Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rolling Stone: The Real Liberal

Rolling Stone has a piece on who the real liberal is in the race. And it's John Edwards.

Take global warming: While Clinton spouts happy talk about ethanol and "clean coal," and Obama focuses on a technocratic proposal to lower the "carbon intensity" of auto fuel, Edwards has a plan that would make the Union of Concerned Scientists proud. "We need an eighty percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050," the candidate told Rolling Stone in a wide-ranging interview. "You start by capping carbon emissions in America. Beneath the cap, you auction off the right to emit any greenhouse gases. And you use that money --$30 to $40 billion -- to transform the way we use energy."

Or poverty. Ending deprivation at home -- by making it easier for workers to unionize, raising the minimum wage to $9.50, cracking down on predatory lending, and providing matching funds to help low-income Americans save -- remains the hallmark of his candidacy. But informed by his travels in Africa, Edwards now proposes spending $5 billion a year to educate 100 million children worldwide, improve drinking water and sanitation in developing countries, and slow the ravages of HIV and AIDS.

When he's not echoing Bono and Al Gore, Edwards sounds a bit like Michael Moore. He was the first contender with a plan for universal medical coverage, and his proposal goes further than Obama's by mandating that every American be provided a health plan. And where Clinton would leave a significant troop presence in Iraq indefinitely, Edwards calls for a complete withdrawal. He has issued the most forceful repudiation of Bush's "war" on terror, and in July he proposed a tax hike for wealthy investors.

"Edwards is swinging for the fences," says Peter Leyden, director of the New Politics Institute, a progressive think tank. "He's got strategy reasons for doing that -- he's got to get on the board differently. But given where we are as a country right now, his transformative rhetoric is right on the money."

Such unabashed progressive stances have made Edwards a hit among the party's Netroots activists. His climate-change plan was the runaway favorite in a straw poll that followed the Live Earth concerts. And in a recent survey of more than 16,000 Democrats on Daily Kos, Edwards emerged as the top choice, registering forty percent support to Obama's twenty-two percent. "Edwards' proposals go the furthest -- they're like the ideal," says Moulitsas of Daily Kos. "Everybody else is playing it so safe it's dreadful."

As such, Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic even admitted that the media is trying to bury Edwards. By railing against corporate power, he's got those in the corporate media concerned and upset. They don't want to see him win, and so they're doing everything they can to smear him. Except it's not working, not anymore. Maybe in the days before blogs existed and could cut through media spin, it would have worked.

But check out Rasmussen Reports' daily tracking numbers nationally. Granted, it's national, but you get a sense of trends. Before this week, Edwards basically had a ceiling of 15% support (hitting 16% for just one day). But since this week started, he's been pretty much at 18%. And while he had been pretty much trailing Obama by double digits in the poll, this week it's become a dead heat, with them actually ending up tied at 18% each yesterday. Those who say he's not viable aren't paying attention. At this point back in August 2003, Joe "Turncoat" Lieberman was leading the field.

Finally, I'm an environmentalist at heart. That's my biggest issue. If that's your biggest concern too, in getting ourselves off our dependence on foreign oil and trying to stop our contribution to global warming, there again, the environmental blog Grist praises Edwards for having the most comprehensive climate and energy plan out there. Also, apsmith does a comprehensive rundown of where all the candidates stand on just about every single environmental issue out there. Please check it out to see where the major candidates REALLY stand on the issues.

And on health care? All you need to do is watch this video from New Hampshire.


Curtis said...

I essentially agree with your argument that the media is trying to "bury" John Edwards. Here's the thing, though: I'm glad the media is trying to bury John Edwards. If the media doesn't bury him, if he actually makes it out of the Democratic primary alive, then the GOP will bury him.

We talk about gaffes a lot on this blog. However, what most people characterize as a "gaffe" is usually not actually a gaffe. Gaffes stick with candidates and ultimately confirm pre-existing notions. In Edwards' case, his $400 haircut, his position as consultant to a hedge fund, and his book deal with Harper Collins (which is owned Rupert Murdoch),have all come together to define him as a populist in name only.

Kyle said...

It's about TIME Edwards got some love on the BD blog!!! I love this guy so much!