Another John Edwards moment
It’s John Edwards day at the Chicago Tribune. There’s a lengthy bio of him in one section (including his high school graduation photo). On the front page, the paper reports Edwards may have the “Big Mo” in Iowa: Since stepping into her first caucus in 1964, Jane Hogan has sized up her share of Democratic ...
It's John Edwards day at the Chicago Tribune. There's a lengthy bio of him in one section (including his high school graduation photo). On the front page, the paper reports Edwards may have the "Big Mo" in Iowa:
It’s John Edwards day at the Chicago Tribune. There’s a lengthy bio of him in one section (including his high school graduation photo). On the front page, the paper reports Edwards may have the “Big Mo” in Iowa:
Since stepping into her first caucus in 1964, Jane Hogan has sized up her share of Democratic presidential hopefuls as they have trooped through Iowa. And those years of experience, she said, have taught her to sense a key ingredient in a healthy campaign. So when Hogan arrived at Fairmeadows Village community center here Tuesday morning, she wanted to do more than merely catch a glimpse of her favorite candidate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. She wanted to gauge his momentum…. Hogan, a 69-year-old retired teacher and librarian, surveyed the crowd that was tightly packed into two levels of the community center. After the senator delivered his speech, she said she was sufficiently impressed by the energy, the message and the prospects of his presidential campaign. To this political enthusiast, Edwards passed the momentum test. “He’s the one who is building,” said Hogan, who only days ago dropped her monthslong indecision and picked Edwards as her candidate. “There are a lot of undecided people in Iowa. Now is the time to be growing.”
Yeah, it’s an anecdote — but there may be something to it. See the Baltimore Sun and the Raleigh News-Observer (the latter admittedly has a local-boy-makes-good flavor). A triggering factor behind these reports was the Des Moines Register‘s endorsement of Edwards this Sunday, which undoubtedly raised his profile (he’s picked up other endorsements as well). But what about substance? Check out Edwards’ proposal to promote democracy in the Middle East. As someone who’s sympathetic to this policy, I was impressed with the level of detail — particularly in contrast to some other Democratic candidates. This is not only true about foreign policy. As Michelle Cottle pointed out in her case for Edwards in The New Republic:
[U]nlike most high-promising pols, Edwards also explains how he intends to pay for his proposals, listing a range of cost-saving and income-generating measures that include opening more government procurement to competitive bidding, reducing subsidies for major oil and agricultural concerns, shrinking non-security-related federal agencies over the next decade, and repealing specific elements of the Bush tax cuts. It’s true that some of Edwards’s cost-saving plans may be difficult to achieve–is he really going to abolish the Office of Thrift Supervision and reduce other federal agencies by 10 percent per year for ten years?–but the specificity with which he lays them out allows one to judge them on the merits. Contrast this with the vague platitudes offered by his rivals. As The Washington Post recently complained of Howard Dean’s big domestic policy rollout, “[Dean] includes access to affordable health care and child care, help with college tuition, a new retirement savings program and other worthy ideas. But beyond asserting that `we must be responsible stewards, not profligate spenders,’ Mr. Dean offers few details about how he would achieve these ambitious goals–and tackle a deficit set to exceed $500 billion this year.”
I wrote back in September that Democrats might be slighting Edwards’ campaign. We’ll see if that’s still true after Iowa. UPDATE: This comment on Edwards’ integrity — by a Bush supporter, no less — is worth reading.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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