Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What do you think of John Edwards?

I have always been skeptical of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. There's something of a 'fly-by-night' quality of him that has always turned me off. Something that makes him come across as being as artificial as Mitt Romney. I've also always been suspicious of angry populists who pander to people's emotions because while that's great for getting votes, it's a poor way to actually make change happen... something that Edwards isn't actually famous for.

Yet Ralph Nader and a few other people whose opinions I respect have spoken well of him, or at least his campaign. Nader doesn't speak well of prominent Democrats very often so it caught my attention.

I think the fact that Edwards is actually talking about poverty and economic concerns (instead of the "bipartisan" approach of pretending these things don't exist and pandering only to the middle class) can be useful for advancing the debate, regardless of whether it's a campaign stunt or not.

But I just doubts about whether he's the man to make the change that he very eloquently says needs to be made.

So instead of giving my opinion, I'll ask for yours. I know some progressives read this blog. What are your thoughts about John Edwards?


Mark said...

If you want the continuation of hyper partisanship, albeit from a Democratic angle, Edwards is your man. Hell, at least Bush ran as a uniter in 2000; I think it's safe to safe Edwards is hardly trying.

Brian said...

Mark, that's exactly my concern with Edwards. Assuming he actually is, I appreciate his sincerity. But I feel the last eight years has shown the danger to the public good of governing with only 51 percent and giving the imperial finger to the other 49 percent. That might be fine in the case of the current administration whose governance was premised upon delivering to a tiny oligarchy. But "my way or f-k off" philosophy is much harder to pull off with populism, which is based on the premise of claiming majority support.

Unlike most people, I don't believe bipartisanship should be an end in and off itself. After all, things like the Iraq Aggression, Patriot Act and McCarthyist witchunts all had bipartisan support when they were lanuched. I don't think you can be afraid to offend people if you want to make things happen. But it shouldn't be your objective. I think that consensus building is the best way to make sure that any change actually sticks.