Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Keeping up with John Edwards

Sometimes I think people reading my blog must think that I'm a professional political junkie or something like that. I know all of my posts are about the Edwards campaign. In the past six months, for me, it's all about the Edwards campaign. Every single day the question I ask myself is "what can I do to help get the word out about John Edwards today?" It was not always this way.

Once, I had a life. Up until late 2003, as a matter of fact, I had more or less ignored politics for 20 years. I voted, but that was about it. Then, two things happened. Bush cheated his way into office and proceeded to ruin my country, which eventually angered me so much that I felt I had to do something about it. Then, in the course of looking for a Democratic candidate to challenge him in 2004, I discovered someone who I thought would be not just a good president, but a great president. That is John Edwards. I've been rooting for him ever since.

It's not easy these days to keep up with John Edwards. I write blogs about him at least a few times a week, but if all you know about John Edwards is what I write in my blog, I will be the first to confess that you're missing a lot of substantial news about him.

For one thing, the guy is a nonstop policy guru. His campaign puts out several press releases every week with new and detailed policy proposals, only some of which I find the time to write about. In this post, I'll do a quick update on a few things I didn't have time to write about in the past week or so.

A few days ago, Edwards announced a plan to protect our food supply, require country of origin labels, and strengthen the FDA. The plan would require imported food to meet the same safety standards as homegrown food produced in the USA, and would help protect the business of family farmers, too. From the press release:

Des Moines, Iowa – Senator John Edwards today announced a new initiative he would pursue as President to ensure the safety of food for American consumers and to help farmers and ranchers in Iowa and across the nation. Edwards will discuss the initiative on a conference call with Iowa reporters today and will be joined by Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), who is supporting his campaign for President.

"It's time to stop the delays and stop giving in to big agribusiness and food importers," Edwards said. "We need to give Americans the information they need to choose the best, and safest, food for their families."

"Senator Edwards grew up in rural America and understands the challenges we face, and that's reflected in his proposals to strengthen agriculture," Herseth Sandlin said. "We need the kind of presidential leadership he's offering, whether it's protecting our food supply, helping our agricultural producers, or revitalizing rural America."

Edwards is clearly right in step with what voters want on this one. A recent consumer reports poll shows that 92% of Americans favor country of origin labels on food.

What I didn't know, and wouldn't have known from the campaign's press release, is that Edwards has been an advocate of country of origin labeling since at least 2002. As MontanaMaven wrote in her great diary on the subject on Daily Kos,

Senator Edwards support of the 2002 Bill which mandated Country of Origin Labeling(COOL) for beef,pork,lamb, fish, perishable agriculture commodities and peanuts. (The fish and seafood part has already been implemented.)

Proving once again that John Edwards is COOL.

Then, just today, Edwards announced a plan to train 150,000 American workers every year for "green collar" jobs.

Des Moines, Iowa – Senator John Edwards today announced a new initiative he would pursue as President to ensure that regular Americans share in the benefits of the new energy economy. His investments in a new energy future are projected to create over a million new jobs economy-wide, and the new Green Collar Jobs training plan will offer job training and placement for up to 150,000 workers a year.

"We can turn the crisis of climate change into an opportunity for a new energy economy, right here in America – and Iowa in particular," Edwards said. "Now is the time to make sure that the economy of tomorrow is an all-aboard economy where nobody is left behind."

Green collar jobs! How cool is that?!

Another thing I like about Edwards is that he isn't afraid to speak out on things that other politicians find inconvenient to bring up. George Bush's mental problems, for example. This is what Edwards said yesterday about Bush's statement on Iraq:

"The president's remarks today defending his Iraq policy without regard to actual facts border on the delusional. The president claimed that the same people attacking U.S. troops today are the ones who perpetrated 9/11. It must be nice to live in a world where your actions have no consequences. There was no group called Al Qaeda in Iraq before the president's disastrous mismanagement of the war gave them a foothold, a fact the president flagrantly ignores. After being discredited again and again, the president is still trying to link Iraq and 9/11 - a rationale for the war that virtually everyone except Dick Cheney has now recognized was false.

"The president needs to stop pretending and start taking responsibility for the results of his failed strategy: There are more terrorists. Al Qaeda is resurgent and restored to full strength. And that's according to the Bush Administration.

"We need a real strategy against terrorism, like the one I have offered. We need to take Al Qaeda in Iraq as seriously as we take terrorism anywhere. As president, I will apply the full extent of our security apparatus to protect our vital interests, to take measures to root out terrorist cells, and to strike swiftly and strongly against those who would do us harm. I will also launch a sweeping effort to eliminate the conditions that generate instability, radicalism, and violence toward the U.S. and our allies."

I would have left out "bordering on," but I'm not a Southern gentleman.

Well, those are a few of the key events this week. I know that's not all. I expect to have even more trouble keeping up with John Edwards next week, when he launches his Road to One America tour to highlight the issue of poverty in the United States. Should be an exciting week!

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