I'm Caucusing for John Edwards

Cross-posted at Political Forecast.

Well, now that we’re less than three weeks out from the Iowa Precinct Caucuses, it is time for me to make a tough decision: Who am I going to caucus for?

After watching the debates, attending events, reading the profiles, and listening to my friends I decided that it was time to face the tough decision.  Our field of Democratic candidates is an amazing spectrum of leadership, experience, and real desire for change.  I would be proud to call any of these candidates our nominee.

Why did I hold off so long in making my decision?  There were numerous reasons, but the primary one was that I wanted to make sure I was going to remain unbiased for as long as possible in my coverage of the candidates and to maintain a level of openness on both Political Forecast and Bleeding Heartland.  But the time has truly come to pick a candidate.  And for me, the candidate of choice is John Edwards.

Edwards appeals to me because he is the candidate with the experience and leadership to challenge the status quo.  He’s been in a tough presidential race and involved in a general election campaign.  He knows what it means to fight, and I’m telling you, that’s what we’re going to have in 2008.  No presidential race is ever a cakewalk.  And John Edwards knows that.

More than his experience in the political field, he’s got the populist rhetoric and policies that make me want him to go to Washington, removed the entrenched special interests, and bring back an era of unabashed compromise politics with all players on an even footing.  Having “politics” determine our policy courses in this country is fine with me; in this country we value the institutionalized agreement to disagree.  But that agreement has been co-opted by the conventional wisdom, those with wealth, and those with power.  Those folks have to be removed and I believe John Edwards is the candidate who can do that.

Finally, on the issues, Edwards has the right ideas and has shaped the progressive issues debate in this presidential race.  He was the first to seriously propose a plan for universal health care and I believe it is still the best one out there.  He’s talk about rural revitalization, protecting the middle class, fair trade policies, protecting the environment, ending the war in Iraq, and a variety of other issues every where he goes.

I don’t want to go on forever, so I hope you’ll appreciate my honesty in telling you my caucus choice.  And if you disagree that’s fine.  Other bloggers in Iowa have different opinions and I respect my colleagues.  Some have endorsed Joe Biden, others have endorsed Barack Obama, and others have endorsed John Edwards as well.  I respect their decisions, and I hope we have a vigorous and competitive caucus.  As we get closer to picking the Democratic nominee, I hope we can all unite behind the candidate and fight hard to take back the White House in November.

What does this all mean for me?  Well, first of all, Bleeding Heartland isn’t going to have two front-pagers touting John Edwards.  Desmoinesdem will be the one touting Edwards there.  My focus will continue to be on the caucuses as whole, whether it be polls, issues, the horserace, or whatever else may emerge.  But remember, Bleeding Heartland is a community blog; it is your site and I hope you sign up, start a diary, and get involved in the discussion.

On Political Forecast, I’m going to keep covering Iowa-specific policies as well as highlight why I’m supporting Edwards and talk a bit about his campaign.

Finally, I’d like to show you John Edwards’ new campaign ad airing in Iowa.  It is called “Voice.”

  • welcome aboard!

    I think Edwards’ tv ads and direct mailings are combining an empowering message with clear statements about the roots of the problems we face. This is going to resonate with a lot of undecided Iowans.

  • Interesting Choice

    I see Edwards as an ok number two choice at the caucus simply because I agree with his values, but I am concerned about his capacity to win and make change.  He has a lot of clingers from the 2004 election and I generally think they are wrong to cling to him.  I think the clingers are the ones who have not looked close enough at Obama to see that Obama is a better version of the politics of change that Edwards adopted.  I was a strong supporter of Edwards from 2003-2004.  In 03-04 he seemed then as he does now to be on the right track with his ideas, but evidenced in his loss to Kerry and terrible showing in debates with Cheney, he lacked the capacity to captivate the populace, to reshape its value system and to redefine our identity, as I think our country needs, and as I think Obama can and will do well…..  

    My biggest concern with Edwards is that he had such a poor showing in his run for Vice President and was such a weak debater despite his highly touted rhetorical skills as an attorney, that by the end of the 2004 election I was fed up with him.  He was eaten alive by Cheney.  Cheney was just a better fighter.  And, Edwards claims now that he is going to be a fighter for the forgotten people.  We need a fighter for them, but we need someone who can do more than just fight – after all, all politicians are fighters.  We need someone that is going to win the crowd.  That is what politics is about: shaping the nature of the conflict in a way that wins over the crowd.  Cheney knew this.  I think Edwards knows this too.  I just don’t think Edwards can do it as well as Obama.  That is why Obama is compared to Kennedy and that is why before Obama was running for President D.C. was whispering about the great things he might do for this country.  We need not just a fighter for the forgotten, but we need many, many fighters for the forgotten.  The only way for that to happen is to captivate the country.  I am not so sure Edwards can do that.

