Tag Archives: john edwards

Obama At The 2004 DNC: Do you Remember?

In light of the past few months, I thought I’d take a few minutes to once again, watch Barack Obama’s transformational speech from the 2004 Democratic National Convention and I am struck by three things: 1) At the time of the speech (July 28, 2004) there were “only” 900 dead American service men and women in Iraq while today, 1/23/2009, there are 4,229, according to icasualties.org. 2) My god, can you imagine what the past four years would have been like had the Kerry/Edwards ticket actually won? and 3) I suppose it’s possible that then state senator Barack Obama didn’t have his eyes on the prize, but David Axelrod and other certainly did. This was the mother of all coming out speeches.
I remember watching it back then and being blown away. I was not following politics as closely as I am now and admit to not really knowing him as a rising star in the Democratic Party before the speech, but after? There was no doubt that there was a bright future for Sen. Obama.
I will also admit that until late summer, 2008, I had relatively little hope for the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. My experience as a political junkie and the political and racial history of the United States made his election, to me, an incredibly unlikely thing. Up until the Democratic National Convention in Denver, I had a hard time allowing myself to believe that he could be the nation’s first black president but, turning the phrase on its head, the “perfect storm” made it possible and maybe, just maybe, I under-estimated the open mindedness of the American people.
I say “maybe” because let’s face it, the combination of George W. Bush’s “achievements” and Senator McCain’s choice of Palin to crown an awful campaign cleared the way, at least a little, for the victory that so many of us celebrated with gusto on November 4th and again on January 20th. I say “maybe” because I am not yet convinced we are in a true “post-racial America” (whatever that really means) but I am genuinely ecstatic about the result.
And as for the rest? It’s up to the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama to show us what he’s made of and it’s up to us to do our part.

Edwards Set To Endorse Obama

In a somewhat surprising move, given his refusal to endorse on Monday, former senator John Edwards is set, momentarily, to endorse Senator Barack Obama at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is a major endorsement for Obama and should go some way towards courting the white, working class voters that so far seem to be eluding Senator Obama. CNN will carry the speech live.
It’s not like I really needed a push to support Obama. I think his campaign style has changed and his rhetoric has become more serious and purposeful and substantive. That said, this endorsement makes me even more determined that Barack Obama be the next president of the United States.
More on the speech after its conclusion.
UPDATE:
Well, I think that was a fantastic speech, to be honest. I think it could have used a little more overt mentions of race, but my gut tells me Edwards will be speaking more overtly about race in the weeks and months to come. One question I have is, was this an audition for the VP slot? Conventional wisdom and my spies say no, that Edwards has his sights set on Attorney General (and wouldn’t that be amazing?). Not only that, but Edwards isn’t a sitting office holder and doesn’t guarantee any staes (although he’d certainly help in the white, working-class South. However, a democratic ticket with two candidates running to the left of center, neither of which have military experience is a pretty bad idea, IMHO. Jim Webb, anyone?

Paper Ballot Snafu In NYC?

A friend of mine reports that when she went to vote in Brooklyn on Tuesday and used a paper ballot, the only choices were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. From what I know, this is a violation, since John Edwards was still on the New York State ballot. I know, because I voted for him. I also am not sure as to why she would have been given a paper ballot (I forgot to ask), since according to this, there are only three reasons one would even receive a paper ballot.
Can anyone out there shed some light on this?

Why I Voted For John Edwards

1167608823_6678eb4026.jpgEver since my choice for the democratic nomination, John Edwards, suspended his campaign, I have been besieged by friend and stranger alike, urging me to vote for Barack Obama. Literally no one I know has approached me about Hillary. Maybe that says something about my friends or Hillary or maybe it says something about me. It doesn’t matter, because the only way I hold my nose and vote for her is if she’s the nominee in November. The thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Obama, either. Many of my friends are somewhat incredulous at my recalcitrance, but I have my reasons.

