Monday, December 25, 2006

"The Progressive John Edwards Should Run"

Matt Stoller:
I see in John Edwards an aversion to any sort of conflict and a lack of killer instinct - just look at his debate with Dick Cheney in 2004. In his speeches, Edwards is constantly upbraiding us to live up to our progressive ideals, but he rarely talks of the opponents to our ideals. As far as I can tell, he is unwilling to take on entrenched centers of reactionary power, believing, or rather hoping, that a genuine desire for the country to unify around someone necessarily means the bullies will just move out of the way. Reagan unified the country against liberals, and the opportunity exists for Edwards to unify the country against conservatives. But he hasn't as far as I can tell made a move to do that. I worry that as a result of this lack of killer instinct the Edwards' value good deeds over fighting injustice and loyalty over competence.

So in thinking about whether Edwards should run for President, or whether you should work for him or support him, here's what I would say. Tell me one time he's risked a piece of his political career to stand up to the right. Give me one example of where he led, one fight where he had to prove he's with us. Oh sure he talks a good game about poverty, but will he actually call out the bad actors or work to identify villains and fight them? I can offer you a good example of how he could betray us, aside from the massively important war vote. He said in late July and August that he'd come to Connecticut to help Lamont and the three Connecticut candidates, and then backed out afterwards when he was no longer under scrutiny. Towards the end of the campaign, he wouldn't even issue a statement against Lieberman. He knows, as we do, that that was a real litmus test, and he chose them over us.
P.S. from Howie, if you think he likes Obama, think again. From the same post:
"In fact, a number of my progressive friends are working for or advising John Edwards in some capacity or other. The calculation is that Senator Clinton is awful, Obama isn't fully formed, and Edwards is the only possible candidate who can win and govern as a progressive. As you know, I think Obama should run for President. I think he'll lose and possibly grow into a principled and effective progressive instead of a cautious cipher."
P.P.S. from Howie: I looked up cipher in the dictionary and can't figure out exactly what Matt means. But I do understand what the word "cautious" means.

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