Edwards Evening News: Saving Democracy Edition

Is it just me, or does John Edwards sometimes remind anyone else of your typical superhero?  You know, fighting for the little guy, saving democracy, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Well, OK, maybe not that last one, but the man is inspiring.

Today, John gave a speech in New Hampshire that was all about saving democracy.  After years of having politicians tell us that the best we can expect is incremental change within our broken system, it is quite astounding to hear someone actually tell the truth about what is wrong with our system, and propose major reforms to fix it. To me, having the courage to confront our big problems and offer real solutions makes John a real hero, despite the conspicuous lack of spandex in his wardrobe.

Tonight in EENR:

  • Saving Democracy
  • JRE Gains SEIU Endorsement in Iowa
  • National Environmental Endorsement Coming?
  • Cool Graphs
  • Today’s JRE Diary Round-up

Saving Democracy

Calling all Edwards supporters. Your country needs you!

I hope you got a chance to hear John Edwards’s speech in New Hampshire today.  It was on C-SPAN. This shouldn’t surprise me much, because he’s done this several times in this campaign, but this was yet again the kind of speech I’ve been waiting to hear from a presidential candidate my whole life. JRE laid out a robust plan for cleaning up our government and taking back our democracy. 

Imagine having a government that is actually government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I know this is what we were supposed to have had all along, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in my lifetime!  JRE is sincerely pro-democracy, and that’s something amazing and rare in a presidential candidate!

You all are going to have to pardon my exuberance tonight.  I was thrilled to hear these words come out of my candidate’s mouth today about fixing our democracy.

If you missed the speech, you can download an MP3 here. He also answered some viewer questions on CSpan and I caught some of it. I tuned in late, but recorded part of the Q&A session.

UPDATE: Video of the speech, thanks to NCDem Amy!

“The American people are sick and tired of business as usual,” said Edwards. “Lobbyists and the special interests they represent are pouring millions of dollars into the system, corrupting our democracy and stopping the change we need dead in its tracks. With all the money flooding into politics, you’d think that instead of holding elections we were auctioning our leaders off to the highest bidders. Our founding fathers intended our government to do the will of the people, but regular people can’t afford a voice in today’s pay-to-play Washington.

“It’s time to put an end to the special deals enjoyed by lobbyists and insiders at the expense of regular Americans. We must strengthen voting and campaign finance laws and curb the influence of campaign contributions from special interests, so that everyone has a voice in the political process and the people decide who leads this nation.”

Check out some of these provisions of his plan.

Edwards’ proposal to end the money game in Washington and return the power to the American people is focused on three main principles:

Reforming Campaign Finance to Strengthen Small Donors: John Edwards believes elections should be about ideas rather than money. Few Americans can afford to make $4,600 contributions to gain access to presidential candidates, and the integrity of our campaign financing system depends upon smaller donors continuing to play an important role in the political process. Edwards’ campaign is built upon the support of small donors – in fact, 93 percent of the campaign’s donations come from donors contributing less than $100. As president, Edwards will create a new Grassroots Presidential Financing System to match small donations under $100 by eight to one, making two $100 donations as valuable to a campaign as a single $1,000 donation. He will also reduce the maximum contribution from $2,300 to $1,000 per person, to better reflect the incomes of most Americans. Edwards will create a system of full public financing for Congressional candidates and require corporations to disclose their political activity and spending.

Ending the Unique Power of Lobbyists: Edwards will prohibit all candidates and federal office holders from accepting contributions from lobbyists and will prohibit federal lobbyists from acting as fundraisers or bundlers for federal candidates. He will limit the ability of lobbyists to secure lucrative earmarks by enacting a Constitutional version of the line-item veto, where the president can require an up or down vote on special-interest spending. Edwards will close the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street by reinstating the five-year ban on lobbying by former top government officials and by banning former lobbyists from taking executive branch positions related to their former clients. Finally, he will curb lobbyists’ influence by increasing disclosure requirements for lobbyist activity and by prohibiting government executives from accepting gifts and travel from lobbyists and their employers.

Strengthening the Voice of Ordinary Citizens: To ensure everyone’s vote is counted, Edwards will require that all voting machines, including electronic ones, use paper ballots that can be verified by voters. He will also give D.C. residents voting representation in Congress, allow Election Day Registration in federal elections, fight voter suppression and intimidation and end the disenfranchisement of former prisoners who have served their time. In order to increase citizen engagement, Edwards will ask one million citizens to participate in biennial Citizen Congresses – national town hall meetings where regular Americans tackle national issues together, without the filters of interest groups and the media. Similar projects have given citizens a voice in community solutions across the country, including in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

You can read his government reform plan in more detail here.

Of course, democracy works best if the people get involved! I think his idea about a biennial Citizen Congress is very promising and innovative.

The campaign financing reforms he’s proposing make a ton of sense to me, as do the election reforms. This is a great proposal!

Volunteers of America

JRE Gains SEIU Endorsement in Iowa

MSNBC’s First Read is reporting that JRE will get the endorsement of SEIU-Iowa on Monday.

At 5:30pm Monday ET in Iowa city, John Edwards will get SEIU-Iowa nod and the endorsement of other state affiliates, according to multiple sources. The endorsement, which the Edwards campaign refused to comment on, is key because it means that SEIU members and resources from other state organizations that endorse Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama (think Illinois and New York SEIU chapters) cannot help their respective Iowa campaigns, according to SEIU rules.

National Environmental Endorsement Coming?

Though unconfirmed at this time, SeacoastOnline is reporting that Edwards will get the endorsement of a national environmental organization this weekend.

The campaign would not release details but Edwards is expected to get the endorsement of a national environmental group this weekend.

Cool Graphs

Cool graphs here from the Edwards campaign by way of The Swamp blog.

The point here being that…

Edwards has spent just about the same amount of time in Iowa as the other candidates.

Edwards has spent 1.7% of what Clinton has spent on advertising in Iowa and 0.8% of what Obama has spent on advertising in Iowa.

And yet…

It’s very much a three-way race there. Just wait until Edwards starts spending some money!

Today’s JRE Diary Round-up

Edwards Calls for a Citizen Congress by DemocracySpace

John Edwards is “A Blue Collar Candidate for a Blue Collar America!” by Tom P.

John Edwards seeks to restore government of, by, and for the people by McSnatherson

Breaking: Edwards Gets Iowa SEIU Endorsement by AJ WI

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