First a little background. My mother was a proud and politically active woman of mixed ethnicity but I think she identified most often as black. She was a filmmaker, author and journalist and paid close attention to the goings on of the day. She was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement and I was raised in an politically aware home. But let’s be honest, unless you know me or are very race conscious, you wouldn’t know I was anything but Caucasian (or maybe Latino. I get that on the streets of NYC all the time). That said, I was raised in a multi-ethnic home and am myself very conscious of my heritage.
I am a feminist and a civil rights activist and I would be more than happy to see the first woman president or the first black president. The thing is, I will not and cannot sacrifice my overall political beliefs and I flatly refuse to do something so base and crass as to sell my vote for race or gender. This year’s race for the democratic nomination has been framed by the media for over a year as Clinton vs. Obama and as a result, the candidate most committed to the wellbeing of the people, John Edwards, was marginalized from the start. He really never had a chance and for that, the mainstream media should be ashamed. It’s clear, at least from my perspective, that John Edwards preached what was fair and good: An end to the dominance of Big Pharma and the insurance company lobby, the return of the government to the people, the end of corporate media dominance…oh…. Ooops!
So, John Edwards was, for my money, the most progressive, committed and honest person in the democratic race and he got my support. When he dropped out, I fully expected a switch to click in my head and start to get excited about Obama, but you know what? I couldn’t do it. I don’t like his heathcare plan, he strikes me as an appeaser, I don’t fully trust him and he never says anything. It drives me nuts. His speeches are like revival meetings and while I love a good call-and-response, “Yes we can” doesn’t really say much besides, well, “yes we can.” Besides, I’m loyal. When I support someone, I support them and in the absence of an endorsement from Edwards, I felt no compelling urge to vote for Obama.
The thing is, it’s all about November, for me and who can beat John McCain (for he’s clearly the likely nominee). Unfortunately, the only candidate who was the clear winner in that contest is no longer in the race. In poll after poll, you democrats all over the country named Edwards as the candidate you thought could most beat the republicans in November and in poll after poll you named Edwards as the candidate who most cared about people. And what did you all do? You voted against your interests and against the interests of the country as a whole. I just don’t get it. If you really thought Obama or Clinton were more likely to win, the results would make sense, but you didn’t. You said Edwards was a better candidate and cared more about you and then you went out and voted for someone else. Shame on you.
Photo of John Edwards by George P. Stern

Martin Luther King III on Edwards: “My Dad Would Be Proud”

This was reported over the weekend but I am only now getting to it. Once again we have some evidence that not everyone votes with the media. The smart vote, the smart play, the real, caring position is to vote with your head. Not with the color of your skin and not with your gender. Yes, an African American president would be an amazing and historic event, as would a woman president. But that’s not how we should be voting. Ask yourself a few questions:
Who has a position on the war that makes most sense?
Whose health care plan takes care of the most Americans?
Who really cares for the working class of America and acknowledges that we actually have poor people here in the United States and doesn’t just keep repeating “middle class” in a cheap attempt to avoid admitting that there’s an underclass?
In short, who really gives a damn about those who need the most care? About the veterans who can’t get health care? About the homeless? I know most of you reading this are not poor, are not homeless but there’s a very important message to take way: There but by the grace of god go I. Whether you believe in god or not, this is a lesson to learn. It doesn’t take a whole lot to drop a few tax brackets and end up on the outs.
It’s not a sin to be poor. It’s not wrong to admit that we’ve failed as a nation and that America has let millions of people fall through the cracks. It’s not “bad politics” to say “Our system is broken.” What is wrong? What is evil? What is unforgivable? To not fix it! To fail to do everything possible to help these people who are in need and to lift them up and give them a hand. Now that would be a sin.
Over the weekend, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s son, Martin Luther King III wrote the following letter of support to John Edwards. I hope you take it to heart and to head and vote for John in a primary near you!
January 20, 2008
The Honorable John R. Edwards
410 Market Street
Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Dear Senator Edwards:
It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father’s legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.
There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father’s legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.
I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are – a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.
You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don’t have lobbyists in Washington and they don’t get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.
I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.
From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.
I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.
So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father’s words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.
Sincerely,
Martin L. King, III