John Edwards announcing his candidacy for president, New Orleans, Dec. 28, 2006.

John Edwards announcing his candidacy for president, New Orleans, Dec. 28, 2006.

Democrats need a tough candidate who won’t hesitate to kick the Republicans in the balls

It is not often we wish we lived in New Hampshire (nice place to visit), but we sorely wish we could be there on Tuesday to ‘vote early and often’ for John Edwards. Although we do not at all dislike the prospect of a President Obama, and though the nation would be in good hands if any one of the four Democratic candidates in Saturday’s New Hampshire debate were to win the White House, we have long preferred the 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate and former senator from North Carolina. (Edwards/Obama? In what order? The ‘change’ candidates could alternate being president/vice president.)

It is not only that John Edwards had the good sense and correct priorities to launch his campaign for the presidency from New Orleans (take note, presidential debate site committee). And it’s not just Edwards’ plan to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq within 10 months—something his competitors haven’t offered. We don’t favor Edwards only because he alone has spoken consistently as a populist public defender against the ‘iron grip’ of corporate special interests on Washington. Nor is he our favorite merely because he has the best health care plan (Paul Krugman’s praise—‘Edwards Gets It Right’—sounds right to us).

We vote for John Edwards for all of these reasons, but especially because Democrats need a tough, combative lead candidate to whip the Republicans, who are vicious fighters in a presidential campaign—especially when they’re desperate. Barack Obama is marvelous and would also be a good president, but we worry he doesn’t have the aggressiveness to kick the Republican operatives in the balls, the way they always do to Democrats.

In Nov. 2004 it was Edwards the courtroom attorney who wanted to challenge the Ohio vote counts before conceding, but John Kerry decided otherwise.

John Edwards has the optimism, the intelligence, and the gut-fire and bulldog tenacity to get the job done. He has the skills of persuasion and ability to win people’s trust and bring together the best minds and talents to begin to tackle the serious predicaments facing our nation. He’s also a realist. He knows the status quo won’t give an inch without a struggle. About dealing with corporate interests such as the drug and oil and insurance companies, he says, “Some people argue that we’re going to sit at a table with these people and they’re going to voluntarily give their power away. I think it is a complete fantasy; it will never happen.”

We often say ‘We Want Roosevelt Again.’ We know we’re not going to get Franklin Delano, but in John Edwards we see just about the closest thing to FDR we’ve seen in many years. We’ve voted for Edwards before and we’ll do it again. We hope our readers will consider doing the same.

More constructive than clearing brush. John Edwards in New Orleans helps repair a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina, in a project with Danny Glover, May 4, 2007. Photo by Rachel Feierman.

More constructive than clearing brush. John Edwards in New Orleans helps repair a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina, in a project with Danny Glover, May 4, 2007. Photo by Rachel Feierman.

It may also be that we have a place in our heart for the underdog—especially a candidate who cares about the poor, the struggling; who stands with striking workers in cold weather and defends labor’s right to organize and strike for better conditions. (This we think is part of the reason why the mainstream media give him comparatively little air time.)

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We want a president who understands the concept of the social contract (or compact): We are all in this together; those who are less fortunate have an obligation to work, but those who are blessed with riches have a matching obligation to assist the less fortunate (fair wages, progressive taxation, etc.).

from “Renewing the Social Compact”
John Edwards
Des Moines, Iowa
October 26, 2007

“We can restore the social compact, just as generations before us have restored it in their time. But to do that, we have to do two things. First, we need to modernize the compact in the face of today’s new economic realities. Instead of relying on a single employer to provide for its workers for life, we need universal health care and universal retirement savings accounts that follow workers from job to job.

“Second, to restore the balance of power to the compact, we need to hold corporations accountable for serving the interests of workers and customers, not just corporate insiders, with stronger corporate responsibility laws and consumer protections. . . .

“The first thing we need to do is to make affordable, high-quality health care a part of that compact.

“I say it’s time we stood up to those lobbyists and the special interests they work for. Forty-seven million Americans without health insurance is an abomination, and it needs to end. As president, universal health care will be my number one domestic priority.

“We also need to ensure that corporations honor the pension promises they’ve made to workers. We can’t allow fundamentally healthy companies to go into bankruptcy just to avoid keeping their promises to employees, or to emerge from bankruptcy with millions for executives and nothing for workers. As president, I’ll give workers a claim for lost pensions, just like lost wages. . . . [W]e need to fix the balance of power between big corporations and the American people. The American people created corporations to increase our shared prosperity as a nation. But from the way things are going today, you’d think that the American people were created to serve corporations.”

[read the entire transcript here]