Edwards Kids Save the Day in Storm Lake

Senator Edwards was thirty minutes late when he arrived at the packed room in downtown Storm Lake, so he got right to work.  Edwards introduced his two young children, then– to their delight– released them for a quick trip down to the lakeshore.  Such cute kids.  It was the highlight of the event.

Edwards tried.  He cut his stump speech …

to under five minutes (about the broken health insurance system and his excellent plan for repair). He took questions for thirty minutes.

The audience did not limit him to local problems.  Storm Lake hosts a college, but there were no questions about education.  It hosts a meat packing plant with an immigrant workforce, but immigration did not come up.  Neither did agriculture.

People asked the Big Questions: about federal deficits, Israel, the rise of corporations at the expense of the middle class,  the falling prestige of the USA around the globe.  The senator gave lengthy answers, hitting many familiar points.  He got applause for wanting to investigate oil companies; for criticizing NAFTA and No Child Left Behind and the Bush tax cuts; for saying the Democrats have a mandate to end the war in Iraq.  When someone asked why the DC Dems had capitulated over Iraq, even the questioner was supported by applause.

But there was no theme.  Poverty was barely mentioned.  His own story as a lawyer who got justice for innocent victims was not mentioned.  I know this is old news to caucus goers.  I know it is old criticism to say that Republicans. have themes and sound bites while Democrats have only policy wonks and position papers.

But it would have been better to drive home some theme.  Even those who have read about the Four Trials could have been touched by the retelling of a story that shows how Edwards fought for someone who needed an advocate.  He could fight for us.  He could be more than the hard worker Hillary is, more than the audacious hope salesman Obama is.  He could have a theme of working class roots battling arrogant corporations in court, promising to do the same for us.

When the next candidate comes to town with different policy positions they will sound pretty good, too.  Edwards will be a vague memory with cute kids.  Thank goodness for the kids.

Tags: Edwards
  • Edwards has a theme

    I think Edwards' theme is bold leadership. He isn't calling for small changes to our problems or to put band aids on a failing health care system.  I don't know if this ma kes him a policy wonk or not.

    • Bold?

      I didn't hear anything bold.  His health insurance plan is clever.  His lawsuits in Four Trials were bold.

       His foreign policy seems tepid.  His plan to end the war does not require complete withdrawal.  He wants more troops in uniform.  He backs whatever Israel thinks, including threatening Iran.

      He was too timid to say the phrase "foreign aid" during his StormLake comments on how to improve the world's image of the US, even tho he was clearly calling for more aid for clean drinking water, etc.

      The big banner behind him said "Tomorrow begins Today".   How bold is that?  It's just 


  • they had a pretty packed schedule this weekend

    Maybe next time they should not book him to be in so many different places on the same day. I don't blame him for cutting short his stump speech, though. He's got to figure most people are anxious to hear Q and A.

    • Right and Wrong

      I agree that he was overbooked.  People are anxious to do the Q and A.  But if they go home with only a forgettable list of policy answers and no Big Picture of who he is or where he's headed, they will be susceptible to the next rock star candidate who comes in a month or two.

       Even depending on the Q and A format, he could work in his theme, if he wanted to do it.  For example, he was asked about the rise of corporations and the decline of the middle class.  Why not tell about the corporation he conquered in the swimming pool lawsuit?  or the trucking company lawsuit?  He has to tell some stories that put him in some perspective beside policy wonk. ("We'll cap insurance overhead at 15% . . .we'll reform the patent system so the drug companies can't . . . . yadayadayda). 

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