Well, my guy announced his candidacy for the '08 Presidential yesterday, as expected. I'm not going to be heavily into the horserace until about this time next year -- I do, after all, have a life -- but John Edwards has been my guy ever since the last Presidential, when no one knew who he was and everyone was still talking about Howard Dean (whom I adored, but I figured then -- and still do now -- that Edwards is our best chance and hope for taking the Presidency). I saw him do an early, early version of his Two Americas speech, still one of the best and most underreported campaign stump speeches ever, and he had me at hello.
Since the end of the 2004 campaign, he's channeled his energy into his One America Campaign. His signature issue? Poverty. One of the biggest issues in this country not just today, but for at least the last 30 years, and at the root of or intertwined with so many other big social/political issues -- the economy, health care, crime, domestic violence, education, hunger, illiteracy, gender inequality, racial inequality, teen pregnancy -- and it's been a political non-starter since the end of WWII. The last president to seriously address poverty, FDR, fundamentally changed our country and the course it charted through historical waters through his vision of America.
Do I think Edwards is the next FDR? No. I don't even think he's the next Kennedy. What I do think is that he's not just talking the talk, but he's been walking the walk since he committed himself to this issue, and that's reflected by where he chose to make his announcement: New Orleans. And not from a fancy hotel, but in the midst of the ongoing hurricane cleanup, in the poorest of the poor districts of that benighted city, and after already spending days swinging a hammer working on houses there when the cameras weren't rolling. He's been doing it since last year, actually, and while President Cuckoo Bananas gets a thumbs up from the media everytime he manages to string two words together, John Edwards has been doing the kind of thing we'd want our President to be doing.
And this is the kind of thing we want our President to be saying:
I'll have more to say about John Edwards as the year rolls on and the campaign heats up. And it's entirely possible I'll change my mind on candidates*. But for right now, I see Edwards as our Next Great Hope, not just for a Presidential candidate, but for a President.
This campaign is about each of us taking responsibility for our country's future -- and ensuring America’s greatness in the 21st century.
It is a campaign not just about what we can do in the White House -- but what we can do on the way.
We all must take responsibility and take action now to:
- Provide moral leadership in the world
- Strengthen our middle class and end poverty
- Guarantee universal health care for every American
- Lead the fight against global warming
- Get America and other countries off our addiction to oil
If we want to live in a moral and just America tomorrow, we cannot wait until the next President is elected to begin to take action.Tomorrow begins today.
*(Especially if Al Gore tosses his hat in the ring. He won't -- I believe his repeated statements that he's on a different path -- but if for some reason he did, I'd have to go with my first love, the very first candidate I ever campaigned for, way back in 1988 when I was a dorky high-school kid. I believe in John Edwards, but Al Gore is my hero and he comes before all others.)