    • Sorry

      Edwards has out-performed Obama and Clinton in nearly all the debates.  Obama has not stood out in any, really.  But congratulations on your support for Obama, I hope one of the two is our nominee and hope both are on the ticket.

    • I am always surprised

      by the confidence of Obama supporters in his skills as a candidate. He has never had a tough race. He got several primary opponents removed from the ballot so he wouldn’t have to beat them. He had a joke opponent in his Senate race (in a very Democratic state).

      Obama is a great speaker when he has 10-15 minutes to develop his thoughts, but I don’t think he makes a strong impression in the debates–generally speaking, not as strong as Edwards or Biden or even Clinton in several of the debates.

      Edwards defeated a Republican incumbent senator in a red state, and he has been through a long, tough, national campaign. I disagree with your assessment of his performance during the 2004 campaign.

      I would certainly prefer Obama to Hillary as a potential president. However, I have real concerns about whether Obama represents the change we need. He is backed by a lot of the Wall Street “Rubinomics” crowd. He voted for the Bush energy bill in 2005 and has supported coal interests in other votes. He recently supported Harry Reid’s efforts to water down a reform bill addressing problems in the 1872 mining act.

      I see Obama as way too willing to compromise with corporate interests before the battle is joined. Edwards was a very tough negotiator as an attorney, and I think he will be a tough negotiator with Congress as president.  

    • Edwards v Obama

      Disclaimer: sorry if my grammar or spelling is messed up.  I have been a very bad politically obsessed mama and have put off the board game I promised to play with my 6 year old son for too long this evening – If I wait 10 more minutes I am toast…

      I know a lot of Iowans – being a former one myself and it is amazing how many people are torn between the 2.  Both have a lot of appeal to me.

      I think Desmoinedem makes a lot of good points – including the fact that Edwards won in a red state – however it is pretty well known he would not have been reelected in that same state.  

      In 2004 I switched my support from Dean to Kerry quite late because I decided Kerry was more “electable”.  We still don’t know if Dean would have done better, but it did teach me one thing; we really don’t know what the h%$$ the election will bring.  I should have learned that lesson in 1988 – the first time I caucused, when I caucused for Babbitt.  I also went to the county convention after Babbitt was already gone and I supported Dukakis.  It is hard to imagine, but the conventional wisdom then was he was the most electable of the bunch.  He was Massachusetts’s superstar.  

      We don’t know what the Republicans will bring, all we know is it will be dirty dirty dirty.  I think Edwards in 2004 was in a tough position because he is a much more charismatic guy than Kerry.  If he would have knocked people dead it just would have made Kerry look more stiff.  

      I think Edwards and Obama each bring a lot to the table and frankly I would be happy to have either of them as my nominee.  I am leaning towards Obama for a variety of reasons.  I keep coming back to the idea that a Obama inauguration would be a Kennedy moment for this country.  I think a lot of people all over the world would give us another chance.  A co-worker of mine argued with me that my argument is only symbolic, but frankly symbolism is important.

      I tell you one thing if you are having a hard time deciding between these guys just listen to 5 minutes of the Republican debate earlier this week and you will realize that the important thing is that none of those bastards get to live in the White House.  

      • Edwards would definitely have won re-election in NC

        Your statement that he would not have won is not based on facts.

        From Fox News exit polls (and they were not likely to favor Edwards)

        In the senate race, the Republicans gained the seat formerly held by John Edwards (search). If Edwards had run for reelection against Republican Richard Burr (search), it appears Edwards would have held on to his seat by a 53 percent – 47 percent margin. Seven percent of those voters that would have voted for Edwards voted for Burr.

        Where is your data from?  NC loved Edwards but not Kerry.

        If Edwards had been the top of the ticket he would have won the presidency for Democrats.

        Edwards won his senate seat from an incumbent Republican in a red state against the Jesse Helms machine when the Republicans were in the majority.  That is a significant achievement.  Obama has not been tested to the same degree at all.

        I do think Obama would make a great president, but after more seasoning and after the cleanup of an Edwards presidency.

    • Edwards won the Debate with Cheney

      The idea that he was “eaten alive” was revisionist punditry long after the fact.

      Here is data from a CBS poll

      Forty-one percent of these uncommitted debate watchers said Edwards won the debate tonight. Twenty-eight percent said Cheney won. Thirty-one percent thought it was a tie.

      Cheney was NOT a better fighter.  That is a fiction that FoxNews promoted.

      And Obama has not done that well in the debates.  This last one was one of his better ones.  He has tended to stumble a lot and he has been given more time than any other candidate.  I think he is long winded.

  • For a 2004 Edwards supporter like me

    he has been a huge disappointment this time around.  I am amazed he’s still polling above 20% in Iowa.  I feel his best chance for victory in Iowa is low turnout.  Obviously, he’s done if he does not win here.

    • Maybe I've missed it...

      But why is he disappointing you, RF?

