As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Walking The Walk

Barack Obama is justified to make this argument, but I'm not sure he's fully on the mark.

Obama suggested Edwards had reconstituted himself since his last campaign. "John wasn't this raging populist four years ago when he ran" for the previous Democratic nomination, he said. "He certainly wasn't when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He was in the U.S. Senate for six years, and as far as I can tell wasn't taking on the lobbyists and special interests. It's a matter of, do you walk the walk that you talk?"

Fair enough. But a few points:

1) John Edwards was serving his constituents in North Carolina, at a time immediately after 9/11 when the country was firmly behind the President. North Carolina is not Illinois.

2) Despite this, Edwards' highest-profile initiative was pushing for a patient's bill of rights, a direct attack on the pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies. He was a reliable vote for labor as well.

3) Edwards hasn't wavered from his focus on anti-poverty policies and the "two Americas" theme from the 2004 campaign, out of where all of this springs.

4) Obama is still trying to fearmonger by intimating that there's a "crisis" in Social Security, so he's not exactly one to talk about walking the walk. In addition, what exactly has he accomplished that's so groundbreaking in the US Senate?

5) I don't think it's necessarily irrelevant where candidates are now and where they say they'll take the country. Edwards has been endorsed by Iowans for Sensible Priorities, a group whose sole focus is to eliminate wasteful defense projects and restore that funding to health care and education and more. You can't go after a bigger lobby than that.

6) I just don't think you can ignore this stuff. Edwards is leading by example.

“If the American people understood what’s going on all over, there would be a revolution tomorrow morning,” exclaimed the man, who said he was a retired eastern Iowa farmer.

“I’m with you, brother!” Mr. Edwards replied, nodding in affirmation [...]

But to his audiences, whether here in Iowa or in other early-voting states like New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mr. Edwards seldom mentions Mr. Obama. As he has done in virtually all of the televised debates, Mr. Edwards is singling out Mrs. Clinton, usually far more aggressively than Mr. Obama has done.

“I don’t think we have to stand quietly by,” Mr. Edwards said. “I know it’s the political thing to do — it’s the careful thing to do — but I don’t think we have to stand quietly by and say this is O.K., because it’s not.”

So, to sum up, right for Obama to bring it up, somewhat wrong on the facts.

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