Edwards Jumps Into 2008 Race
John Edwards officially entered the 2008 Democratic presidential race today, with a kickoff event in New Orleans. I have a great deal of respect for Edwards and his wife Elizabeth, who would bring a grace and sensitivity to the White House that has been missing for a long time. Edwards’ campaign this time around will build upon his “Two Americas” theme to focus on five issues of concern to millions of voters, including a call to oppose any escalation in Iraq and support for drawing down troops from that country.
In his message to supporters, Edwards listed five priorities to change America. Among them: “Guaranteeing health care for every single American,” “Strengthening our middle class and ending the shame of poverty,” “Leading the fight against global warming,” and “Getting America and the world to break our addiction to oil.”
It’s a solid agenda and basis for a campaign. All of these issues will have traction in the 2008 race, and you can count on other Democrats to have variations of it, many of which will be more limited and timid, reflecting an unwillingness to offend a potential donor or DLC check writer. Edwards will run this campaign from the base upward using a well-organized effort and top-notch staff committed to a progressive vision, without resorting to straw men arguments to set himself apart from other Democrats. His agenda and his commitment to it will do the talking, not any phony attacks against other Democrats for their alleged deficiencies.
My main concern with the candidacies of Edwards and Obama are their relative lack of national experience, especially in foreign policy and national security in a post-9/11 world. Yes, Bush came into office with zero knowledge or interest in world affairs, and we are paying for it now. No doubt both would be a vast improvement over Bush, but I want to hear more from both about how they see the world and get a sense of the type of people they would surround themselves with. In any event, I am glad that Edwards is in this race and I look forward to seeing him push his message, reach voters, and address world affairs.
Update: In a good sign of what kind of media coverage Edwards will receive, Dan Balz of the Post penned a good piece today on Edwards' announcement. Balz reports on how Edwards dealt with concerns about his lack of foreign policy gravitas by pointing to the abyssmal record of Bush's team of wise men; and how Edwards already went right after John McCain's failing doctrine of escalation. Good stuff.