By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
So perhaps Edwards isn't strident, but instead genuinely frustrated by the 5 million Americans added to the poverty rolls in the last seven years, the 50 million Americans left out of Bush's bogus "stimulus" plan, and the soaring costs of health care that leave 50 million Americans dangling on the edge of disaster should they fall ill. Perhaps he realizes that if he came of age today, his chances of becoming a successful trial lawyer would be severely diminished.
"It's the cause of my life to end poverty," he says frequently, a mantra Clinton has begun to echo: "Poverty," she said during the debate, "is the central core cause of everything I've been doing for the last 35 years."
Laugh if you want, but what a claim like that proves most of all is that, even with his distant-third status, Edwards still has the power to move his opponents — professional compromisers and deal makers, both of them — to such declarations. It will be left to us to hold Clinton or Obama to those causes when we elect one of them president.
And, oh God, we must. Even the least of these three is a saint compared to anyone in the Republican minefield, whose front-runners include an Arkansas governor who believes our immigration problems arose from having to import Mexican workers after we aborted too many U.S. babies in the 1970s and '80s; a Massachusetts governor whose church holds that Native Americans descended from Hebrews banished from Israel; and John McCain, who would straight-talk away our reproductive rights and, as he recently told an audience in New Hampshire, occupy Iraq for a century.
By contrast, the Democrats these days bicker vibrantly about racism and economic inequality; about the impact of corporate lobbyists on policymaking and the necessity of universal health care (which, as Edwards noted, isn't "universal" unless, unlike Obama's elective plan, it mandates coverage for everybody). They crawl all over each other trying to establish who will create the most "green-collar" jobs. They drag yellow highlighters over each other's contributor list; they brag about their civil rights credentials; they chew over the intricacies of free-trade agreements (is the Peru deal as bad as NAFTA?). They speak admiringly of Edwards' father, who worked in South Carolina's textile mills for 36 years, giving his son an honest-to-goodness working-class pedigree that almost trumps being black or female.
"You don't hear the Republicans talk about any of these things," Clinton told the audience on Monday night.
True enough. But lest she get too smug, Edwards reminded her that "There are things we don't talk about either." Or, rather, things they wouldn't talk about if he weren't there to force those issues.
Stay, John. Stay.
*Although the 15th Amendment in 1870 prohibited discrimination at the polls, only with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were blacks in the South able to practice their right to vote without violence, intimidation, poll taxes or literacy tests.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city