When Poverty Is Front Page
by John Patric
Did you notice how John Edwards got left out of the big Democratic presidential candidates foreign policy non-disagreement dust-up? Lots and lots of press for Senators Clinton and Obama as they tossed it back and forth in what a potential First Husband summed up as a "vigorous agreement."
Graduates of our leading journalism schools, eager to cover conflict in the narrow range between "this" and "that," kept the New York Senator and the Illinois Senator on the media stage and consigned the Senator from the less populated state of North Carolina to some kind of understudy status. 3rd place in the polls apparently equals 3rd place in the "hey, look, I've got an opinion too" department.
It didn't help that the latest Iowa poll shows a virtual 3-way tie among these candidates. Not good for the Edwards campaign as their boy had been leading in the polls here and, in fact, have based a strategy of winning in Iowa as a way of gaining momentum nationally.
Then there was Rupert Murdoch's New York Post which ran a "Edwards Took Murdoch Money Too!" story based on how Harper/Collins had published the Senator's book. Eric Alterman notes the ridiculous apples and oranges contrast between accepting campaign contributions and finding just one of a handful of mass-market publishers who'll send a paycheck in return for a completed manuscript.
Finally, the stock market's nose-dive on sub-prime mortgage fears ought to be a heads-up to Democratic candidates on the issue of poverty. As more and more homeowners lose their homes -- or hear of friends losing theirs or of family losing theirs -- or who come very close to losing theirs, Senator Edwards long-standing work on eliminating poverty and his "2 Americas" theme may start to seem more front-page worthy than highly-nuanced non-disagreements about distant lands.