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I'm a Democrat, and because of that fact it almost goes without saying that I have a soft-spot for the underdog. In the land of politics, particularly the arena that is the 2008 presidential race, anyone whose name doesn't start with "Hillary," and end with "Clinton," is an underdog. But, no, it's much more than that. You see, I have a soft-spot for real, honest-to-God hardworking people of principle. At the heart of the matter, I have a soft-spot for former North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

In December 2006, Edwards announced his candidacy in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, with a shovel in his hand. The politician played "the man card" perfectly: simultaneously asserting that he isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty (to be taken literally, due to the shovel in his hand as he made the announcement, or metaphorically speaking of taking charge and repairing the broken parts of our nation's government) while being a man of the people. He was in his element, speaking candidly, and I couldn't help but trust him.

Those of us who follow politics (and maybe some who don't) will recognize Edwards as the Democratic Party's 2004 Vice Presidential candidate, paired with John Kerry, in what would come to be a losing race. The ticket had many problems, picking up supporters all the while placing a seed of doubt in some. Criticisms varied from the validity of Kerry's military record to Edwards being "an empty suit," just a pretty face… you get the picture. The John Edwards we see in 2007 is a different man. After losing the election in 2004, he went straight to work – founding a poverty institute at the University of North Carolina and solidifying his stance on issues like healthcare and education – all the while playing the role of husband to Elizabeth, father to Cate and Emma Claire and Jack, and public figure.

I often marvel at the sheer genius of his campaign staff. Edwards is a spectacular man, but he wouldn't be where he is right now without the brilliant group of people he has working for him. Whether it's big names like Joe Trippi, whose resume includes stints working for the presidential campaigns of Dick Gephardt in 1988 and Howard Dean in 2004. It's important to understand that all candidates employ speechwriters and Communications Directors to craft the campaign's message, a Campaign manager to organize events and run the behind-the-scenes effort, along with many, many more people to shape and fine-tune a their ideas. So, while John Edwards is the name, face, and creator of the message – it's the job of the campaign staff to stir and shape and give voice to that message. The Edwards campaign employs the best.

When Elizabeth Edwards took on rightwing extremist Ann Coulter on MSNBC's "Hardball" earlier this year, it was reasserted that she was a force to be reckoned with. While her husband stands more in the middle on most issues, Elizabeth is very much a liberal. An open supporter of gay marriage (of which her husband has said he isn't sure how this issue fits with his faith), Elizabeth is vocal about the issues she believes in. And John doesn't stop her from speaking out. They acknowledge their differences, all the while presenting a united front. When news of the return of Elizabeth's cancer surfaced earlier this spring, the question in the air seemed to be "will John stay in the race?" In an article in the August 2007 issue of Esquire, Elizabeth spoke about her health and the campaign. "People don't understand, with your health the way it is, how John could keep running for president," journalist Mike Sager said. Elizabeth's response is a testament to the strength of her marriage, of her, and of the man she married: "You don't hear that from people who have cancer, or have someone close to them with cancer. They say […] I would do the same thing you're doing. It's almost universal. John listened to me. He waited for me to tell him what I wanted. I think he was probably relieved that I said what I said, honestly, but he waited for me to say it. He is respecting my wishes by staying in the race." They're a team, in every sense of the word. I find it incredibly refreshing to see a candidate's wife allowed to voice her opinions, instead of being expected to play host and be on her husband's arm at events.

From a policy standpoint, Edwards is the best candidate because his plans are pragmatic. They provide realistic solutions to problems our nation is facing, without stooping to play politics (the exchange system – I'll give you this tax break, if you'll give me this part of my program – it's what Washington has thrived on for many, many years) along the way. Take healthcare, for example. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, you'd probably agree that insurance is too expensive and hard to find if you're unemployed. Edwards' plan would require employers to provide coverage for all of their employees, it would lower the cost of healthcare by creating new tax credits and expanding existing programs like SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) and Medicaid, ultimately leading to laws requiring all American residents to get insurance. His plan is reasonable, realistic, and it calls for change, not simply reforming a system that doesn't work.

He might be the underdog, but John Edwards is the best candidate for President of the United States. And who knows, it's still early – maybe he'll be our next President.
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: msnbc news live
05 December 2007 @ 11:41 am
1. The War on Knowledge, a post over at DailyKos, discussing Bush's spin on the facts surrounding the Iran/NIE situation. I think that President Bush needs to take a peek at the word "fact" in the dictionary.

This administration's policy on Iran is getting more frightening as time goes on. When your president is clearly in denial, and presenting an interesting take on his version of the truth (see this & this) - which is eerily similar to the conversation that was going on before the US invaded Iraq - you know something is up.

I'm thinking that this will be mentioned in the State of the Union, bringing it to the forefront (second to only Iraq/The War on Terror) of Bush's foreign policy, where it will stay for the remainder of his time in Washington.

2. State Rep. Rick Noriega's Announcement Speech. Noriega filed his papers on Monday with the Texas Democratic Party, to challenge Senator John Cornyn, our junior Bush monkey senator, in 2008. I think I might be more excited about this race than the race for the White House, y'all. It's going to be an interesting election cycle for Texas.

After getting the chance to talk with Rep. Noriega earlier this semester, when the College Democrats sponsored an event in which he was the guest speaker, I think he's going to be a good, solid candidate. Then again, it might be important to note that my sock would be a better candidate than Senator Cornyn (who votes in accordance with Bush on every major issue).
06 November 2007 @ 10:54 am
If you're on my friends list, you've already seen this - but I think that it's something that everyone needs to see (not just because I adore the man) because this is a very, very valid point.

