I think that when our mainstream media turned its back on Howard Dean, it cost him any chance he had to win even the Democratic nomination. I worry, sometimes, that they'll do the same to John Edwards. Not because, like Jeff Cohen at AlterNet posits, I think they're attacking him, but because I think they're ignoring him. Excuse my liberal-conspiracy-theories (or don't excuse them, buy into them, like I do) but I wonder if this isn't driven by the way the Republicans coughKarlRovecough have taken to directing media attention to Hillary by attacking her. I mean, it wouldn't be that much of a stretch for Republican politicos -- Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign once said this:
"Whomever we attacked was going to be emboldened in Democratic primary voters' minds. So We started attacking John Kerry a lot in the end of January because we were very worried about John Edwards" - 8/09/07Why are the Republicans so worried about John Edwards? The same reasons that I love him, of course. In 2004, a gentleman named Thomas Frank wrote a book called What's the Matter with Kansas? which attempts to figure out why the conservatives have gained such a stronghold on the middle of the country. Frank's thesis is pretty simple, as the Democratic party moved its rhetoric from populist values to explosive wedge issues, they lost the support of the disenfranchised, often cultural conservative (religious) middle of the country. I think Frank is spot on here. If you can't afford health care, you're not looking for a party that promises better gun control, you're looking for one that will tell you they're going to help you take your kids to the doctor. And if no one like that comes along, someone who at the very least shares your religion looks better than a group of liberal elitists doing a song and dance about whether or not gay people can get married.
Listen, I want to be able to get married as much as the next queer girl and I want my right to an abortion to be protected by government, but I also want to know that the rich are going to pay taxes to support the poor, that our migrant workers are safe from being deported, that health care is a right and that everyone in my country can feed themselves and their children.
I don't want liberalism, I want populism.
John Edwards is a populist. He's as left as the Democratic party gets these days. And I think he believes what he says. He's not afraid to talk about things like health care and Iraq and the collapse of big labor in America. He doesn't pretend to be middle of the road hoping to get votes, he believes that his ideas are worthwhile, that being a radical will carry him to the finish line.
I don't know if I think he can do it, to be honest. I don't know if its enough to get us out of this quagmire. But its enough to make me feel something. I'm not ashamed to support him. He doesn't do anything that makes me cringe when I defend him to the radicals in my life.
I'm counting down to the Iowa Caucus with my fingers crossed. I watch the polls like they're sports statistics. And here's the thing -- the Red Sox SWEPT the World Series, folks. Maybe that mojo is a sign of the winds of change.