      • I've had some exchanges about this

        with Desmoinesdem.  First of all, Americans like to elect positive, sunny candidates for president – like Edwards cirka ’04.  We don’t like to elect angry candidates.

        Edwards’ history (the war vote in particular, as confirmed by one of his former advisors) and current positioning reek of political opportunism.  Considering his past & present style and positions, it may be easier for me to figure out the real Romney than Edwards.

        While I agree with Desmoinesdem that one can always find inconsistencies and hypocrisy in all candidates, the inconsistency between Edwards’ private life/choices and campaign rhetoric is astounding.  He says we need to be patriotic about something else besides the war and he tells us we should get rid of our SUV’s, but then he gives the lamest excuses for building his enormous house. Something about this country being so great that someone with his background can achieve what he has achieved.  In other words, rich people like him don’t need to sacrifice, that stuff is for regular folks like you and me.  Or maybe it is ok for rich  people who talk about poor people and energy conservation, I don’t know.

        • Wow

          You would have hated the Kennedy family then.  They had huge houses.  Clinton has huge houses.  Obama has huge houses.  Al Gore has a huge house.

          Would you like to tell me who our sunny positive candidiate is this year?  And don’t even say Obama or I might die laughing.

        • his house has passive solar heating

          and is an energy star home, by the way.

          And he is not “angry.” That is a media invention. Recent polling by the DMR and Rasmussen shows that Edwards has the highest favorables among Iowa Democrats–better than any of the others.

          • Well

            It is ok to note when Foxnews is correct.  You can still be a Democrat and watch Foxnews.  I enjoy telling them when they are wrong more than I enjoy telling MSNBC or CBS that they are right.  I have to admit, their coverage of the debates this week, and for the most part of the year, has been superior to that of any of the other networks.  This is in part due to their innovative approach to have a group of about 25 likely caucus goers or voters give their reactions throughout the debate.  I find that interesting on a purely intellectual level.  They have interesting analysis, often it is opposite to my views, and I like to point that out to my wife, but sometimes they have good points.  I am not opposed to hearing different viewpoints because it challenges me to hold my ground intellectually.

            That being said, I think it is all great that Edwards has solar panels on his house.  I love renewable energy.  That does not mean Edwards will be a good President.  Edwards can be a good rhetorician, as he is known to be.  He can recite key platform points.  I understand that.  I respect that.  I respect his ability to do that better than Hillary.  I also respect his positions over Hillary’s.  However, I think there is a difference between a candidate being good at one’s platform and being good for the country.  It takes more than one person good at rhetoric to make real change in this country.

            There is something special about Obama.  He is the most articulate candidate for President we have seen in a long time.  Before he was a politician, before he had the aspiration to be a statesman, he chose to be a community organizer, earning very little.  Obama represents the type of America we should be.  He is the fighter that America needs because he has lived that fight.  For him, it was a personal struggle.  

            Any politician can say he or she is going to go in to office and fight the good fight, but not many politicians have the capacity to go into office and captivate a country.  He believes in the core decency of this country and he makes us believe in it.  He believes we can overcome our differences and he makes us believe in it.  

            I am voting for Obama.  I have been for him since before he ran for US Senate.  Like many, I was captivated by his visionary speech in 2004 at the National Convention.  Yet, I knew about him before that because I lived in Illinois before moving to Iowa in 2000.  You know, in political science we talk about how special charismatic leaders come along once in a while and sweep countries on to new paths.  Well, sometimes those charismatic leaders come to power on negative and hurtful principles and end up changing the world for the worse.  I believe Obama is the opposite.  He is the special charismatic leader that comes along once in a few generations who has the positive and helpful principles to change the country, and the world, for the better.  Edwards can claim to fight corporate interests all he wants.  I think he is great for elucidating the fight he wants.  Yet, he is still one person and I think he is approaching the fight the wrong way.  That is why Obama needs to win, and that is why I think he will win.  

          • 25,000 sq ft Energy Star home

            is an oxymoron.  Just ask any energy expert.  Ever heard of “just big enough house” concept?  If Edwards was as progressive as his newfound image, he would surely know that concept. All of this would not be such a big deal if he had not made poverty and aggressive energy plans a centerpiece of his campaign.  

            Re: being angry, he has himself said he’s angry, and he sure sounds like it.  What D’s think about that is pretty irrelevant.  Kind of the same as Hillary’s electability.  She’s all giddy about polls showing that D’s think she’s the most electable.  We all know that’s not the case  among R’s and independents – the demographics that really matter when it comes to actual electability.

            • They are all hypocritical power hungry people

              The fact of the matter is that ANYONE who has risen high enough to be a serious contender for the American Presidency will be a total megalomaniac, power hunger, egotistical person with a lot of hypocritical characteristics.

              I am not trying to be flippant, but I am more interested in what Edwards will do as President.  The commenter who mentioned Kennedy is right – I would add FDR or even Jefferson to the list of great Presidents whose aristocratic lifestyle left something to be desired.


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