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

Friday, July 20, 2007

Video pick of the day: John Edwards in Whitesburg, KY

This is a video from part of the Road to One America Tour that I missed. The story about a man named James that John Edwards met on the tour, which he tells in this video, is amazing.

I have more video of my own, but I didn't get any more writing about it done today.

It seems like the tour had a positive impact on the media. There have been several nice articles in the mainstream press about John's poverty work, including one in Time. Also, both the Wall Street Journal and The Economist recently noted that John Edwards is setting the agenda for all of the other Democratic candidates, which Edwards supporters like me have known for a long time.

From Time:

Whatever else happens to Edwards this year, whatever his candidacy becomes, it matters that he spent three days talking about the problems of people like James Lowe. Maybe Edwards succeeds in linking those problems to the concerns of the middle class and ignites his candidacy. And maybe he doesn't. Either way, he did some good this week and won at least one vote. "It means the world to me that he come down here," said James Lowe. "He's talking about helping working people? He's listening to people like me? To me, that means everything."

From The Economist:

Mr Edwards is a man of big plans. No other presidential candidate, of either party, can match the sheer quantity, let alone the ambition, of his policy ideas. He has grand, progressive, goals—to end the war in Iraq (obviously), provide universal health care, address global warming, eliminate poverty in America within 30 years—and detailed blueprints of how to do it all.

From the Wall Street Journal:

NEW ORLEANS -- John Edwards may be stuck in third place in the polls and fund raising in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But the populist seems to be playing an outsized role in driving the terms of the party's debate -- generally to the left -- on everything from Iraq to health care.

This week, the former North Carolina senator has made his most prominent bid yet to place the oft-ignored issue of poverty prominently on the 2008 agenda, with a four-day tour of some of the most run-down parts of the South and Midwest, beginning with his sixth trip this campaign to this city, devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He has talked about the issue more than any of his rivals, and was the first to craft a "poverty" plank in his platform.

About the time Mr. Edwards announced plans for his tour, one of his better-positioned rivals, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, posted a poverty plan on his Website. Mr. Edwards ended his tour -- wending through a poultry plant and an industrial neighborhood hit by factory closing -- Wednesday in Kentucky. On that day, Mr. Obama delivered a major speech on the subject in Washington, D.C.

An Obama campaign official dismissed as "absurd" the notion that Mr. Edwards drove the debate on poverty or any other issues. But some voters feel otherwise. "I appreciate Edwards because he's at least talking about poverty," said Scott Myers-Lipton, a San Jose State University professor who caught Mr. Edwards speaking in New Orleans. "He's the only one talking about it."

What's absurd is the way Obama copies everything John Edwards does, but never gives him any credit. He's been doing it throughout this campaign, but it started way back in 2004, when Obama co-opted Edwards's familiar theme of Hope for his now famous speech at the Democratic convention.

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