Daniel Levin took himself to a military base and let himself be waterboarded.

Mr. Bush, ever done anything that personally courageous?

Perhaps when you've gone to Walter Reed and teared up over the maimed servicemen? And then gone back to the White House and determined that there would be more maimed servicemen?

Has it been that kind of personal courage, Mr. Bush, when you've spoken of American victims and the triumph of freedom and the sacrifice of your own popularity for the sake of our safety? And then permitted others to fire or discredit or destroy anybody who disagreed with you, whether they were your own generals, or Max Cleland, or Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, or Daniel Levin?

Daniel Levin should have a statue in his honor in Washington right now.

Full transcript here.

I know that a lot of folks don't like Olbermann's style, and I can understand that. I know that a lot of times, he comes off as a liberal pundit, if you will, and that puts people off. But, even if you don't like him, I encourage you to watch this video.
18 October 2007 @ 09:36 pm
I've got a lot that I'd like to discuss, but everything comes back to S-CHIP.

What are your thoughts on the failed veto override?
Current Music: sweeney todd (revival) - johanna
28 September 2007 @ 03:23 pm
Newt Gingrich preparing to launch website to seek $30 million in pledges towards presidential run; will decide whether to enter GOP field by Oct. 21.


Because the government shutdown, the Clinton impeachment, and the so-called fantastic Contract with America weren't enough? CNN is playing clips right now of him essentially saying that the GOP is the party of change. And that there needs to be a populist movement.

Quit pitching Clinton vs. Gingrich, Wolf Blitzer. Yes, it would be interesting. Yes, it would stir up old issues. And, yes, it has the potential to be a little nasty. But, I think that Senator Clinton has learned a lot since then and that she wouldn't rise to any of Gingrich's bait.

Any thoughts on this issue? Do you all think that he can raise the money? And if he does, do you think he has a realistic shot at the GOP's nomination?

Bush predicts Clinton will win Dem nomination

Bush also predicts a tough general election race, but said his party will ultimately win the White House.

"I think our candidate can beat her, but it's going to be a tough race," he said. "I will work to see to it that a Republican wins and therefore don't accept the premise that a Democrat will win. I truly think the Republicans will hold the White House."

Seriously, Mr. President? Seriously? Your own party doesn't even want you to touch the race. You'd be committing murder to the campaign of whoever you try to "help," sir.

And he says he isn't playing the Pundit-in-Chief. Pffft. That doesn't top this moment from last Thursday's press conference, though. I think that after I got over the initial horror of it all, it became one of the funniest (or most pathetic. Or both.) things that I've ever seen in my entire eighteen years of life.

I restate what I said yesterday about Tony Snow. If I were him, I would be thanking Jesus that I decided to get the hell out of there when he did. I can just imagine the massive amounts of alcohol Advil that the West Wing staff is taking just to get through the day.

And on top of everything else, an unnamed White House official is calling Barack Obama intellectually lazy. Apparently, in the eyes of the GOP (or of this idiot) - Columbia, Harvard Law, and being hailed as the next coming of Bobby Kennedy are all signs of "intellectual laziness."

Oh, politics.

(Cross-posted to my personal journal)
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: krista pioppi - what it means to be a friend
26 July 2007 @ 05:24 pm
Hey everyone. Just stopping by to share with you guys an amusing (and equally eye-opening) article recommended to me over at The New Republic:

In addition to approving of George W. Bush's job performance, here are some other things roughly one in four Americans believe:

-- The Second Coming will occur this year

-- Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday should not be a national holiday

-- The U.S. has no moral responsibility to help improve the lives of people in poor nations

-- The Jews are responsible for Jesus's death

-- "[S]ome of the unidentified flying objects that have been reported are really space vehicles from other civilizations"

-- Barry Bonds is a good guy

--Michael Crowley

You know, I'm not sure which one of these factoids to be more afraid of. Bush's approval rating v. the second coming occuring this year? Well that's a toughie.

That said, if this group of people and I were ever on the same side of any issue, there'd be some serious cause for concern. They can keep their measley 25 percent -- I'd rather keep my sanity.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Air America Radio
24 July 2007 @ 09:37 am
My (very brief) thoughts behind the cut.

Was the CNN/You Tube Debate a Revolution, or a Media Stunt?

The Questions vs. The RhetoricCollapse )
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
There aren't enough words to accurately describe just how much I'm loving Keith Olbermann these days.

You have set this government at war against its own people and then blamed those very people when they say, “Enough.”

Full transcript here.

video behind the cut.Collapse )
12 July 2007 @ 12:20 pm
I posted this in my personal journal, but thought I'd add it here as well.

'Cause for optimism' in Iraq.

Uh, how exactly is there a cause for optimism, Mr. President?
Last time I checked, an overwhelming majority of citizens and politicians want our troops home.
Last time I checked, you IGNORED the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and went ahead with this surge, against the advice of experts.
Last time I checked, you're in denial about the reality of this situation.

"It is time for the president to listen to the American people and do what is necessary to protect this nation. That means admitting his Iraq policy has failed, working with the Democrats and Republicans in Congress on crafting a new way forward in Iraq, and refocusing our collective efforts on defeating al Qaida," Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said in a statement released while Bush was still answering questions.

THANK YOU, Harry Reid.

The bottom line here is that we cannot wait for General Petraeus's report in September. Something needs to be done, and it needs to have been done yesterday.