I'm not sure there are any Iowans (or New Hampshirites) who read this blog, but if so--let me add my voice to the chorus of progressives in support of John Edwards as the Democratic nominee for President. I mentioned several months ago that I was shifting from Kucinich, who I supported in 2004, to Edwards this time around. The intervening months have only strengthened my conviction that he provides the best and most realistic hope for real, progressive change.
If we do not nominate Edwards, I believe that we will deeply regret our failure to seize the moment when someone with a strong populist critique of big business influence actually had a decent chance to win the nomination (and even leads most of the general election match-ups against Republicans!)
Here are ten reasons to support Edwards in '08:
1. Proven fighter for the common people's interests against big money.
2. Will start taking troops out of Iraq immediately (and, apparently, now wants to get them all out on a fairly short timetable).
3. Commitment to universal health care with subsidies for lower and middle income (it's not single payer, alas, but after studying the plans, I can see much better how to get there from Edwards's plan than his leading rivals.)
4. Skilled communicator to build public support for progressive change (and beat Republicans!)
5. Strong labor union support and advocacy.
6. No corporate PAC money.
7. New approach to trade policy for Main Street, not Wall Street.
8. Will run strong nation-wide campaign, including swing states and Midwest.
9. Strong environmental plans, especially around crucial issues such as global warming (side-by-side comparisons with other leading contenders bear this out).
10. Working with a people-powered progressive movement, asking us throughout his campaign to take action and demand change rather than simply support/elect him.
I would be happy with Obama as the VP nominee, since I think he is a hopeful candidate who is energizing younger voters and shows a lot of promise. But from starting out as a close second, he has dropped in my estimation almost (but perhaps not quite) to Clinton's level due to his running to the right, conciliation with corporate interests, and rhetorical weakness on important progressive bedrock causes such as truly universal health care and social security. Clinton is actually better than Obama on many issues (health care, for example, in part because of close partial copying of Edwards's plan) but I have serious reservations about her corporate ties, the dynasty aspect of her campaign, and question marks about how many people, especially independents, are dead-set against her already, thus hurting our general election chances.
Happy voting (to those who get to primary/caucus while it still matters!)
And happy new year to all.