He scares all the right people.
John Edwards, like David Van Os, is precisely the kind of Democratic politician this country needs to elect more of. Edwards — like Van Os did in his 2006 race for Texas Attorney General — is talking about the issues in a way that Clinton and Obama never have (and likely never will). In the debates, his campaign rallies, in his television advertisements, he calls attention to problems that the corporate media all too often filter out. His rhetoric about rescuing the middle class, and those below, ought to be terrifying to the entrenched elites in corporate America and the Democrats in the Democratic Party. John Edwards in the White House threatens business as usual, right to its foundations.
Obama and Clinton, despite all the “change” rhetoric, have not shown themselves to be committed to a progressive agenda. Clinton, in my now-updated opinion, is beatable in a general election if McCain is the nominee. And even if she wins, it will be a narrower victory than any other Democratic nominee could achieve, and probably without even a slim majority in the Senate or House or both. And we would be back to all the things that destroyed the Democratic party in the 90’s: triangulation and center-right policies masquerading as liberal positions. The return of the vast right-wing conspiracy machine with a vengeance. Endless media stories about Clintonian “scandals” regardless of the merit. The snarling mug of James Carville on television every night. The DLC and its own K Street strategy, triumphant.
And obviously we will see little if any gain for progressive positions. Universal health care? Dead on arrival. She doesn’t make that mistake twice. Maybe a plan that allows health insurance companies and Big Pharma to suck up even more money than they do now. Iraq? A delayed or “deferred” withdrawal, leaving thousands of American soldiers stuck in a quagmire of neoconservative and neoliberal warhawk fantasies. A continued push by AIPAC and conservative Israeli politicians to involve America in a war against Iran. The continued downgrading of environmental issues, especially lacking a response to global warming that promises any hope of real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
And to be honest, despite all the happy talk from Obama about being the candidate of hope and change, I don’t know that an Obama presidency would be a whole lot different, with the possible exception of Iraq. He may secretly be a progressive wrapped in moderate/centrist/bipartisan rhetoric, but I’m not convinced that he would engage in promoting policies that would radically alter the status quo. His speeches have actually referenced Republican talking points on Social Security, for Chrissakes. He is tied to as many big money corporate interests as Clinton, and nothing I’ve seen from him so far in his senatorial career leads me to believe he would cross those special interests if push came to shove. I hope I would be wrong about that, but that’s all it is — hope.