideas. It made accepting him for the uninitiated way too difficult.

    Edwards failure? (none / 0) (#15)
    by CanyonWren on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 09:36:12 PM EST
    It's the corporate media's success in keeping Edwards completely out of the dialogue even after his second-place finish in Iowa that has caused his demise, not Edwards' campaign staff.  The diarist JedReport has some nifty graphs in a couple of diaries on Daily Kos that proves to what extent the MSM has skunked Edwards in terms of coverage.  Sure, his alliance with Obama was a mistake, but it wasn't fatal.  He was merely trying to distinguish Hillary as the status-quo candidate, which he did quite well.

    I'm glad he's staying in; maybe something will happen (John? Any ideas?) to catapult him into the news cycle as the candidate who is being intentionally ousted from the election by the very people he is railing against...hmmm, now that's a concept.


    The CW seems to be that (none / 0) (#17)
    by tnthorpe on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 09:56:36 PM EST
     Edwards is losing the "optimism race" to Obama, despite Edwards having more progressive positions generally. It stuns me to think that after all the abuse of gov't by pro-big business, anti-worker, anti-environment legislators on both the Dem and Repub sides that a conciliatory image is preferable to a contentious one. I want to see a scrapper and a fighter in the WH, not some seller of anodyne consensus politics.

    John Edwards is Speaking Truth to Power (none / 0) (#16)
    by womanwarrior on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 09:51:40 PM EST
    Personally, I agree with Scribe.  
    By the way, have you seen the stupid comments of Lawrence O'Donnell on Huffington Post?  Thank you, Firedoglake for labelling the comments the Stupidest.  Does O'Donnell work for Faux News?